EASTERN FALCON CONSERVATION TRUST

The Eastern Falcon Conservation Trust (EFCT) was established in 2014 to help ensure that that eastern falcons are sustainably re-established throughout the open dryland ecosystems of Canterbury, Otago and northern Southland. It is estimated there are approximately 3,500 eastern falcons and that this population is in decline. They are classified as near-threatened.

The Glenorchy area offers both open and forested mountain habitats that host robust populations of karearea (eastern and potentially bush falcons) therefore providing an ideal area for the EFCT to research and understand local falcon populations. An added bonus for the trust in becoming proactive in the Glenorchy area is the striking passion and commitment to conservation initiatives by the local community and surrounding run-holders. 

Check out www.easternfalcon.org for more information on the trust and our falcon resources. 

What can you do to help our kārearea?

Falconspotting

Keen and passionate observers contribute hugely to our knowledge and understanding of local falcon populations - the more eyes (and legs) in the field, the better! Become a citizen scientist - and be a ‘falconspotter’.

Please report any falcon sightings or interesting behaviours to us. The state of eastern falcon populations is highly variable and overall largely unknown, so sightings and general observations are really valuable. Specifically we are interested in: photographs of falcons (front and/or back views), locations of sightings and activity observed, locations of attack zones (i.e., breeding pairs). Regarding behaviours, in particular photos or observations of falcons eating carrion or roadkill, eating fish, eating road chip/pea gravel (rangle for their crop) or berries (typically sub-alpine snowberries etc) are all behaviours not commonly observed but are apparently ‘normal’ falcon behaviours.

Observations of attacking falcons are especially valuable as this provides an indication of nesting pairs. It may be observed that one falcon pair may be resident per upper watershed catchment in the high country. Reports such as this can provide an indication of nesting density for a given range front or habitat type.

Between Jan/Feb-April, fledglings are generally very conspicuous and may be observed in natal (scape) areas, numbers of fledglings observed provide valuable information on local breeding success. Photos of fledglings may be used to determine the ratio of sexes.

Check out the resources on our website www.easternfalcon.org so that you can become familiar with the differences between fledglings, juvenile and adult birds and the differences between the sexes.

The bottom line is ALL information is potentially extremely valuable - the eastern falcon is a very under researched bird so don’t assume that a particular behaviour or observation is known about, because it may not be. ‘That is too much information’ - said no one ever, when it comes to falcon observations!

Karearea Precipice Mar15 2

Falconspotting - the rough guide

Sept - Nov:   nesting season

Nov - Jan:  chicks fledging

Feb - April:  fledglings should be conspicuous - very noisy and nosey

May - Sept:  adult birds around, feeding on carrion in cold areas

Aug - Sep:  breeding pairs pairing up - courtship

Oct - Dec:  birds scarce when nesting unless you find yourself in a nesting territory.

Dead, sick or injured falcons

Please if you find a dead, sick or injured falcon photograph it in place and the wider context (if possible) and contact Glenorchy DOC Field Base (ph 03 442 7933) for advice. Dead falcons can provide significant research material so please collect any carcasses found and take to DOC. Sick or injured falcons can be taken to the Kiwi & Birdlife Park in Queenstown (contact DOC first if possible). Please also send any photos/details to us of falcons recovered or observed to be unwell.

Have you got problem falcons?

Falcons and chooks are not a good mix - free range chooks need plenty of falcon proof cover and/or impenetrable shrubby plantings. Also try darker coloured varieties - the darker and more camouflaged the better! 

Please support our research endeavours

Supporting the trust through either donations or becoming a member goes directly into funding falcon research. As a charitable trust, a tax credit may be claimed on all donations. Check out our website for details. 

Contact

Dr Donna Falconer (founder) 027 3534358, email

Vladka Kennett (Glenorchy contact) 027 680 4747, email

Glenorchy DOC Field Base 03 442 7933