Peregrine falcons have nested at St Wulfrum’s Church in Grantham for several years now and, once again, you can watch the nest box live on the Lincolnshire Bird Club’s webpage.
So far, there are no eggs laid but there are images of the birds investigating the nesting site throughout March. You can view a live feed of the camera here and a blog updating you on progress in the meantime, because even the most dedicated are bound to miss some of the exciting events.
Peregrine falcons are naturally cliff nesting birds which have taken to nesting on man-made structures such as these. They can now be seen in many places around the country including Derby cathedrel, the university building in Nottingham and even on the Tate Modern in London where the RSPB set up viewing stations with telescopes trained on the action and guides on hand to answer questions. The high, stone and brick built structures providing high platforms are very similar in nature to the cliff faces which they usually habitate. In many ways, they are following the success of feral pigeons a few generations behind – feral pigeons are really rock doves which, like the peregrines, found that the urban environments created by humans provide them with quite a nice facsimilie of the habitat they would usually select. And of course, following the pigeons to the towns and cities means they are following an abundant food supply! Below is an image of a pair of young peregrines in another human-created habitat – in this case a quarry although it is closer to the natural habitat of the birds.
The peregrine’s at St Wulfrum’s first nested on the church in 2007. The nest box was then added to provide them with ideal conditions and they first used it in 2009 when two chicks were successfully raised. Two more fledged in 2010 and three in 2011. There seems to be little activity so far this year but there is still plenty of time – last year the female began to prepare the nest on the 24th of March and, at the moment of writing this, there is a pergrine to be seen on the live camera. In the mean time, the peregrines in Nottingham have four eggs to date and their live camera can be watched here. You can also follow Nottingham Wildlife Trust on twitter for continual updates on their progress.
There is lots more interesting info on the peregrines at St Wulfrums on the Lincolnshire Bird Club website including details of previous nesting successes and a breakdown of all the prey items which I won’t repeat here. However, the list of prey species (all birds) does make particuarly interesting reading – many are rather more exotic than those you might expect to find in the average Grantham garden including a number of wetland birds such as avocets, golden plovers and black-tailed godwit!