The world's fastest bird

The world's fastest bird


Posted 18th Jul 2017


Lead image courtesy of © Derek Moore

Did you know the peregrine, the world's fastest bird, has found a place to live in the middle of our cities?

The peregrine falcon is the epitome of wildness, a powerful hunter which specialises in catching birds. The bird will swoop down on its prey at high speed - the peregrine is the fastest animal on the planet and has been clocked diving at a mind-boggling 242 miles per hour. Once a bird of wild places, windswept moorlands, craggy mountain tops and remote coastal cliffs, the peregrine has experienced a renaissance during the 21st century, with the nesting birds developing something of a taste for urban highrise living.

Replacing cliffs and mountain ledges with cathedral spires and power station window ledges, you are now more likely to see a peregrine in town than you would be when out in the wild, where it still faces persecution.

How to do it

Many of our cities will have their own pair of nesting peregrines, with peregrine pairs resident on iconic buildings such as Durham Cathedral, the Arndale Centre in Manchester and London's Tate Modern. Derby, Sheffield, Cambridge, Norwich, Nottingham, Exeter, Southampton, Winchester and Bath are among the cities where peregrines are a familiar part of the scenery. You just need to find the tallest building and look up. Alternatively find out about special viewpoints that could be set up during the summer. Birds will be more obvious during their noisy courtship during the spring, and then through the summer as the adults will bring food in to feed the growing chicks. 

Special spots

Derby, the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project runs free ‘peregrine watchpoints’ on Saturdays and Wednesdays between the middle of May and the start of July, with volunteers on hand on Cathedral Green behind the cathedral with telescopes and binoculars to give close up views of the nesting birds.

Herefordshire, follow the Wye Valley Walk which circles Herefordshire Wildlife Trust’s Doward reserves.

Lanarkshire, peregrine falcons nest from the end of March at Falls of Clyde. There is live interpretation from the People’s Postcode Lottery Peregrine Ranger and a self-guided peregrine trail.

London, gaze up at the Tate Modern or Charing Cross Hospital.

Text and information courtesy of The Wildlife Trusts





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