People who visited St. Anton’s gardens in recent weeks, in particular the Kitchen Garden, may have noticed an unusual visitor.
“A Harris’s hawk, ran away and ended up here. His owner tried to catch him and didn’t succeed so he stayed here. He’s been here for about 3 weeks, he comes mostly in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon too,” (San Anton gardener Raymond Sciberras.)
Mr Sciberras said this falcon visits the Kitchen Garden to eat. “He’s started coming here every day. We come across him every time, he even hunts and eats pigeons and he’s cleaned out the pigeons which were becoming a problem here.”
The falcon does not pose a danger to humans. Raymond, who breeds falcons at home, said that as far as birds of prey, the falcon is very loyal. He said they notice the falcon has come because it kills all the pigeons.
“He comes here and does the rounds, he flies and rests on a tree behind me – spends about an hour or two and then leaves. Sometimes he comes back again. He likes this tree a lot and there’s another one outside near the door to the Kitchen Garden door which he likes. ”
At night, he often goes to sleep in the trees near the Presidential Palace. Raymond guesses that this falcon is about two years old.
“Because during the first year his plummage is striped and when he reaches maturity he loses that colour and takes on a dark colour underneath his wings. And he still has some isolated feathers left that haven’t changed so I suppose he’s close to two years old. ”
Like the rest of the Kitchen Garden workers, Raymond wants the falcon to feel comfortable here and become part of the family of animals at the Kitchen Garden, which include a mare, donkeys, a kid, ducks, lama, deer and an emu. In fact, they are already thinking up possible names!