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

The next WATCH DAY in St. Martins Square will be announced soon.

Latest Activity 2024:

Due to time constraints, the daily blog has been suspended for the moment. Should anything interesting or unexpected happen, we will update as necessary. Click HERE

Breaking News:

13 May – the three chicks were ringed under license today. Although the actual process, including taking DNA samples, took less that 15 minutes, we had to wait almost three hours for the female to leave the chicks of her own accord. When she returned, she was none the wiser.

13 May 2024 – Photo: Chick XNF.
13 May 2024 – Photo: Chick XRF.
13 May 2024 – Photo: Chick XSF.
11 May 2024 – Video: one of the more adventurous chicks decides to go on walkabout.
11 May 2024 – Video: one of the more adventurous chicks decides to go on walkabout.

29 April 2024 – unfortunately, the fourth chick did not survive. It was always trapped below its siblings at feeding time and I believe starved. The remaining three seem healthy.

27 April 2024 – Video: the fourth chick can be clearly seen for the first time.

27 April 2024 – the fourth chick hatched at 18:15 – a full house!

25 April 2024 – three of the four eggs hatched today at: 01:20, 07:15 and 18:45.

25 March 2024 – the fourth egg was laid at 7:20.

22 March 2024 – the third egg (a very pale specimen) was laid at 17:45.

20 March 2024 – the second egg of the season was laid at 7:50.

17 March 2024 – the first egg of the season was laid at 17:15.

17 March 2024 – Video: the female lays the first egg of the season late afternoon.

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

Historic Laying and hatching Dates

Laying DateTimeHatch DateTime
2024
117 March17:1525 April01:20
220 March07:5025 April 07:20
322 March17:4525 April 18:45
425 March07:2027 April18:15
2023
128 March02:3505 May06:50
230 March11:5005 May17:35
301 April21:1506 May04:20
404 April16:45
2022
124 March13:2009 May04:45
227 March07:4510 May07:45
329 March19:50
401 April09:00
2021
117 April10:30Failed
2020
121 March05:30Failed
223 March21:30Failed
326 March09:40Failed
428 March20:20Failed
2019
120 March09:0001 May16:50
223 March07:3502 May03:30
326 March01:4503 May07:40
428 March18:00
531 March12:00
2018
126 March17:3005 May22:50
229 March15:1507 May15:15
301 April16:00
404 April06:50
2017First Clutch
124 March?Failed
227 March?Failed
331 March?Failed
Second Clutch
128 April?Failed
230 April?Failed
302 May?Failed
406 May?Failed

Peregrine Watch Day

The first Peregrine Watch Day of 2024, will take place on Wednesday 27th March from 9:30 in St Martins Square – weather permitting.

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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.