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Falcons stretch their wings in Marlborough

A partnership between Brancott Estate and Marlborough Falcon Trust is giving Marlborough locals and visitors a unique opportunity to get up-close and personal with a New Zealand falcon (karearea) and witness first-hand the incredible aerobatics of New Zealand’s only endemic bird of prey.

Building on the five year relationship between the Marlborough Falcon Trust and Brancott Estate, this week sees the opening of the Marlborough Falcon Trust Falcon Valley at Brancott Estate Heritage Centre. For a donation, visitors have a chance to view two of the Marlborough Falcon Trust’s advocacy birds, with all donations contributing to ongoing awareness and rehabilitation of falcons at the Marlborough Falcon Trust aviary in Marlborough.

“Ensuring the future survival of the New Zealand falcon through awareness and education is a key aim of the Marlborough Falcon Trust. Our advocacy falcons give people the chance to see for themselves how majestic and intelligent these birds are” says Amanda Simcic, Trustee, Marlborough Falcon Trust.

In addition to the Falcon Walk, visitors to the Brancott Estate Heritage Centre will also be able to see the falcons in full-flight as part of the Brancott Estate Falcon Encounter.

“New Zealand falcons are incredibly acrobatic flyers, able to reach speeds of up to 200kph when hunting” says Amanda. “The Brancott Estate Falcon Encounter is a unique opportunity to see the falcons displaying their flying skills, and the only experience of its kind in the South Island.” Also included in the Brancott Estate Falcon Encounter is a tasting of wines from the Brancott Estate Living Land range of organic wines.

“The New Zealand falcons are an important part of our vineyard ecosystem, helping to keep grape-eating birds away from the vineyard” says Patrick Materman, Chief Winemaker for Brancott Estate. “Brancott Estate Heritage Centre is one of the leading tourist destinations in Marlborough and we are very proud to be able to use our location to help raise awareness of falcons.”

Estimated to have less than 3,000 pairs in the wild, the New Zealand falcon faces a number of threats which contribute to their ever declining population. Since 2008, the Marlborough Falcon Trust has been raising awareness about the birds, and the dangers that threaten their existence, within the Marlborough region.

“We could not have achieved our successful breeding and rehabilitation aviary or this educational walkway without the unwavering support of Brancott Estate. We are very grateful to have conservation partners who are just as passionate about the survival of this species as we are,” says Amanda.

To date, Brancott Estate has donated $500,000 to the Marlborough Falcon Trust, much of which has been raised through the sale of the Brancott Estate Living Land Series, where one dollar from every bottle is donated to the Living Land Fund.

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