BBC news programme ‘Points South West’ dropped by St John’s Church in Bath on Monday to speak to Hawk and Owl Trustee Mike Rogers and Peregrine Project team member Hamish Smith.
The peregrine pair that have taken up residence in the nesting platform provided by the Hawk and Owl Trust have continued their successful run of breeding attempts over the last few years having hatched two healthy chicks so far for 2013. There are still two eggs unhatched.
Peregrines were first observed regularly at Bath from around 2000. After three years of peregrine residence without any indication of successful breeding the Hawk and Owl Trust built a nest platform. It was installed on the spire of one of the peregrine’s favourite roost sites, St John’s RC Church in South Parade in 2005 and the birds first bred successfully the following season, in 2006.
They have hatched young every season since.
Conservationists are able to monitor the progress of the adults and their clutch thanks to a camera installed above the nest site.
The observations via the camera have provided invaluable insights into the feeding and breeding ecology of these magnificent birds. Because of the nature of the site there is no public access to the camera images, but thanks to the technology conservationists are able to keep a close eye on the birds without disturbing them.
Normal peregrine clutches are three or four eggs, with two or three hatching. At Bath the pair have been productive, with the female laying four eggs in three of the six most recent breeding seasons and twice raising four young. This is thought to be thanks to the ready supply of prey from the healthy feral pigeon population.