Second brood for water tower’s peregrine falcons
22nd June 2018
A pair of rare and protected peregrine falcons who set up home on Bournemouth Water’s New Milton Water Tower has produced a second brood of chicks.
Keith Betton, Chairman of the Hampshire Ornithological Society and Official Bird Recorder for Hampshire, first noticed a pair of peregrines on the tower in September 2016.
Keith and Joanna Hayward from New Milton Council contacted Bournemouth Water to see what could be done to assist the protected birds and encourage them to nest on the 30-metre high octagonal tower.
Saska McGrath, National Environmental Programme and Climate Change Manager from Bournemouth Water, worked with Keith and Joanna to work out the best place to install a nesting box on the tower to encourage the peregrines to breed.
The water tower is still operational and it was decided to place a box in the turret to encourage the birds to nest in an undisturbed part of the tower. A nesting box was provided by Falconry Solutions and installed by Bournemouth Water in February 2017. To the delight of all involved the peregrines started using the box that April.
Last year the pair produced three chicks, called eyeasses, and returned this year to hatch another three.
Saska said: “There are currently only 20 recorded breeding pairs of peregrine falcons in Hampshire, so it is great news that our peregrines have produced six chicks in two years.”
Keith said: “Peregrines used to nest only on mountains and cliffs, but about 25 years ago a few started to nest on tall buildings and now that is what most of them do in southern England. They are living alongside us and doing well. It is a terrific success story and it is great to have them in New Milton.”
The chicks have been ringed so they can be identified. One of last year’s chicks was recently spotted in Wareham Forest and the other two are also in Dorset. This year’s chicks will fly the nest later in the summer.
To observe the chicks by web cam go to: http://126.96.36.199/control/userimage.html
Notes to Editors:
- Peregrine falcons are protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is an offence to intentionally take, injure or kill a peregrine, damage or destroy its nest, eggs or young. It is also an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb the birds close to their nest during the breeding season. There are only 20 recorded breeding pairs (in 2018) of peregrine falcons (Falcon peregrines) in Hampshire and 1700 throughout the UK.
- Incubation takes 29-32 days and is shared by both parents.
- Brooding and feeding is carried out in the first two weeks by the female while the male hunts in the air to catch prey(often pigeons) sometimes travelling up to 200mph.
- The chicks fledge after 35-42 days and are independent two months later.
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