I’m a freelance journalist and published poet, based in Manchester.
Watch peregrines fly and read their tweets
Visitors and residents of Manchester now have the chance to catch-up with a family who take city centre living to new heights.
The peregrine viewing-stall has again been set up by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). This is the seventh season that the RSPB have put their powerful telescope in place on Exchange Square.
Peregrine in flight over Manchester, photo by Ben Hall
In those years, the peregrines have raised a total of 25 chicks. They will soon be adding to their flock. The female is currently incubating four eggs, which should hopefully hatch in the next few weeks. The male can often be seen keeping a look out for pigeons, from the top of the Arndale Centre.
You don't even need to be in the city centre to follow the daily life of the peregrines. The RSPB teamed up with Manchester Digital Development Agency (MDDA), part of Manchester City Council, to set the birds up with their own live webcam, Twitter Account and family photo album on Flickr.
The MDDA has helped the RSPB to make more use of the motion sensor built-in to the camera which films the peregrines' nest (also known as an eyrie). When significant movement is detected, video clips are uploaded to Flickr and an automated tweet sent out.
Evan Powell, RSPB Manchester People Engagement Officer, said "Watching the peregrines' daily struggle to raise their young from tiny balls of fluff to beautiful young birds is addictive. It's no surprise that many people first see them in Exchange Square and then excitedly follow them online for the rest of the season."
Changing landscapes and farming methods have resulted in more peregrines deciding to create their eyries on city towers, including New York's Empire State Building.
Bird-lovers first became aware of Manchester's peregrines in the 1990s. This prompted the British Ornithology Trust to put out four nest boxes, one of which the birds eventually picked.
The location of the nests is a secret. Peregrines receive the highest degree of legal protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Their numbers plummeted in the 1960s due to the impact of pesticides. There are now about 1,300 breeding pairs in the UK.
The birds of prey usually mate for several years and may live up to 10 years. The majority stay within 100km of their birthplace. They dive at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour.
The RSPB is an organisation which speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. Visitors have the chance to join the RSPB when they visit the stall.
Follow Manchester's peregrine family 24 hours a day through the RSPB's website www.rspb.org.uk/datewithnature. Regular news updates and highlight shows are available via Twitter (@mcrperegrines).