Eagle eyed falcon fans spot the arrival of new suitor on Nottingham’s live peregrine cam
Monday 13th March
Since the installation of high definition cameras to provide added security for a peregrine nest on Nottingham Trent University’s Newton Building in the centre of Nottingham back in 2012 tens of thousands of people world-wide have avidly kept an eye what has become one of the most famous and popular falcon nest sites on the planet.
Whilst principally installed to ensure that the birds can breed in safety without fear of persecution, the quality of the image stream has enabled the public to enjoy the goings on in the nest and proved to be an invaluable learning resource enabling a fascinating insight into the birds’ behaviour. Now thanks to a spot of detective work by regular camera watchers we know that a new male has taken up residence in the nest.
In May 2016 dedicated camera watchers noticed some unusual behaviour around the nest. A male was observed flying towards the chicks as they sat on the ledge high above the city. It was assumed that the male was trying to keep the chicks away from the edge but after hours spent reviewing video and still images by the camera watching community a very different story emerged.
A few days after seeing the male flying towards the chicks, viewers noticed an adult bird in the nest with a coloured identification ring around its leg. This was not one of the resident pair (they didn’t have rings) and it couldn’t have been a returning chick as the licenced ringers who ring the chicks on behalf of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust don’t use this type of ring visible on the bird.
After some investigation and an enquiry to the British Trust for Ornithology it was established that the interloper was a four year old bird originally ringed as a chick in London. Despite camera watchers keeping a look out, the male that had fathered the 2016 brood wasn’t seen again. So, rather than being the father displaying paternal instincts to save his chicks from a potentially fatal fall, it would appear that the new male was trying to drive the chicks away as part of his efforts to take up residence at a very successful and desirable nest site.
This type of observation is only possible due to the investment made by the University in high quality cameras and the streaming of the images. It would have been possible to protect the nest without streaming the footage, but this decision by NTU and our joint efforts to promote the live stream to the public means that huge numbers of people can observe the birds and we all have the opportunity to learn.
The new male has been present on and off ever-since and camera watchers are now waiting with baited breath to see if the new couple can continue the successful use of the nest. In previous years the first egg has been laid around the 13th or 14th of March and everyone involved is keeping their fingers crossed for another successful nesting season.
Speaking about the new couple, Erin McDaid of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust said:
“The cameras and live web stream provided by Nottingham Trent University have proved to be a massive success. Not only have they helped us ensure the safety of these protected birds, they have become a wonderful educational tool with the public and experts alike gaining a new understanding of peregrine behaviour over the years. The detective work done by the regular camera watchers to prove we had a new male is a great example of the value of such cameras. Thanks to cameras and ringing projects across the UK we now know that adult birds move between successful nest sites more often than previously thought and we are all really excited to see if the new couple can continue the success of previous pairings in the nest.”
To view the camera visit www4.ntu.ac.uk/sustainability/biodiversity/falcons/index.html and see clear views of both peregrines (female pictured here recently) and the nest.