In non-lockdown-related news, one of the dashing Collins Street peregrine falcons has laid an egg. It sits proudly in a 33-storey-high nest at 367 Collins Street, where a live webcam was installed in 2017.
But there are more to come, predicts Doctor Victor Hurley, Birdlife Australia volunteer and regular peregrine promoter. “She probably has two to three more to lay,” he tells Broadsheet. “And once they’re laid, she’ll only budge to feed herself or exercise – a bit like us in lockdown – and they’ll take 32 to 40 days to hatch.”
Hurley first installed a marine-plywood nesting box at the site in 1992, where he says around a dozen peregrine pairs have shacked up since. “In their minds, the CBD is essentially a canyon and this ledge is a large concrete cliff.”
But 28 years later the box was “falling apart and in serious need of replacing”.
Though stage-four lockdown made it difficult to get a work permit, last Monday Hurley did a 1300-kilometre roundtrip from Mildura, where he lives, to undertake a nest reno – almost 150 metres off the ground in a crane.
“As a vanity project I stamped my initials on the box,” he says. “I thought it was hidden from the webcam, but you can actually see it, which I’m embarrassed about.”
Unintentional self-promotion aside, Hurley insists, “This story isn’t about me, it’s about the peregrines. But without me promoting them it would be hard for them to get noticed.”
Watch the live webcam here.