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Moving in

, 29 Ionawr 2015

The Peregrines look as though they will be taking up residence again this year on the Clock Tower of City Hall. In response to increasing day length they are becoming more territorial, sweeping up and down Cathays Park and taking the odd side-swipe at the Gulls.

A Herring Gull is really too big for even a female Peregrine, though females can be as much as a third bigger than males.  Even so, the Gulls know to keep out the way and treat their much faster neighbours with respect.

 I once kept watch on a Peregrine nest on a cliff in the Pyrenees. One afternoon four Griffon Vultures flapped heavily in for an afternoon siesta. A Griffon has a wingspan of around 2.5m, whilst even a big Peregrine might only measure just over a meter from tip to tip. Nevertheless, those four Vultures soon changed their mind about the afternoon nap. With screeching cries the Peregrine on the nest soon called in its mate, who came in for a stoop.  It actually appeared to graze the most exposed Vulture’s back with its claws, and all this even before the Vulture had time to twist its neck round to see the incoming attack. With a quick flick the Peregrine served back, and ruffled the feathers of a neighbouring Vulture. Although the ripping beak of the Vulture could have torn the Peregrine apart, there was no way it was going to be able to bring it into play. Confident of success the first Peregrine was then joined by its mate from the nest, who soon doubled the attack rate. The Vultures withstood about five minutes before launching off the cliff to fly further down the valley where they might hope to find some repose.

Renewed Hope?

Katie Mortimer-Jones, 2 Mai 2014

The nest of Peregrine falcons in the clock tower appears to have failed, due to unknown causes sometime during the last week or so. However, after an absence of several days, both birds are showing renewed interest in the nest-site. Today has seen considerable activity with one bird visiting the nest several times and apparently busying itself tidying the interior while the other bird of the pair watched from close by. Although peregrines only have one brood each year, if the first brood is lost at an early stage they sometimes re-lay a second clutch, either in the original nest, or perhaps more often, at a nearby site. We now watch, wait and hope that a new clutch of eggs will be laid sometime in the near future and that these magnificent falcons will have more success the second time around.

Adrian Plant

Breeding failure

Katie Mortimer-Jones, 30 Ebrill 2014

It now looks that the breeding attempt by Peregrine Falcons in the clock tower has failed. All indications were that eggs were laid during late March and early April and if all had gone according to plan, they should have been hatching about now (eggs are usually incubated for 31-33 days). Unfortunately, no birds have been seen at the nest or perched nearby on the clock tower for several days now so it seems certain that the nest has been abandoned. We do not know why this breeding attempt has failed but the most likely cause is that the eggs have been eaten by predators, perhaps crows, ravens or gulls. Although peregrines only raise one brood each year it remains possible that the birds will make a second attempt to breed and we remain vigilant in case that happens.

Adrian Plant

The Peregrines are back

Katie Mortimer-Jones, 26 Mawrth 2014

The Peregrines are back on the City Hall Clock Tower. One bird seems to be spending most of the day hidden in the recesses of the nest (on the right hand side of the ledge underneath the clock face), suggesting that she may have started incubating eggs. This would imply a laying date a little earlier than we have seen in previous years. However, we are aware of another local pair of peregrines that are incubating eggs, so perhaps it is an early season this year. Museum Curator Adrian Plant has taken over the duties of the Peregrine Web-cam, and will be keeping an eye on them for us.

 We will keep you posted on what happens.

Peregrines on City Hall clock tower 2013

Peter Howlett, 7 Mehefin 2013

June 7 Update

Eventful couple of days. Received a call yesterday that a young Peregrine was on the ground near City Hall. Directions weren't brilliant so had to go hunting around and finally found a young male hunkered down at the edge of one of the footpaths in Alexandra Gardens, under some overhanging vegetation. Amazingly you could walk past within a couple of feet and it didn't move. He was duly picked up and taken back to the roof of City Hall at the base of the tower where he was fitted with a BTO ring and a colour-ring Blue FH, the first photo is of him looking lass than happy with his experience but hopefully it will keep him out of trouble until he can fly strongly enough to gain height.

Then this morning I had another call from the RSPB to say that a young Peregrine was on a statue in King Edward VII Avenue. I met up with Phil Pinder and there was the bird sat on the statue (second photo). This one was unringed so we knew it was a different bird to yesterday, I tried to catch it so it could be ringed but wasn't quite quick enough and it flew off strongly. Which is a good thing as it suggests it should survive. Apparently it had been seen feeding earlier so it's good to know that the parents are feeding them even quite some way from the tower.

No sign of the young female today though.