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Dublin: 12°C Wednesday 29 June 2022

Peregrine falcon found dead at Dalkey Quarry

The quarry was the site of an attempted poisoning of some falcons in 2014.

Image: Ron Knight via Flickr

A PEREGRINE FALCON has been found dead at Dalkey Quarry in Dublin.

The bird was discovered dying by a member of the public on Saturday afternoon at the quarry in Dalkey. It died soon after.

It is believed the bird – which is female – was part of a pair that was nesting at the quarry, which is located in Killiney Hill Park in south Co Dublin.

In 2014, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) issued a statement urging people to protect a pair of the falcons that were nesting at the quarry after someone left two pigeons laced with poison for them to eat.

Peregrine falcons regularly feed on pigeons and other smaller birds.

The pair successfully reared four chicks. It is likely that the dead falcon is one of the pair that was present at the quarry in 2014.

An X-ray and post-mortem are due to be carried out by the NPWS on the bird.

While the cause of death has not yet been determined, early indications are that there were no signs of external trauma.

The peregrine falcon is the fastest animal in the world – it can dive at speeds of over 322 km/h. The species is protected under Irish law and the deliberate killing of them is a criminal offence.


NPWS District Conservation Officer, Ciaran Foley, who is heading up the investigation into the death, told TheJournal.ie that the results of the post-mortem were needed before any conclusions could be made about the cause of death.

“We’ve had the bird sent off this morning for x ray and autopsy to try to establish a cause of death,” said Foley.

At that stage we’ll carry out an investigation into how the bird died.

Helen Lawless, an officer with Mountaineering Ireland – who posted about the incident on Facebook –  said that she had received reports that the birds were nesting again in the quarry, and that any eggs the female may have laid were now almost certain not to survive.

According to Ireland’s Wildlife website, there are an estimated 265 breeding pairs of peregrine falcons in the Republic of Ireland. The population declined in the 1950s and 60s due to the use of organic pesticides like DDT.

Following a ban on the use of these, the population recovered significantly to what it is today.

Anyone with information that can assist the investigation is asked to contact Ciaran Foley at ciaran.foley@ahg.gov.ie or (076) 100 2625

Read: Someone tried to kill these Peregrine Falcons by feeding them poisoned pigeons

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About the author:

Cormac Fitzgerald

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