Our neighbourhood has been upset lately, the poultry community anyway, by the bloodthirsty activities of one of our native birds of prey, the falcon, or k¯arearea. The bird has visited over the past few months, perching atop some old macrocarpa, peering about,but it wasn’t until this week that it made a move, swooping down and killing a hen. On hearing the commotion in the neighbour’s henhouse, I raced across with my camera and photographed the falcon, claw clenched around the neck of a now-dead hen and not a bit concerned at my presence.
Native falcons are rare, so we can’t even consider harming this one. They seem to be gaining confidence around town as their natural habitat shrinks. They strike from a great height, plummeting down at high speed and dispatching their victims in a flurry of feathers and squawks. Watch out for the karearea if you have hens, and don’t think your roofless hen run is safe; it’s not.