Eastern Falcon Conservation Trust

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Become a citizen scientist - be a ‘falconspotter’. 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!

Please report any falcon sightings or interesting behaviours to us. The state of local falcon populations is highly variable and overall largely unknown, so sightings and general observations are very valuable.  Photographs of falcons, locations of sightings, location of attack zones (i.e., breeding pairs) are all highly valuable. In particular, photos 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. There seems to be a propensity for more female chicks to be produced with particular seasons producing an influx of males to balance up overall local populations.

We collaborate with Dave Bell (www.nzfalcon.org.nz), whom many of you may have submitted falcon sightings to. We are wishing to build upon his endeavours and gain a clearer picture of the status of local eastern falcon populations.

Check out our Resources for our ‘falcons 101’ guide so that you can get 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.

Dead falcons

Please if you find a dead falcon photograph it (if possible) and contact us for advice on where to send it. Dead falcons can provide significant research material, and will be handed on to the appropriate authorities (DOC) or Wingspan Birds of Prey Trust. See ‘Links’ for contact details

Sick or injured falcons

If you come across a sick or injured bird, please photograph it if possible and contact your nearest DOC office or us for advice on handling and where to take it.


        How you can help our eastern falcons

Falcon spotting - the rough guide.

Sept - Nov:   nesting seaon

Nov - Jan: chicks fledging

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

May - Sept: adult birds around, supplement feeding on carrion

Aug - Sep:  breeding pairs pairing up

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

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