Wow, it’s a raptor feast

Peregrine falcon

The past few weeks have been chilly and overcast, but despite the weather I’ve seen some wonderful birds.

In fact I’ve experienced a ‘raptor feast’ over the past few weeks, which I’ve enjoyed immensely.

I went for a drive to Swan Bay one sunny day, and was amazed to see two wedge-tailed eagles perched on a farm fence at close range, and there was a deceased sheep on the ground nearby.

Wedge-tailed eagles will kill lambs, but these make up only a small percentage of their total prey as carrion is a major food source (such as roadkill and other carcasses) and many of the reports of predation on lambs result from birds scavenging already dead animals.

However when wedge-tailed eagles work together, a group of eagles can attack and kill animals as large as adult kangaroos.

I was worried when I saw the dead sheep as the farmer may not have taken too kindly to one of their sheep being killed (assuming it did not die of natural causes) and possibly take revenge on the eagles in some way, like the farmer in Gippsland last year who went to jail for a few weeks for killing many birds.

I’ve seen a pair of wedge-tailed eagles in Curlewis, Mannerim, Ocean Grove, and Wallington over the last month, so their range extends through much of the Bellarine and it’s always wonderful to see them.

I went back the next day and saw two brown falcons and a whistling kite feasting on the dwindling remains of the sheep, so a few big birds enjoyed their tucker in that paddock.

There was no sign of the wedgies, and I haven’t seen them since.

A few days after this I spotted two beautiful little eagles in Curlewis and another at Banks Road, Marcus Hill.

There are a few rabbits around Banks Road, so I imagine the little eagle has been preying on them. I just love seeing these magnificent creatures so close to home.

A few days after this, I was driving home from work, and turned into my street when a raptor flew over the car and I recognised the bird immediately as a peregrine falcon, and in another tree there was another peregrine falcon.

I could not believe my eyes – a pair of peregrines in my street.

I rushed home and grabbed the camera, then went back to the end of my street, where both birds were still perched, but by the time I parked the car one bird took off and flew north across the Woolworths car park and did not return.

I managed to take a photo of the remaining bird in the fading evening light, which was great.

This is quite gruesome, but I found a deceased, beheaded homing pigeon on the ground (I knew the bird was a homing pigeon as it was banded on both legs).

I imagine the peregrines had seen the pigeons flying and followed them. I was very happy to see the peregrines in my street, but I’m sure the homing pigeons were not as joyful.

Spring must be in the air, as I’ve heard the familiar sounds of fan-tailed cuckoos calling and I spotted one at Swan Bay on a power line.


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