An unexpected, saddening yet amazing event happened on Saturday morning when Dee Manning was on her way to pick me and kids up for a Love Knysna Projects trip.
As she was passing the corner of Long and Fichat Streets, she thought she saw a hawk in the parking lot behind the pie shop. It turned out to be a young, female peregrine falcon with a broken wing. She called me to rush down with a towel so i went one better with a purple blanket.
But the bird was skittish and darted across the parking lot, more like a penguin than a bird of prey so Dee called her boyfriend Andrew Godwin who joined us within minutes, ‘armed’ with a red towel. Whilst Dee spoke gently to the bird and i drew its attention to the flapping blanket, Andrew got up remarkably close and captured it like an expert.
Bundled up in the towel and blanket, Andrew took it to Dennis Robson at Radical Raptors (which is behind The Heath, 23km from Knysna on the N2). It’s likely that the falcon will be taken to Tenikwa to have its wing mended before being returned to Radical Raptors for rehabilitation.
How’s that for a radical morning (which would never have happened in the city)?
Thanks to Dee’s good eyes and Andrews reflexes, the life of this beautiful bird has hopefully been saved.
Amazing Peregrine Falcon Facts (from Wikipedia)
- The Peregrine is the fastest member of the animal kingdom. According to a National Geographic TV programme, the highest measured speed of a Peregrine Falcon was 389 km/h (242 mph).
- Both the English and scientific names of this species mean “wandering falcon”. It is is the most widespread bird of prey in the world.
- Diet consists almost exclusively of medium-sized birds, particular pigeons, but will occasionally hunt small mammals, small reptiles, or even insects.
- Reaching sexual maturity at one year, it mates for life and nests in a scrape, normally on cliff edges or, in recent times, on tall human-made structures.
- South Africa’s sub-species is called falco peregrinus minor. It is non-migratory, crow-sized, and dark coloured.