Lewisham’s Peregrine Falcons become parents again

The baby Peregrine Falcons hatched on 5 May. Pic: John Chapman

The baby Peregrine Falcons hatched on May 5. Pic: John Chapman

A pair of Peregrine Falcons that have made their home on the roof of a Lewisham building are raising a family of chicks for the sixth year in a row, delighting local birdwatchers.

The birds’ nest is located on the roof of the former CitiBank building on  Molesworth Street outside Lewisham Shopping Centre. On  May 5 four additions to the family of the long time residents came into the world.

John Chapman, the nest site monitor from the London Peregrine Partnership said: “The parents have lived on the building for the past eight years and have bred there for six years.”

A previous nesting attempt at the site failed, but this year they succeeded using a purpose-built nest box constructed by Chapman. The box was installed by Citibank under guidance from David Johnson of the London Peregrine Partnership. Peregrine Falcons are a protected species.

Stuart Harrington, also from the London Peregrine Partnership added: “We monitored the site earlier in the breeding season and made the building owners aware that the birds were intending to nest there. We made a site visit with members of the Met Police Wildlife Crime Unit to confirm that the box was in use and to ensure that the building owners understood their responsibilities in relation to the protected status of the birds.

“They are the only Peregrine Falcons resident in Lewisham, although there are other pairs around London.”

“The territory size can be a few square miles and nests are usually never less than a mile apart, indeed it is normally more than this. There are around 30 pairs in the London Natural History Society (LNHS) recording area.”

The Peregrine Falcons is the world's fastest animal. Pic: John Chapman

The Peregrine Falcon is the world’s fastest animal. Pic: John Chapman

The young are vulnerable when they leave the nest and can end up on the ground where they can be killed by foxes or run over. Harrington appeals for people in Lewisham to keep an eye out for them while they’re shopping, in case they spot one on the pavement or being harassed by crows.

“If someone sees a chick on the ground they can call John Chapman on 07894030938 or the London Peregrine Partnership on 07807738699.

“The best place to view the site would probably be by the bus stops near the Lewisham Police Station. People trying to see the birds should avoid blocking access to the station,” Harrington said.

The Peregine Falcons have taken up residence on the top of the former City Bank building. Pic: Yajie Ding

The Peregrine Falcons have taken up residence on the top of the former City Bank building. Pic: Yajie Ding

The Peregrine Falcon is legally protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which make it a criminal offence to intentionally or recklessly kill, injure or take a Peregrine Falcon, or disturb their nest.

Peregrine Falcons have been victims of illegal persecution and suffered severe population declines in the 1960’s and 70’s as a result of the accumulated effects of pesticides in their prey. Since the 1990’s the population has gradually expanded in the east and northeast into towns and cities across the UK, where they nest on tall buildings and eat feral pigeons and other bird species.

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