The Peregrine Falcon is a charismatic bird that for most birders lights up a day’s birdwatching. It is the fastest bird in the world and is a supreme flier. And now there are some in Berkshire!
It is seven years since there was a national Peregrine Falcon survey in the UK. Since then, there has been a significant increase in the number of breeding Peregrines, particularly in towns and cities, with birds breeding on tall buildings, cathedrals, churches, power stations, chimneys and pylons, etc. They take readily to nest boxes placed on these structures, and this has been found to increase their chance of success. Recently, breeding has been seen in Newbury and Bracknell, and birds are present in Reading, Maidenhead and Slough.
In 2021 we are planning a survey of Peregrines in Berkshire, which will concentrate on towns, with some effort on pylons if time and effort allow. Ideally there are three main periods for surveys, mid- February to late March to establish the presence of a pair, April to confirm their presence, and June and July to confirm breeding by looking for juveniles. The survey needs no special skills, just some regular time to check out potential or known sites, especially when the young are fledging and learning to fly.
Because of Covid-19, the extent of work possible at the moment is restricted to what can be done during daily exercise, such as during a lunch hour. As the restrictions reduce, we very much hope that by the crucial period in June and July, there will be no problem with surveying.
If you are interested in helping in this survey, especially if you are already seeing peregrines in a town or on a manmade structure, please get in touch with Patrick Crowley by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The survey results, respecting the confidentiality of some sites that may be required, will be published in the Birds of Berkshire Annual Report.
12 February 2021