Call goes out for rabbits, hares as hungry falcons prepare for parenthood

Marlborough Falcon Trust aviary manager Diana Dobson is appealing for more food to help get the birds ready for parenthood.
SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF

Marlborough Falcon Trust aviary manager Diana Dobson is appealing for more food to help get the birds ready for parenthood.

Extra rations are needed to help care for love-hungry falcons as they prepare to tackle parenthood.

Love is in the air for 12 birds at the Marlborough Falcon Trust near Blenheim as breeding season approaches.

And to ensure her feathered friends are in peak condition, aviary manager Diana Dobson is appealing for people to make some meaty donations.

Where once the trust had four freezers full of tasty titbits, supplies have dwindled to just one.

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Diana says while there is still food for the birds, she would like to feed them up in readiness of becoming parents.

Marlborough Falcon Trust aviary manager Diana Dobson, shown here with Scout, needs donations of food to help keep the ...
PAULA HULBURT/STUFF

Marlborough Falcon Trust aviary manager Diana Dobson, shown here with Scout, needs donations of food to help keep the birds in peak condition coming up to breeding season.

She is hoping kind-hearted hunters may be able to donate some food favourites for the birds.

"They share around three rabbits a day which I cut up into smaller pieces for them. They also enjoy hares and duck necks are a real treat for them, as well as being really important to maintain beak health.

"It would be nice to give them some extra treats at this time of year."

The New Zealand falcon, or karearea, is the country's most threatened bird of prey with only around 3000 to 5000 breeding pairs remaining. In the wild, falcons mainly catch birds weighing under 20 grams.

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Breeding season starts in August with the eggs being laid in September. Diana says the male birds like to show-off to impress their mates by providing a plentiful food supply.

"I like to give them small little parcels of food as the male wants to show off and prove he is a good hunter," she says.

For almost six years, Diana has used her expert to care for the falcons at the Brancott Estate-based aviary.

She cares for and treats injured birds and also organises educational displays and school visits with the tamer birds. 

Two-year-old falcon Scout is a particular favourite and will call out to Diana as soon as she sees her.

Like all the birds, Scout is fed once a day.

"They're really clever and will hide a bit of their food away somewhere in a hiding spot to eat later.

"It would be great to be able to get supplies back up to where they were a couple of years ago."

For more information contact Diana on 027 6325 266 or visit mfct.org.nz

 - The Marlborough Express

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