Leicester Peregrines

The Leicester Peregrine Project is run by the Leicestershire and Rutland Ornithological Society (LROS) with the help of Leicester City Council (LCC), Leicester Cathedral and King Richard III Centre. The objective is to Identify, Monitor and Promote the Conservation of Peregrines within Leicester and its environs.

The Original female (2014) takes to the air at Leicester Cathedral (c) Jim Graham

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Most Recent Activity:

24 March 2021 – a ‘new’ un-ringed female has been present in the territory for a couple of days and the resident pair have been repelling her. The competing females were seen talon grappling and were filmed fighting in a courtyard close to the Cathedral. The resident female was bloodied but with the help of the male, seems to still have control of the platform.

10 March 2021 – from current activity, it is obvious that the UN-RINGED female is now in charge of the nest site.

25 January 2021 – Video: the new pair have their first snow of the season.

10 April – the female moves out of the box onto the platform at 4:00. She leaves at 5:10 and the male flies in at 5:35 and settles on the ledge. He goes into the box when the female returns at 6:10, leaving five minute later and she follows. The pair return to the box at 7:30 but the male quickly leaves. She remains on the ledge until 8:00. The male is back 30 minutes later for ten minutes and briefly at 10:00 and the female for a few moments at 10:20. The male is back at 10:35 for ten minutes and briefly at 11:10. At 11:30, the female flies in with the remains of previously eaten Feral Pigeon and takes it into the box; the male quickly follows. There are a few minutes of bonding before the female leaves. The male picks up the pigeon and flies off with it. He is back for a few moments at 12:05 and again at 13:30. The female returns with the pigeon ten minutes later and stashes it by a column and flies out. The male flies in at 14:15, picks up the stash and walks to the platform to attract the female. She duly arrives and take the prey from him. He watches her from the box. She stashes the prey and there are a few moments of bonding. He then picks up the pigeon, but the female snatches it from him and feeds on it before stashing the remains, then flies off. The male is soon back and recovers the stash, takes it to the platform and feeds on it, then flies off. He returns briefly at 15:20, 15:25, 15:55 and at 16:35 sits on the ledge then feeds on the scraps leaving ten minutes later. The pair return together at 16:55; he goes into the box and she calls loudly from the platform. He flies out at 15:15 and she leaves at 17:25. He is back at 18:00 and dozes on the platform until 19:20 when he goes into the box when the female arrives. There are a few moments of bonding and he leaves. She moves to the ledge at 19:35 and then the box at 20:30, where she remains until midnight at least.

LATEST NEWS

15 December 2020: There is yet another new female in residence. A 2018 bird from central Birmingham first seen on 21 September after the previous female was not seen from 6 September. The new pair are bonding frequently. For fuller details see: Breaking News.

9 July 2020: After many hundreds of hours reviewing recordings, we have now been able to identify where both our birds have come from:

The Male was ringed as a chick in Nottingham on 17 May 2008 making him 12 years old.
This is the first confirmed sighting of him. (c) Jim Graham
The New Female (went missing on 6 September) was ringed as a chick in Warwickshire on 30 June 2016 making her just four years old. This is probably her first pairing and first confirmed sighting of her. (c) Jim Graham
27 April 2020 – Video: our resident female (left) defends the nest site against an intruding younger female. Here is a short section from the start of the fight.

Keep Up-to-date here: Daily Commentary

To see a log of current events and activities please visit the Daily Commentary Page or for older information please the Archive Page.

Leicester Cathedral Egg Laying Dates from 2017.

Leicester Peregrines – The Story So Far

In February 2014, a collaboration between the Leicestershire & Rutland ornithological Society (LROS) and LCC was formed called Leicester Peregrines to monitor the habits and activities of a known pair of Peregrine Falcons in Leicester city centre. A group of volunteers from LROS started surveying the city and noticed the birds frequenting a number of tall buildings. These included Leicester Cathedral, the Old Lewis’s Tower, the Cardinal Building (BT Tower) and St Georges (Blue) Tower. It quickly became apparent that the Leicester Peregrines were intent on breeding.

Unfortunately, the location of the nest was less than secure and the decision was made to erect a number of artificial nest boxes on various buildings to try and encourage the birds to move to a safer location.

With the agreement of Leicester Cathedral and after the input of an independent Urban Peregrine expert, a 5-star nest platform was erected on the east facing side of the Cathedral spire in March 2016. Unfortunately, this was slightly too late for that breeding season but when the juveniles fledged later that year, the adults immediately brought them to the Cathedral. 

Although the pair did not breed here in 2016, both the adults and the two juveniles could often be seen either on the platform or on one of the spire crosses. This gave us hope that they would return in 2017. And so it proved: they never left the Cathedral and could be seen almost every day either on the platform or on one of the Spire crosses.

14 January 2017 – Photo: the male (left) and female on the platform.

In March 2017, the female laid 3 or possibly 4 eggs (the cameras were playing up) only for them all to fail. A few weeks later a second clutch of four was laid but unfortunately these too failed. Video footage showed the female eat the eggs when she realised they were not viable. The reason for the failure was unknown but not uncommon in Peregrine falcons.

Despite this setback, the pair remained around the Cathedral defending the nest site for the remainder of the season and through into 2018.

In 2018, we were hopeful that they would attempt to breed again and all signs were positive. The first egg was laid on 23 March and the clutch of four was completed on 5 April.

5 April 2018 – Photo: The clutch of four eggs was complete.

On 6 May, just over 40 days later, the first egg hatched at 01:30 in the morning. A few days later a second egg hatched but unfortunately, the two others were not viable.

6 May 2018 – Video: the first chick hatches from the egg.

Both chicks were well looked after by their parents and grew steadily. On 24 May, they were large enough to be ringed under licence from the BTO becoming known as P7D and PCF. It was thought that the larger chick P7D was female it’s sibling a male.

24 May 2018 – Photo: the two chicks ringed under licence at the Cathedral.

Just three weeks later and P7D had taken flight and fledged the nest. PCF followed the following day. Their first flights were not without concern but thankfully both survived and were frequently seen around St Martins Square and on the Cathedral whilst their parents taught them how to hunt for their own food.

15 June 2018 – Video: juvenile P7D takes it’s first flight – not particularly elegant.

Juvenile P7D (always the more adventurous of the two) was the first to leave the area but PCF remained until at least 11 December and could often be heard calling/begging for food. We wish them both well and hope that they may be identified by their rings somewhere in the UK and they manage to set up a breeding territory of their own in a couple of years time.

20 June 2018 – Photo: Juveniles P7D (left) and PCF on the roof of St. Martins House.