Over the last couple of years I have been very fortunate to share an office with a pair of Peregrine Falcons. Most people at their place of work have nothing more interesting to stare at than their PC monitor but our concrete tower block offers panoramic views of Peregrines both at play and on the hunt. We have witnessed courtship rituals including food passes between the two adults in mid air as well as chases involving the resident flock of Feral Pigeons. As the birds fly up to perch on the window ledges they are often only a few inches away giving us unprecedented views of these killers in action, not to mention a great opportunity to see what sort of prey they are catching. The best of these kills by far has to be the Grass Snake which was carried in a couple of months ago, with possibly the most gruesome being a Mallard whose severed head graced the campus for almost a year before finally being cleared away. The remains of Woodcock have also been discovered along with the usual array of small birds that you would expect from our location on the divide between city and countryside.
You’ll have noticed that I referred to adults above, and with good reason. The mainstay of our population has been a pair of fully grown birds who each year have produced a pair of offspring. I originally presumed that the Peregrines were actually breeding on our building but as of yet there has been no proof found to support this theory. I now believe that the nest is elsewhere and that their presence here is purely for its excellent location as a hunting base.
The past two or three months have been absolutely brilliant with all four birds visible at times. This years youngsters have been particularly playful, often partaking in practice hunts or just simply messing around. They have also been incredibly vocal to the extent that we have been able to hear them clearly through double glazed and sealed windows. As I left the office today they were circling the building and I managed to record a short clip of their calls on my phone. (The volume may be a bit low so it’s worth turning your speakers up).
Hopefully the family group will stay together for a good while to come but it is inevitable that the youngsters will eventually move on. They have been such great entertainment that I will be very sad to see them go. Until then I will continue to enjoy their antics and of course curse the ban on cameras that prevents me from getting what would be some fantastic photos.