Peregrine’s in the Royal Borough
I have been very fortunate in the last 3 years to able to be able to keep tabs on a pair of these incredible falcons that have taken up residence close to where I work. In 2012 they laid eggs but something happened to them. A nesting tray was provided and measures taken to make the sight more secure. In 2013 we sat back and waited for the birds to use the tray provided. We knew that the birds were in the same vicinity and when I inspected the site was surprised to find the nest empty. However as this building was so tall it gave us the opportunity to scan the surrounding buildings and within 10 minutes we had found the male and shortly after the female. At this time of year she should have been brooding any young if there were any. When she dropped down out of site I went to investigate the area she had disappeared into. I wasn’t able to pin the nest site down that day but with the help of a member of the public I had encountered who wouldn’t divulge the nest location until she had checked out my credentials I soon new where they were. It was an incredible location and one that could have been almost in reach of someone interested in either taking the eggs or the young. I managed to enlist the help of some local birders and the security guards and staff in the nearby building also kept an eye out for anyone that came to close. I am pleased to say that the 3 young fledged successfully, even though I had to rescue a male bird twice and his sister once.
There were issues over the winter that meant that nest being removed. I tried to make contact with the firm that was undertaking work to repair some leaks in the roof but they would respond to emails forwarded by staff in the building. We just hoped that the birds would return to the 2012 site, which indeed they did, as the photos below show.
I was really surprised to find 5 eggs in the nest in early April. I was then able to ask the building manager to make sure that nobody went on the roof and disturbed the birds. In theory they did as they were asked apart from the odd occasion but when they did have to go to the roof it was out of sight of the birds.
When it came to ringing the chicks we were surprised to find that going by weight they looked to be all males.
The two pictures below show a male was picked up from a nearby garden after coming to ground on what may have been his maiden flight. Unfortunately the householder contacted the RSPCA, who instead of contacting London Peregrine Partnership or London Peregrines chose to stupidly take the bird off to the Hawk Conservancy Trust down near Andover. Possibly during his capture a hind claw was broken off and feathers on his wing damaged. In some peoples opinion it was thought the best option for this bird was to keep it in an aviary or even euthanased. In my opinion it deserved the opportunity of trying to adapt to this slight disability. The HCT’s opinion was that the bird stood a good chance and kindly offered to bring the bird back. It was released close to the nest site but out of view at first of the parents. Paul had set up his video camera to try and capture the birds first moment back on the roof; https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=UUZcNy8TUOKI40lCJ8VKvNkg&v=3pUza-nLGHk&feature=player_detailpage
The photo above shows the male returning to the building 30 minutes later. The one below is the same bird returning from a nearby roof 6 days later, meaning that the parents are still feeding him.