“Urban wildlife plays a crucial role in enriching people’s lives: without it, many people would have no access to nature and all the benefits it brings”
‘State of Nature’ Report 2013
Both projects have captivated the imagination of the local population as well as web site visitors to the Trust’s live and still capture webcams. The Peregrine pairs have featured in regional and nation media on-line, in print and on television.
Norwich cathedral has only been ‘discovered’ by peregrines in the last 4 or 5 years as they slowly started to re-colonise Norfolk after a breeding absence of over 100 years. Even then it took the installation of a nesting platform by the Hawk and Owl Trust to provide these wild birds with a suitably attractive place the use. The Bath Peregrines have been established for much longer.
Other inner city sites were ‘colonised’ sooner. Visit our ‘other projects’ pages to learn more | Click Here
Why is it important to ‘help’ peregrines?
Until about 100 or so years ago, peregrines were almost exclusively daylight hunters that relied on their incredible speed to catch their prey in mid-air. Their eyesight, although far keener than those of humans, are not at all well suited to nocturnal flight. However, with the invention of street lights the night-skies were no longer totally dark over the larger towns and cities.
The peregrine, by this time under pressure from persecution and the effects of toxic chemicals like DDT, started to take advantage of this ‘extended day’ and started to move into these urban areas. Here, their normal food supply such as pigeons could be supplemented by night-flying birds such as woodcock which could now be seen in the up-lit glare produced by thousands of street lights, advertising hoardings and brightly lit shops.
Furthermore, their traditional nest sites on cliffs and rock faces were able to be replaced by multi-storey buildings and other tall man-made structures – cathedrals becoming a favourite – so all the key ingredients that were needed to support a peregrines life could be found in our cities rather than its traditional rural territories.
And so, once again, ‘man’ has unwittingly warped the Darwinian laws of evolution.
Dave Gittens | Hawk and Owl Trust Volunteer