Viewers of the peregrine falcon nest on top of Nottingham Trent University’s Newton Building in the city centre have been transfixed after a weekend of worry and dramatic scenes on the nest ledge yesterday Monday 22 March.
Over the weekend viewers became concerned that the female falcon, who had reared many chicks over a number of years and recently laid two eggs, was missing from the nest. The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, which monitors the nest site in partnership with the University, was also informed that a dead peregrine has been found in the Lace Market area of the City.
Yesterday, as the Trust made arrangements for the dead bird to be collected and examined to establish a likely cause of death, regular webcam watchers saw dramatic events play out – as a new falcon made daring swoops on the nest site, much to the distress of the resident male – known as Archie. Later in the day the new falcon, thought to be a female, dramatically landed on the ledge and there was heated interaction between the birds.
Speaking on behalf of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, Head of Communications Erin McDaid said: “When we received the report of the dead bird our first concern was that it may be the female from the NTU nest, but we had no way of confirming this at the time. Other birds do turn up from time to time and in the past we’ve also had dead birds mistakenly identified as peregrines, so we feared the worst but hoped for the best. As events played out on camera yesterday and we were able to review images of the dead falcon, it became clear that sadly it was very likely to be the missing female.”
Like the thousands of regular viewers of the popular webcam, launched in 2012, teams from the Wildlife Trust and Nottingham Trent University (NTU) are now eagerly observing the comings and goings around the nest and remain hopeful that a new pairing can be established in time for the 2021 nesting season to be a success.
Speaking on behalf of NTU Head of Sustainability Charmaine Morrell said: “We’ve been working with the Wildlife Trust to protect the nest for 20 years now, but nature never ceases to amaze everyone involved. Whilst it is sad that it looks like our resident female will be replaced, especially after she had already laid two eggs, we’re still very hopeful that all is not lost this year. Because it’s so early in the nesting season there is still time for a new pair to be established. Hopefully we will still see our 40th chick fledge from the nest this year.”
Whilst there have been cases where new birds have taken over another pair’s eggs, the Trust thinks it likely that if a new pairing is established at the NTU nest, the existing eggs will be abandoned or removed from the nest by the adults.
Erin added: “We know that many viewers will be upset to hear news that our long serving female looks set to be replaced but it is worth remembering that she was a very successful mother and that there are many falcons that she raised out there carrying her DNA.”
The Trust will share any details emerging from the post mortem examination of the dead bird as soon as they come through.
Anyone wishing to view the comings and goings in the nest can do so by visiting nottinghamshirewildlife.org/peregrine-cam