• FLYING HIGH: FRANKIE THE FALCON RETURNS HOME TO ANZ STADIUM

15 Nov 2019

Crystelle Cordero

WHILE a number of our passionate fans call ANZ Stadium their Spiritual Home, we do in fact have a number of residents that have made the Stadium their permanent address.

A family of Peregrine Falcons have been living above the southern scoreboard for a number of years, keeping our pigeon population under control. Peregrine Falcons are large powerfully built raptors, who swoop onto their prey at speeds of up to 300 km/h.

On Tuesday 5 November, Frankie (see images below) a fledgling Falcon, was spotted by a member of ANZ Stadium staff, hanging upside-down with her left foot stuck in some mesh.

Simon Davies, General Manager of Asset Management, rang WIRES (Australia's largest wildlife rescue organisation) and Fire & Rescue to help free the bird.

A 10m scissor lift was used to reach the baby Falcon, who was not exactly happy about the process.

Once safely in the hands of her WIRES rescuer, Frankie was taken to the Avian Reptile and Exotic Pet Hospital, where she was found to have suffered nerve damage in her foot.

Rob Crawford, the WIRES volunteer who nursed Frankie back to health, said it could have been a life-ending injury.

“In many cases, nerve damage will never heal and sadly the bird will need to be euthanised.”

Luckily for Frankie, with a bit of rehabilitation which involved taping a ball to her foot to spread out her talons, she was healed and ready to return home after just two short weeks.

Rob brought Frankie back to the Stadium this morning at 6am and set her free. Within seconds her parents swooped in to greet her with loud screeches of delight.

“Peregrine Falcons are very protective of their young and will happily go back to feeding her and teaching her how to hunt,” Rob said.

Frankie and her family are not the only animals to call ANZ Stadium home, with a troupe of cats living under the grandstands, a couple of which have been adopted and taken home by Stadium visitors.

Outside of the Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park supports a rich natural environment that includes over 250 native animal species.

A huge thank you to Rob and the wonderful work that all WIRES volunteers do.

And next time you’re at ANZ Stadium, keep an eye out for Frankie!