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Saturday, 4 July 2020


This year June will definitely go down as a month I won’t forget for a long time, the sheer number of juvenile’s down/trapped/or taken into SEWH was quite staggering.

In a way it is a good thing, not the fact that many of them got themselves into trouble or grounded etc, it just shows and reflects a good density of Peregrines now breeding in London.

Recently a juvenile Peregrine, found grounded in London and kindly taken into care by Tracey, came to the attention of various parties and was tracked down by Stuart, I was able to eventually pick it up on Monday June 29th, it was then taken to the South Essex Wildlife Hospital.

Picked up.

After some discussion and Stuart seeing if we could hack the bird, this was not an option, it was then decided the best chance and option was to foster the little fella as the nest site was unknown.

If you recall from the Blog in the past, I have fostered juveniles at least 3 times successfully at one particular site, the pair here and the layout of the site is perfect for this.

However the first juvenile at this site fledged on June 6th with the other 2 siblings following a couple of days later, it meant that fostering would take place 25 days after the first fledging.

This would be the longest period I had done for fostering – was the time period too long?

Of course it all goes through your head – is it too long a gap for the Falcon to instantly bond with it? – will she/ the adults attack it? – can it fly strongly? – If I release it, will it just bugger off, if able, not recognising its surroundings?

I picked the bird up from SEWH on Wednesday July 1st after Sue and Tom gave the ok, as ever another great job on short notice and I then took it to Paul to put a ring on it. Obviously the ring will always provide good data but in this case, the idea was that if accepted, I could tell it from the other 3 juveniles visually by the ring.

Going back with a ring for identification

Would the family be present on arrival – certainly the juveniles, 2 were up calling and tail chasing, a good start. I had deliberately arrived 10 minutes early, so I stuck the little chap in the carrier on the roof of the car so he could have a listen and also visually see them. I also wanted him to see his surroundings before his release, you might think that’s stupid but these little things could possibly make a difference.

From there I met John and we then went up and accessed the roof under Schedule 1 licence, a couple of the juveniles were still on the wing still but I needed the adult Falcon to see me. After a short while she appeared circling and started to alarm call, this was good and what I wanted, the maternal/territorial instinct kicking in seeing me visually. Without further adoo I released the juvenile straight away, her calls then got even louder (hopefully thinking it was one of her own), the little fella had a quick look around and was off.

Flight was fairly good, he was heading the wrong way and I was willing him to turn back into the wind, this he promptly did to my relief.

As he did this the Falcon followed him, possibly recognising flight was not as strong as the other 3 and I then lost sight of him heading for a pylon.

At ground level I looked for him, the other 3 juveniles had by now  landed on another part of the building and very pleased to say, I found him sitting near the top of the pylon with the Falcon next to him.

Juvenile safely landed
New 'Mum' keeping an eye on him.

Falcon I suspect recognised flight not great.

So far so good.

Initial landing position - Falcon can just be seen through the grill.

A very good release and far better than I could have hope for, I watched them both for another hour and other than the Falcon making short flights elsewhere, she returned each time. However he was pretty exposed up there and bad weather was coming in…..

On Saturday July 4th I visited the site again, would he still be present?

More to come…….