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Bath Peregrines’ Fledgling Success

Three youngsters join parents on the wing in Georgian city

Bath Fledglings
Photos © the photographers: top and middle by Hamish Smith show fledglings recently out of the nest box. Peregrine identified by colour ring CV is in the middle and is shown immediately after ringing | photo by Ed Drewitt

Three young peregrines, raised on a Hawk and Owl Trust nesting platform on the spire of St John’s RC Church in Bath, have now all fledged successfully and left the nest.

Having taken their first flights, they are spending their time flitting from roof to roof on nearby houses, building up their strength and flying skills. In the meantime, the adult birds are continuing to bring food to them until the youngsters are ready to start joining their parents in the skies above Bath, developing their hunting skills. This is likely to be over the next few weeks.

So members of the public watching activity from street level should continue to have great views of the peregrines overhead.

The youngsters hatched over Easter weekend and are believed to be this year’s first peregrine chicks (known as eyasses) in the UK. The peregrine pair, thought to have been the earliest to breed in 2011, surprised everyone by laying a clutch of eggs by 18 March. It wasn’t all plain sailing though, as two of the young had to be rescued by the Hawk and Owl Trust after early flight attempts landed them at ground level near the church.

This was the sixth year in a row that peregrines have successfully bred on the platform, which was put up by members of the Hawk and Owl Trust’s Bath & West Wiltshire Group in 2005. A peregrine pair made it their home the following year.

The peregrine, which is the logo of the Hawk and Owl Trust, is the largest falcon resident in the UK. Numbers have increased after being devastated by the effects of organochlorine pesticide poisoning in the 1960s. There are now thought to be 1500 pairs in the UK and although their natural nesting habitat is cliff ledges, over the last decade peregrines have increasingly been breeding on human structures in our cities.

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