Peregrine Falcons are the avian version of jet fighters
Built for speed, the Peregrine Falcon can reach diving speeds of 300km/hour and take unsuspecting prey (usually birds) in flight. Unfortunately, like many predatory birds, the Peregrine Falcon suffered worldwide declines due to the use of bio-accumulating pesticides such as DDT. Subsequent egg shell thinning meant that there were extremely high failure rates of nests, and as such populations declined extremely fast.
It was these declines, a passion for such an amazing creature, and a genuine interest in what would happen once the use of DDT was banned, that inspired Victor Hurley to establish the Victorian Peregrine Project some 23 years ago. Since then Victor has worked tirelessly to monitor breeding of Peregrine Falcons across Victoria. He has monitored 1,504 breeding events across 23 years, and banded a staggering 2,445 nestlings! The data from this amazing personal effort has gone on to form the foundation for Victors PhD thesis in Environmental Science at Deakin University.
Over the last 23 years, Victor has been able to demonstrate that the Victorian Peregrine populations have recovered extensively since the banning of compounds such as DDT. Victor has also shown that there has been an extreme increase in the use of human-made structures such as buildings and silos as nesting sites. Many of these sites are often poor quality for nesting, but again Victor solved the problem. Using nest boxes on buildings and other interesting locations, the poor breeding performance was corrected.
It is amazing what a true passion for the environment, and total commitment to a cause can do!!
Thanks again to Nick Bradsworth for the use of these amazing images, and of course to Victor for showing Nick how nest monitoring is done.