Monday 5 August 2013


Regular readers of this blog may be wondering where I've been of late! Well, a chance encounter with a peregrine falcon lead me to a nest site, and I have to admit, they're addictive viewing.

As such, most weekends I have been watching and photographing the family, though I think I missed perhaps the busiest time, as the two chicks were almost fledged when I found them.

When I first found the site, the two chicks were still being fed by the adult female, who was bringing in prey caught either by her or her smaller partner. After a period of quiet, the distinctive wail would give away their arrival back, and if it was the male bringing the catch in, he'd pass it over to the female to prepare.

She'd then pluck it and eat some of it first, before carrying it over to the hungry and rather vocal chicks waiting nearby.

Taking it in turns, she would tear off bits and feed to the chicks, though one of them seemed to have mastered feeding already.

Within a week of discovering the site, the chicks had fledged and were practising flying around the area, which can be fabulous to watch, as they often circle very low down, and are unafraid of people.

I had one land on an embankment above me, and before I could back off for a view, it wandered over the top to have a look at me!

As with any creature in the heat wave we've just been through, the birds took to the shade very often, so if I wanted to see them do anything, it was a case of an early start, and hope I'd see the birds get breakfast brought in.

That said, one of the fledged chicks was already able to hunt, and I watched it fly at a small flock of starlings and pipits, scattering them into the air, and amid the confusion, the peregrine simply grabbed a meadow pipit with one foot, as though catching a ball thrown up in the air. Impressive.

It was also interesting to see the behaviour between the chicks when feeding. On one occasion, the adult female dropped over a large pigeon for them to share, yet there was definitely a pecking order. One chick fed first, dragging the catch away from the other, which waited patiently nearby. Then, most surprisingly, the more dominant chick started to offer bits to the other, much like their mother had done when both were still in the nest.

While the location of the site won't be revealed on here, it was pleasing to find out that the adult female was actually one hatched in Worcester back in 2009, as part of the on-going peregrine project there, and was identified by the T2 on her leg ring. Followers of that project were overjoyed to discover "Bobbin" as she's known, had moved away and had a successful brood.

I have been back since, and the area is rather quiet now without them. I have seen both the juveniles in the area, and also "Bobbin", but very much at a distance. I hope she returns next spring and is as successful with a new brood.