Falcons return to old haunt


Shane Brennan

A PAIR of the world’s fastest birds of prey have returned to an old haunt in time for Easter.

The pair of peregrine falcons are nesting in the tower of St Peter’s Church in Ruthin.

Rev Stuart Evans said: “I have only seen the male recently but they have been coming to the church for a good few years now. I did notice that they were back about a fortnight ago. There is often debris left by them at the base of the tower like skulls and bones and we don’t really have pigeons around the place now. They are quite a size they look to be about 18 inches to to feet in size.”

According the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds the breeding season for peregrine falcons starts from March onwards and nest locations can vary from natural sites such as cliff ledges or rocky outcrops to man-made structures such as building ledges and the occasional disused chimney stack.

Ultimately the nest location will depend on the resources available, food for example, which for peregrine falcons consists of small- to medium-sized birds.

The nest itself will form a simple hollow scrape, in which no nesting material is

A scrape is usually made by the female bird using her legs and chest.

Within a pair’s territory, there may in fact be more than one nest site and where food resource and suitable climate is agreeable it is most likely that the pair will remain within the same general area and may certainly use the same nesting territory.

Established pairs of peregrine falcons, which have existing nesting territories will normally remain together outside of the breeding season.

The pair may remain together from one season to the next and where pairs are resident, this bond may be life-long.

Peregrine falcons often remain in a family unit until the autumn and established pairs have been known to hunt together during the winter although the pairs will break up when times are hard with individual birds wandering widely, as the name suggests.

Stephen Bladwell RSPB Cymru biodiversity manager said: “It’s not unusual to see these birds nesting in urban areas, and nest sites are becoming a more common site on high rise buildings across Britain. Peregrines are the fastest animals in the world and have been recorded at speeds of over 200 miles an hour, so local people might see some amazing aerial display over the next few weeks as the adult birds get their nest ready for breeding, and fingers crossed there’ll be chicks hatching around May time.”

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