Quiet time in Orange

Apologies to all our long-time supporters for a lack of news lately. It’s the quiet time in the Australian peregrine falcon macropus sub-species year. Fortunately the macropus of Australia is non-migratory and we can observe and value Beau and Swift all year round. Both birds are still in residence, even though sometimes there are no sightings for a few days. The two eyrie cameras are clicking along, providing resident Project ornithologist Cilla with some uniquely valuable footage. With another successful breeding season under our belts Cilla should be in a position to publish some papers, so we’re hoping for some eggs in the next 2-3 months! August-September is the approximate egg-laying window, while it appears courtship may have already begun!

You will have noticed that we’ve had some fun with night vision recently. We briefly turned off the two old (i.e. VERY old) IP cameras as our two new HD cameras are providing all the vision and audio we need. We know the old nest camera was providing additional infrared lighting at night, so it shouldn’t have been an issue to remove it, but as soon as it was switched off we lost night vision all round (read, a large question mark there?). Both old cameras have been turned on again, if for no other reason than to provide extra IR lighting, but it doesn’t seem to have helped. Answers to our dilemma soon….

Cilla has been very busy cataloguing and recording video clips of behavioural and feeding interest, visiting times of day and night, which birds frequent the eyrie, what prey has been introduced (if it can be identified after the initial reconsituting of dinner down in the trees!), as well as obtaining some new HD photographs. Cilla has brought in two helpers who have been covering the masses of daily and weekly footage to ensure records are accurate and up-to-date. Our Milestone surveillance server is currently storing more than 20 days of footage at a time so Cilla and her team doesn’t miss much.

The upgraded Internet streaming server has been performing far better than the old unit and connection times have been quicker. Each of the two servers is automatically restarted at least once every day to ensure any temporary faults don’t take too long to recover, and every single process now running is entirely automated, in case we can’t get to the equipment for a period of time.

Needless to say Beau and Swift have been keeping campus staff and visitors’ heads up to the sky. All sorts of sightings regularly come in, and indeed one staff vehicle was buzzed by (probably) Beau the other day around the driveway while chasing lunch! Both birds have also been spotted interacting on the wing, which is a good sign for the season ahead, but winter is setting in and Orange is already cold enough for wildlife (let alone humans!).

More noteworthy news – FalconCam Project should be making an appearance shortly at the local Rotary Daybreak breakfast. Rotary do amazing and selfless things for the local community, including running the ExperienceOrange Expo which we recently attended. Thank you to Rotary for your support and we hope you learn some more things about peregrine falcons on 18th June at breakfast!

I was lucky enough today to attend a new Australian movie, just out this week. It’s called “Healing“, the story about a low-security inmate down in Victoria who is given a role to build and run a raptor recovery enclosure. He is in charge of a magnificent but injured 2-metre wingspan wedge-tailed eagle and tells of the bond that develops and the healing that the birds and human characters go through. I recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys not only Australian movies, with some great Australian scenery and settings, but also for those interested in raptors. The close-ups of the various birds used during the movie are simply stunning, and it’s a good story to boot. The official YouTube trailer for this movie can be viewed here … If you get the opportunity please go see it (Rated M, for adults, with only a few “terse” words!).

Scott

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