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Much to the delight of bird watchers in the area, a red-footed falcon has decided to stop off in Wareham, prompting people to book holiday cottages in Dorset in the hope of catching a glimpse of her during their stay.
It is the first of the species spotted in the area for 20 years as they are normally found in Eastern Europe and Asia, and then migrate to Africa during the winter. As such, she is causing quite a stir.
Martin Cade of Portland Bird Observatory said: “We know it is a young female and it’s just come off course a little bit.
“In its left-hand wing there appear to be two or three pellet holes, suggesting somewhere on the continent someone took a pot at it which confused it and may be why it has strayed from its usual course and found itself here,” explained Simon Kidner in this article.
Mr Cade added “These things happen. We know it’s a young female, born last year – being young, it’s just lost its way a bit. It probably wouldn’t be nesting this year anyway and it’s perfectly fine where it is at the moment.”
This news comes as a relief to the dozens of twitchers who travelled to Dorset over the bank holiday weekend hoping to see the bird of prey catching dragonflies over the water meadows, where there is plenty of food for her at this time of year.
The red-footed falcon is also listed as Near Threatened as it is experiencing a moderately rapid population decline owing to habitat loss. There are conservation actions underway in Europe, with nest boxes having been installed across numerous sites in Bulgaria in order to increase the amount of breeding pairs.