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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Kingston College Peregrine Falcons

If you haven't been following the pair of Peregrine Falcons that have bred on Kingston College you have missed some beautiful moments. I watch thisor the camera 2 link ( ). The falcon laid 5 eggs which all hatched (3 females and 2 males) successfully, one gave us some concern as it hatched over 2 days later than the others. The rearing and fledging  stage all went well, the chicks had been ringed and orange darvic rings put on their legs. All was going well with the birds all managing to take their first flights and return to the safety of the nest ledge. On their 4th day I popped down to meet Paul a security officer at the college who has kept and eye on the birds for the past 4 years. We had 3 birds in view, who all looked well as they played and played with each other, maybe playing is the wrong word the female was putting her brothers in their place. It was strange that there was know sign of the other 2, there was no sign of them on any of the cameras, they might have eaten a hearty meal and were sleeping it off. After a while we decided to move but as we were about to move, it looked to us that the female may have dropped down into a courtyard on the top floor that we know they cannot escape from as we'd rescued one from that area a couple of years ago. Paul led us to the area and sure enough their she was, I had know protective gloves, a piece of PPE that is very useful when trying to grab a bird with talons as sharp as hypodermic needles. After a bit of coaxing I made the lunge and grabbed her, she wasn't best pleased but she was at arms length and I was safe. We took her up to the roof to release her, I put her down facing a wall so she wouldn't rush off and fall into another dead end, she was in fact very calm and stood there. Paul then called me, he sounded agitated and when I saw what he had found we both felt ill, the other 2 juveniles had become entangled in Pigeon netting and had died. What an absolute tragedy, it was something that should never have happened, something we hope will never happen again. Since then their was an issue with the local crows causing one of the males to come to the ground. I rushed from Bushy Park to see what can be done, even though at first it flew to a first floor window, which was just out of arms reach when I made a lunge for it flew of strongly gaining height as it went. This made me feel confident that the birds were getting stronger by the day. I have visited the college on the way to work this week and although I cannot stay long I have seen all 3 juveniles perched or flying around the building and on one occasion they flew off in a beeline to the SW and didn't return for over 30 minutes.

Below are a few of this years images.

Grounded female on that fateful day