High flying falcons die
November 15, 2004
MELBOURNE'S first family of flight is dead.
And bird lovers want answers to the sudden and mysterious death of the
four peregrine falcons.
The falcons, who nested on a Collins St building, dropped dead last
Images of the dead falcons were shown in the foyer of the Optus building
until complaints were made and the display was stopped.
Bird-lover Victor Hurley wants answers as to what killed the falcons.
"This is a tragedy," said Mr Hurley, who is with the Victorian Peregrine
"They're the only four we would've had in the CBD, certainly the only
breeding pair. They're an aggressive bird and the inner-city only really
supports one or two pairs."
Mr Hurley said thousands of people had watched the falcons on the closed
circuit television monitor.
The family seemed to be in good health.
"The mother and two chicks were dead on the screen, which isn't too good
for the public to see," Mr Hurley said.
"Security guards rang me up and said do you want to come and get the
birds and the screen."
Mr Hurley initially thought Melbourne City Council officers may have
inadvertently poisoned the rare falcons while baiting pigeons, but the
MCC denied such a program exists.
"We definitely haven't pursued a program of laying poison for pigeons
and I'm not aware of any program to poison rats," a spokeswoman said.
"Whether or not a business owner might have put their own poison out is
The Herald Sun understands some racing pigeon breeders are hostile to
"Eighteen per cent of all nestlings we've tagged in the last 10 years
that have come in injured have been either shot or poisoned," Mr Hurley
He said it was unlikely the falcons would have snacked on a poisoned
animal such as a rat as they tended to prey exclusively on other birds.
Mr Hurley will give one of the dead birds to the Department of
Sustainability and Environment to help determine the cause of death.
Another family of peregrines, who nestle atop a 250m decommissioned oil
refinery tower in Altona, are now the closest known falcons to the CBD.
Peregrine falcons are believed to be the fastest bird in the world,
diving on prey at up to 160km/h.
On Behalf Of Bill Jolly
Sent: Monday, 15 November 2004 3:35 PM
To: Birding Aus
Subject: New birds on the Abberton list
Two new birds for Abberton in the space of a week:
Birding-Aus is now on the Web at
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