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World waits for peregrine falcon eggs to hatch

Melissa Iaria, August 31, 2020 7:00PM NCA NewsWire

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A screenshot of the live stream of the peregrine falcons’ nest on the edge of a skyscraper in Melbourne, Victoria. Picture: 367 Collins Street Falcons Live Stream media_cameraA screenshot of the live stream of the peregrine falcons’ nest on the edge of a skyscraper in Melbourne, Victoria. Picture: 367 Collins Street Falcons Live Stream

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Thousands of eyes are on a peregrine falcon nesting on the side of a Melbourne skyscraper. She has laid at least three eggs.

A pair of the birds of prey nest at the side of level 33 at 367 Collins Street and a live webcam captures their every move.

When Kids News began writing this story there were two eggs in the nest, with a third egg clearly visible by the time the story was ready to be published. No one knows if the female falcon will lay more in coming days, though three or four eggs in a peregrine falcon clutch* is common.

They are expected to hatch in about 32 days.

media_cameraHigh above the ground, the peregrine falcon’s eggs are safe from most dangers. In this screen shot, there were two eggs. Picture: 367 Collins Street Falcons Live Stream
The falcon leaves the nest at 3.58pm on Monday, August 31 and three eggs are visible. Picture: 367 Collins Street Falcones media_cameraThe falcon leaves the nest at 3.58pm on Monday, August 31 and three eggs are visible. Picture: 367 Collins Street Falcons Live Stream

Heading into spring, the news has created excitement on the falcons’ Facebook page, which has 14,000 followers.

“With lockdown, this has proven to be an even more exciting event,” Victor Hurley, project leader of the Victorian Peregrine Project said.

“It’s been such a Melbourne story.”

Dr Hurley said at least six pairs of the species have taken up residency* there and bred over the years.

The eggs have a survival rate of about 87 per cent at the site, compared to about 66 per cent in nature, he added.

The territorial* species keep about 2km away from other peregrine nests.

“The whole CBD is theirs, they’ve got it to themselves,” Dr Hurley said.

“There are other peregrine webcams around the world but this is the only one I’m aware of in Australia, certainly the only one I’m aware of in Victoria.

“There’s a lot of people looking and there’s international observers as well.

“It’s because it’s a wild bird that you wouldn’t expect to be seeing in an urban* environment normally, and being this close up, via the internet, to see in graphic* detail what they’re doing is unusual.”

The live stream is at www.367collinsfalcons.com.au

media_cameraA peregrine falcon patrols the runways and air space over Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico in 2018. The falcons are used to scare away wild birds, rodents and other species that may endanger the landings or takeoffs of aircrafts at the airport. Picture: AFP

PEREGRINE FALCONS
The name peregrine means wanderer, traveller or from abroad.

They live on all continents except Antarctica and though many travel huge distances each year, they come back to the same nesting site.

Some nesting sites have been in continuous use for hundreds of years, occupied by generations of the same family of falcons. The female incubates the eggs but both parents hunt for food for the young once they hatch.

They are carnivorous predators that live up to 17 years in the wild and can dive for prey at more than 320kmh.

The world population of peregrine falcons is currently stable, though in the mid-1900s they became endangered in the US because of the use of chemical insecticides* such as DDT. Their population recovered after these chemicals were banned.

GLOSSARY

  • clutch: eggs laid at the same time in a nest
  • residency: usual place where something lives
  • territorial: fights to keep other animals, especially of the same species, out of a home area
  • urban: relating to a city rather than the bush or farms
  • graphic: clear or visual
  • insecticides: chemicals to kill, repel or limit population growth of insects

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. How many eggs has the falcon laid?
  2. Where are the eggs?
  3. Where in the world do these birds live?
  4. How fast is a peregrine falcon?
  5. Why did population numbers decrease in the US?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Good place to nest?
Spend a few minutes watching the live stream of this falcon nest.

What is happening while you are watching? Describe what you can see. If the falcon is there – what do you notice about it by being able to see it up close. If the falcon is not there – describe the eggs. Are they what you expected them to look like?

Do you think this site makes a good place nest? Make a list of the POSITIVES and NEGATIVES of this nesting site for both the peregrine falcons and their human spectators. There is some information in the article that can help you, although you may come up with your own ideas too. Be prepared to support your ideas with reasons of why it makes it a positive or negative aspect to this nesting site.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Science, Critical and Creative thinking

2. Extension
The article says that peregrine falcons may travel far and wide but they return to the same spot to nest. This year, these falcons could be forgiven for thinking that they had not returned to the correct place. The CBD in Melbourne would currently be different to what it was like in previous years, given the current level of COVID -19 restrictions.

Imagine a conversation between the breeding pair of falcons as they arrived at the nesting site. What differences might they have noticed? Would they be happy with those differences? What would still be the same? What reasons might the falcons suggest as to why Melbourne seems different at the moment?

For example:

Male: Ah we’ve finally arrived, such a long flight.

Female: Wait, are we in the right spot?

Male: Of course, we always come back to this spot to breed.

Female: I know but it feels different … it’s so quiet.

You can make your conversation serious or you can try to make it funny.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Science, Critical and Creative thinking

VCOP ACTIVITY
I Spy Nouns
Nouns are places, names (of people and objects), and time (months or days of the week).

How many nouns can you find in the article?

Can you sort them into places, names and time?

Pick 3 nouns and add an adjective (describing word) to the nouns.

HAVE YOUR SAY: What animal would you most like to watch on a live stream?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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