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Falcon wins fight to the death with seagull
A musician was walking down his road when a falcon and a seagull fell out the sky just metres away from him.
Chris Jones, 47, was strolling along Upper Bevendean Avenue in Brighton with his friend Ray Gannon when the juvenile peregrine falcon and its prey landed on the pavement.
After a minute of fighting, the hunter had secured its dinner and started tucking into it in the residential road.
Mr Jones said: “They just landed in front of me on the pavement and fought to the death – the seagull lost the battle.
“I tried initially to separate them as I thought the seagull was fighting its young, but then I saw it was a bird of prey and thought I’d better leave them to it because they can snap at you.
“We just had to let nature take its course.
“It took me by surprise. You might expect to see a dog fight, but not this.
“It was a weird sensation – it was a very sinister occurrence in a suburb street and reminded me of a Hitchcock moment.
“There was a flock of 50 to 100 birds above all squawking and making a real noise.
“It makes me wonder if a domestic cat would be safe. I guess seagulls are plentiful for avian predators, but it might have forgotten whose neighbourhood it was hunting in.”
Pulborough Brooks RSPB centre manager Sue Pagett said: “It is an unusual choice of prey as gulls are very good fliers and can normally escape capture.
“The peregrines’ usual method of taking prey is a fantastic high speed swoop where they can reach up to 180kph.
“The high-speed swoop means that the peregrine must catch its prey on the wing to avoid injuring itself on impact and gives them the reputation of being the fastest species around.
“Sometimes, if a surprise attack is possible at lower speeds, it snatches prey from a perch or the ground.
“Little of the kill is wasted – usually all that is left are the intestines and the breastbone with the feathered wings.
“The peregrines’ adaptability has allowed them to move into high-rise inner city buildings where their normal diet is feral pigeons.
“This incredible bird has survived persecution in the 50s and 60s and has recovered thanks to being afforded the highest degree of legal protection under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
“In the breeding season, you can see them at Chichester Cathedral, where the RSPB provides a close-up view of these amazing birds from egg- laying to fledging.”
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