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Peregrine Falcons nesting in the city

Published on Wednesday, July 6, 2016

THE FASTEST animals in the world have swooped into the city to nest again.

The Leicester Peregrine Project monitors the city’s peregrine falcons and has confirmed that they have a new nest site and are now rearing two chicks.

The project is a partnership between Leicester City Council and the Leicestershire and Rutland Ornithological Society (LROS).

Richard Kelly, assistant nature conservation officer at the council, said: “We’re really pleased and much relieved that the peregrines have nested again in Leicester, considering the failure of the nest last year.

“At the beginning of June, we invited a specialist to put coloured rings on the legs of the birds. This will allow them to be easily identified by birdwatchers and photographers.

“It will give us an idea of their movements after fledging, where they disperse to and if they manage to breed in the future. It also means we can monitor longevity and survival rates.

“We know that peregrines have bred successfully in the city for a number of years before, so it’s great news that we’re providing such a hospitable habitat for these wonderful birds.

“Peregrines traditionally favour cliff faces, so it’s great that we can provide a home from them so far from the sea. They love tall buildings, and it’s fascinating to watch them dive-bomb their prey.”

Earlier this year, a ‘des res’ peregrine nest box was installed in the spire of Leicester Cathedral, but this isn’t the site they've chosen to nest in this year.

“It’s a shame that they didn’t choose the cathedral, as we consider the nest box there so secure for the peregrines, we took the unusual step of announcing its location publicly,” said Richard. “But we’re just glad that the birds are still in the city. Both adults regularly use the spire as a look-out post and can be seen in the area all year round.

 “We remain hopeful that they’ll choose the cathedral in the future, but in the meantime, we’re keeping the exact location of their nest secret to help protect them.”

The Leicester Peregrine Project now hopes to set up a series of peregrine ‘watch points’ across the city from mid-July to August, to show the public the new young flying and watch them get shown the ropes by their parents before moving on.

Jim Graham, president of LROS, said: “It’s fantastic to see the peregrines nesting in the city again this year, after they failed to do so last year. Not only is it great to have them back, but they are safe, they have reared two young and they have been successfully ringed. This is another huge step towards promoting peregrines and their conservation in the city as well as adding to our knowledge of urban peregrines on a national basis. It is good to know that all our efforts in monitoring the birds this year have been worthwhile”. 

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