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Peregrine Viewing Stall Manchester City-Centre

Home > Manchester > Animals and Wildlife | Family | Fun for Children | Nature | Outdoor
by David Keyworth (subscribe)
I’m a freelance journalist and published poet, based in Manchester. https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/david-keyworth/49/b3a/b83
Published May 3rd 2014
Peregrine Watch
Peregrines are a city attraction again, as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) return with their telescopes and stall for the eighth season in Manchester.

The stall gives visitors and residents the chance to discover or reacquaint themselves with these birds of prey, who take advantage of opportunities for high-rise living in the city.

This year the RSPB's marquee will pop up at those locations throughout the city centre which give the best chance to see the peregrines. Since the birds began breeding in Manchester city centre, they have successfully raised a total of 29 chicks.

However, the RSPB say that they will be particularly grateful this year for any reports of peregrine sightings by members of the public. The first peregrine-egg was laid at the start of April this year, which is much later than normal, although a photo from the nest shows that the pair now have four eggs.
Peregrine RSPB Manchester
The Peregrine's Nest


Jo Keene, RSPB Senior People Engagement Officer in Northern England, said:

"There are a number of reasons why the peregrines are late laying eggs. It could be the age of the birds or the fact one of last year's juveniles is still in the area, which can upset the balance."

She added: "Whether you are on your way to work or browsing the shops, it is a great opportunity to see the fastest birds on the planet, so keep an eye out for the RSPB green marquee and come and join us."

In addition to seeing the birds through a telescope, peregrine fans can get daily updates from a live webcam. If you have any updates on the birds, these can be reported on Twitter or on the RSPB North West Facebook page.

Peregrine RSPB Manchester
Peregrine in flight. Photo by Adrian Dancy

Peregrines, the largest of British breeding falcons, feed on medium-sized birds, predominantly pigeons. They catch their prey in high-speed aerial stoops, although more often than not, they fail to make a kill.

Jenny Hackland, an RSPB Information Assistant on the Manchester stall, explained that the peregrines use some sites in the city as food-stores, where they return to feast on their prey.

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. Peregrines have now increased in numbers, to 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.
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Why? Nature in the city
Where: Manchester City Centre
Cost: Free
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