Peregrine falcons

Where to see peregrine falcons

© Neil Aldridge

Peregrine falcon

The peregrine falcon epitomises wildness; a powerful hunter that specialises in catching birds. Swooping down onto its prey at high speed, the peregrine is the fastest animal on the planet having been clocked diving at a mind-boggling 242 miles per hour! Replacing cliffs and mountain ledges with cathedral spires and power station window ledges, you are now probably more likely to see a peregrine in town than you are out in the wilds, where it still suffers from persecution.

Once a bird of windswept moorlands, craggy mountain tops, and remote coastal cliffs, nesting birds have developed a taste for urban high rise living

Find a peregrine falcon near you

Many of our cities are now home to nesting peregrines, with pairs resident on such iconic buildings as Durham Cathedral, the Arndale Centre in Manchester and Tate Modern in London. Derby, Sheffield, Cambridge, Norwich, Nottingham, Exeter, Southampton, Winchester and Bath are just some of the cities where peregrines are now a familiar part of the scenery. Below are a few special spots to try out:

  • Derbyshire Wildlife Trust: the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project runs free ‘peregrine watchpoints’ on Saturdays and Wednesdays between mid May and early July, with volunteers on hand on Cathedral Green behind the cathedral with telescopes and binoculars for the best views of the nesting birds.
  • Herefordshire Wildlife Trust: follow the Wye Valley Walk, which circles Herefordshire Wildlife Trust’s Doward reserves.
  • Scottish Wildlife Trust: 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 Wildlife Trust: gaze up at the Tate Modern or Charing Cross Hospital.

What to look for

Just find the tallest building and look up! Or find out about special viewpoints that may be set up during the summer. Birds are most obvious during their noisy courtship early in the spring, and then through the summer as the adults bring food in to the growing chicks.

If you can't get to these places

Get up close and personal with nesting peregrines without having to leave your laptop screen: the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project is a partnership project involving Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, and streams live footage of the nest of a pair who have been nesting on Derby Cathedral since 2006.

In Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire County Council has a webcam on a peregrine nest on County Hall, and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust have partnered with Nottingham Trent University to provide webcam footage of another urban nesting pair. When the nesting birds are sleeping, try reading “The Peregrine” by J A Baker, a classic.

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