About the Nottingham peregrines
Peregrine falcons will re-use nest sites over many years. A few years ago, two peregrines arrived on a ledge of Nottingham Trent University’s Newton Building in Nottingham, laying eggs in the roof gutter. Sadly, the gutter system meant that these eggs were then washed away. As peregrines are rare birds of prey, protected by law, it was decided to subsequently install a tray style nest box there, which the peregrine couple (affectionately referred to as Mr and Mrs P!) accepted. They continue to choose to return to breed here every year. Cameras were then installed for security – to prevent the threat of egg theft or the nest being attacked.
Since 2011 we have offered everyone the chance to watch these beautiful birds online, 24 hours a day – through our ever-popular Peregrine Cam. Peregrine Cam is a partnership project between Nottingham Trent University and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. The nest site has been a very successful nest site so far, with 16 chicks fledging successfully in the last five years alone. Peregrine Cam continues to grow in popularity every year, with two different cameras on the nest site, 24 hours a day. Between March to July 2012, Peregrine Cam was viewed all over the world, over 800,000 times!
Why are we helping to protect peregrine falcons in this way?
Peregrine numbers crashed in the 1960s due to the impact of pesticides. They have now increased slightly in numbers, to about 1,400 breeding pairs in the UK but their recovery in some areas is still held back by illegal persecution. They carry one of highest standards of legal protection and if peregrines are disturbed or harmed, perpetrators can face fines up to £5,000 and even imprisonment. Today, peregrine populations in Britain are slowly recovering thanks to their protected status and the banning of dangerous pesticides.
Long term security
In addition to providing advice and support to help protect the peregrine nest site, we have been working with Nottingham Trent University, Nottinghamshire Police and the National Wildlife Crimes Unit to develop a DNA database for birds of prey to help fight wildlife crime such as the theft of eggs and chicks. Alongside scientists from the University’s School of Science and Technology, we have been working to develop a system that may one day provide crucial evidence to the police. DNA has already been isolated from feathers collected from nests in the Nottinghamshire area and preliminary DNA profiles have been generated. We at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust are very excited about the success of Peregrine Cam. After years of carefully monitoring and working to keep the site safe and relatively secret, it is wonderful to be able to allow the public to enjoy these special birds. With so few pairs in the county, and the very real threat of the eggs being stolen or the nest being disturbed, we have had to err on the side of caution, but with the nest site now fully secure we can let people see the birds in all their majesty. Speaking on behalf of Nottingham Trent University, Head of Estates Services, Paul Lawton said: “We feel very privileged to have a breeding pair of these magnificent birds on our City campus, and obviously take the responsibility that this brings very seriously. We have worked closely with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and other parties over the years to ensure their safety and the appropriate environment for breeding, and the time is now right to give others the rare opportunity to witness these birds of prey close-up.”
Where is the Peregrine Cam nest site?
It is located on top of the Newton Building of Nottingham Trent University, on South Sherwood Street in Nottingham city centre, UK. If you walk along South Sherwood Street in the direction away from the Old Market Square, with the Corner House on your right, Wagamamas will be on your right. Continue across that crossroads and on your left you’ll see a large university building – the Newton Building. Look up – the nest site is on a ledge high up in this side of the building. You won’t be able to see the box itself from the ground, but you may see the adults circling overhead. Another tip would be to go to the top level of the Cornerhouse with a pair of binoculars, and look diagonally across the road, towards the Newton Building! Find out more about peregrines and the work of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust to help protect birds of prey.