Monday, 18 March 2013

And how about the Bristol Peregrines?

Bristol Peregrines mating. Photo: Sam Hobson (
Sam has been keeping a close eye on the Peregrines which nest in Bristol's City Centre. The pair have been seen mating a lot, and we hope to see eggs soon. They copulated twice within the space of nine minutes on the weekend! When they do begin laying, they won't start incubating immediately - eggs will be laid every two days. They will start to incubate once the penultimate or final egg is laid. Anywhere between one and five eggs (three or four most common) may be laid. 

At least three pairs of Peregrines nesting in London have already laid eggs. However, this is still relatively early for Peregrines. Most lay in the third and last week of March (and perhaps even into April), although laying dates do appear to be getting earlier. 

Female Peregrine in Bristol in flight. Photo: Sam Hobson (

The photo below by Sam shows one of the Bristol Peregrines on the weekend with a pigeon - this was being used in a food pass. A food pass involves the male catching prey, and handing it to the female in flight.  It is a way in which the male Peregrine shows his mate that he is a capable hunter, and can support her and the chicks over the coming months. 

Bristol Peregrine with a pigeon as part of a food pass on the weekend. Photo: Sam Hobson (

Sam also discovered Golden Plover feathers on the 14th March (see below). Golden Plovers have been wintering around the west, and many will be moving north to begin setting up territories on the moors in northern England, Scotland and Scandinavia. As they move overhead, they make for an easy target for the Peregrines. Sam also found the head of a Chaffinch on the weekend - a common prey item. 

Golden Plover feathers. Photo: Sam Hobson (

Chaffinch head. Photo: Sam Hobson (

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