Out of area, but a Perigrine's a Peregine plus Domestic Pigeons.

To: Canberra birds <>
Subject: Out of area, but a Perigrine's a Peregine plus Domestic Pigeons.
From: John Layton <>
Date: Thu, 29 Aug 2019 03:53:39 +0000

I’ve had this in my little black book of birding notes since last December and current discussion about Feral Pigeons reinstated it in my memory. One morning during the Christmas holidays I was sitting on a veranda in Beauty Point, Wagga Wagga,  a pleasant old residential area affording fine views over the central city precincts. I’d settled down with binos, baguettes and coffee to await the appearance of a pair of Blue-faced Honeyeaters my hosts assured me were regular morning visitors to the garden.


However, the Blue-faced Honeyeaters didn’t materialise and, as my attention drifted further afield, I noticed a flock of domestic pigeons( I’ll call them that because I’m told they’re kept by someone) as they burst into view 50 metres before and a little below me presenting a kaleidoscope of plumages, piebald, dove grey, white, brindled ginger, ash black – thirty or more of them. They were turning at the bottom of a long parabolic arc from which they shot up suddenly reaching a high stalling apex, rolled over it, and fell away so they were suddenly cut off from view by trees and buildings, probably went to ground or coop.


Just prior to  the roll-over I noticed a raptor closing in fast and brought the binoculars to bear long enough to be sure it was a Peregrine Falcon. As the pigeons descended the falcon continued accelerating skyward. Perhaps it was switching from pursuit tactics to the one-fell-stoop delivery. Suddenly my retinas screamed and I lowered the binos blinking and cussing. So rapt in the raptor had I been that I’d pointed my optics directly at the bright and shining sun. Thankfully no damage done, just a case of birder’s frustration.


Back home in the alleged “Bubble” with access to our bird books, particularly Debus, I firmed in my conviction that the raptor I’d seen was indeed a Peregrine Falcon.


John Layton



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