Community, Environment

A brush with death

Miss Malcolm the falcon has made a full recovery. Photo: Supplied.

A native falcon has been nursed back to health after a near-fatal fight with three magpies.

Marlborough woman Michelle Parkin was sitting inside, reading a book on a rainy day, when she witnessed a vicious magpie attack on a hill above her property.

“Usually, [the falcons] are able to handle that sort of stuff but it was raining, and her feathers had got waterlogged, she was not as agile as she normally would be,” Michelle says.

Michelle says the Kārearea, known to most as the bird on the $20 note, was rolling down the hill “screaming”.

Michelle rushed out to help the juvenile bird.

“We shot up the hill and wrapped her in a polar fleece sweatshirt, very gently,” Michelle says.

“We carefully bundled her up and put her in the vehicle and took her to see Diana at the Marlborough Falcon Trust.”

The Kārearea, named Malcolm by Michelle before they were told that she was a female, spent a week at the trust, “basically in hospital” on antibiotics.

“We called her Malcolm the falcon because it rhymes, but now we know she’s a girl, we call her Miss Malcolm.

Marlborough Falcon Trust falconer and aviculturist Diana Dobson looked after the wounded bird and delivered daily reports on her recovery.

“She’s an amazing lady,” Michelle says.

Michelle says Miss Malcolm didn’t look like she had any outward wounds but thought she had sustained a puncture wound to her chest.

“She wasn’t looking very good for a few days.

“There was a possibility she was going to have to go to the wildlife hospital at Wellington Zoo.”

On Thursday night, the “absolutely beautiful” falcon made a turn for the better.

A week later, Michelle picked her up and took her back to her home in a cat cage.

“She’s now returned to her life in her environment,” Michelle says.

“She’s flying around and looking happy.

Michelle says it’s special that the small falcon is “hanging around”.

“It’s totally her environment, we’re lucky to be sharing it with her.”

She says the native falcon, which is rarer than the kiwi, has quite a profile in the community.

“She makes herself known. We see her around and the community sees her.

“She’s pretty neat,” Michelle says.

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