University of Canterbury falcon returns from night on loose

University of Canterbury falcon returns from night on loose

Tappe the falcon has returned after a night on the loose.

The native New Zealand falcon enjoyed a taste of freedom yesterday while on show at the University of Canterbury.

Luckily, he returned to his handler Rob Lawry this morning. The birds can take up to one day to return.

Tappe was specially bred from injured captive falcons by Marlborough Falcon Trust handlers in order to naturally deter pigeons.

The one-year-old bird is trained to complete territorial flights and scare away the pests around the university campus.

Mr Lawry, of the Marlborough Falcon Trust, set out early this morning with his tracking device to locate Tappe.

"After a bit of tracking we found him in Fendalton, not too far from Mona Vale area. A few of the local neighbours got to see him flying down to the glove," he says.

Mr Lawry says it's not a setback because the falcon is an experiment to see if the birds can work to eradicate pigeons.

"What we've learnt from this is that the New Zealand falcon has a quite high prey drive and we'll have to try and find a way to mitigate that. Traditionally, you'd do that by doing a thing called binding to the lure, which is making the falcon only respond to particular lure signals," he says.

Mr Lawry was happy to have him back.

"He's a cool little guy and making lots of friends at uni so it's nice that we can keep letting people see him."

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