Peregrines and pigeons

To: "chat line" <>
Subject: Peregrines and pigeons
From: "John Layton" <>
Date: Sat, 26 Nov 2005 14:55:16 +1100
Pulled into Campbell Park late Friday afternoon just as the sunshine appeared after an overcast day. While walking along the road near the main entrance to the offices, I noticed some feathers floating down through the still air. I wondered if a pigeon (or Rock Dove, if you will) had been taken by a falcon.
Not ten paces later, I found a dead pigeon a couple of metres off the road. A quick examination revealed it was still warm. Then, so help me, as I stood up, a Peregrine Falcon flew slowly over, five metres above my head. It seemed to be staring intently at me and/or the pigeon. So I went off a distance and watched for a while to see if the falcon returned, but no joy. Anyhow, I went into the woods and watched the birds for 45 minutes.
On my way back the pigeon was still there. So, I'm left wondering if the peregrine killed it. I feel that it did, but will never know for certain. If so, why didn't it collect its kill? Was it put off by traffic and people? I seem to remember hearing/reading that sometimes raptors will 'thrill-kill' or 'practice-kill', but I'm a bit dubious about that.
John Layton.
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