Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Some other peregrine sites

Here are six photos of other places where peregrines either nest or have been seen perching over the years .....maybe you can name them?
No. 1 - on the eastern side of the UK

No. 2 peregrines have been recorded here since the 16th century but don't breed
No. 3 Not such a pretty building........and not that far away
 No. 4 The first site with a peregrine web cam in the UK though it didn't last
No. 5 This is very difficult but the town has connections with a certain Iron Lady

No. 6 Peregrines only perch here but they nest nearby

No prizes for guessing the answers but it may amuse you while you are pondering the New Year (and do have a Happy One!). I'll put the answers on here tomorrow evening....if I remember!

Nick B (DWT)

Thursday, 12 December 2013


Here's a photo of a peregrine pellet I found recently:

The pellet is about 6 cms. long and 2.5 cms. wide
Peregrines 'cast' pellets through their beaks from time to time to eject both feathers and bone fragments they have swallowed. They are usually fairly dry and grey in colour.
Has anyone ever seen one of our peregrines casting a pellet? (I suspect they don't cast pellets into the nest box but do this activity elsewhere such as above the nest on a ledge.
The bird makes movements which resemble coughing or choking as the pellet is brought up and dispelled.
Only rarely do peregrine pellets contain anything identifiable of interesting. Sometimes if you were very lucky you might find a bird ring inside - but, despite looking many times - I have never done so yet.
(Incidentally, bird pellets don't smell and are usually dry or dryish. Many species - especially those that eat hard objects or use grit/stones to aid digestion - will cast pellets. The species known to cats pellets include robins, rooks, bee eaters, owls and most birds of prey among many others).
You may have heard how owl pellets contain the (often identifiable) bones of the small mammal and other prey they have eaten making them valuable tools in identifying exactly what the owl has been feeding on (see http://www.kidwings.com/teacher/owlpellets/bonechart.htm.)
This is because owls eat the whole prey including the skull and fur/feathers. When the bones (especially the mammal skulls) are extricated from a pellet they can be identified to species making owl pellets a rich source of information. 
By contrast, peregrine prey is usually too big to be swallowed whole so we don't find any skulls, beaks or legs in them.....maybe a bone fragment or two but usually completely unidentifiable broken up feather remains. 
Nick B (DWT)