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Manchester peregrines return again for 2011 …


The peregrine pair, who have nested in Manchester since 2005, have returned to the city to raise a family once again.  The two birds have decided to use the original nest box built for them in 2008, at a secret (but tall) building right in the heart of the city centre.  This chosen box luckily has a new video camera pointing right at the nest. It’s a joint operation between Manchester Digital Development Agency and the RSPB and allows live streaming of the nest for anyone who has internet access. The adult female laid the first egg on 22 March 2011, one soon became four and they all safely hatched on 30 April 2011.  Two male and two female.

Since then the little chicks have gained confidence, weight and endured the full range of Manchester weather from heatwave to downpours to gales.  All chicks are still growing and they have had rings fitted for safe tracking by trained RSPB handlers.

I have watched the live stream on the webcam when I can and I do seem to always see the same (yes, the smallest) chick timidly staying at the back of the bunch.  I do hope this wee thing discovers that it is survival of the fittest; it MUST become more assertive or maybe Mum and Dad give it a sneaky extra snack.  I hope so.

Estimates for possible fledging are around mid-June 2011.

Friendly RSPB staff and volunteers have a viewing telescope set up every day during the nesting, the team can be found outside the Triangle Shopping Centre in Exchange Square, Manchester from 11am to 6pm.  To be 100% sure the RSPB team will be there;  you can give them a call on 01484 861148.

The One Show did a short feature in 2008 which is available via YouTube, on the Manchester Peregrines with urban birder David Lindo, it is around 5 minutes long and well worth a watch.

Oh and I nearly forgot, the birds are on Twitter too: @mcrperegrines

Flickr photostream here with photos and video footage.

For my previous blog post and comments from 2010 nesting please click here.

LATEST: Wed 25th May 2011.  Just looking on the live stream and three of the birds are off on a walkabout out of the nest and onto the rooftop surrounding the box.  Hope they come back to be fed!

LATEST: Fri 17th June 2011.  All birds successfully fledged, high chance of spotting them if you look into the Manchester skies.  Popular perch spots on the Arndale and also the Premier Inn.  RSPB and telescopes are there in Exchange Square for closer viewing opportunities of the birds.

Manchester peregrines: new home on CIS tower building.


Post-Springwatch I get lots of visitors reading the blog who have searched via the keywords Manchester and Peregrines.  I thought it about time I updated the blog post I did last year as things have moved on.  Yes quite literally!  The pair, which previously nested under the installed webcam at a secret location in the centre of Manchester, decided they needed a change of scene.

Being birds of a certain taste they plumped for the penthouse floor on the Grade II-listed CIS Tower owned by the Co-operative Society.  A very sound choice by the wise pair, being the second tallest building in the city centre at 387ft (opened in 2007 Hilton Tower/Beetham Tower became the highest at 554ft).  Snowdon may well be ten times the height of the CIS Tower but this Manchester landmark building is more than adequate height-wise and provides a healthy and perpetual pigeon diet right on the doorstep.

The Co-op are chuffed to bits the birds are nesting on their building and using the nestbox they built, rather hopefully, four years ago.  They released a  news update on their blog and this is the place to go if you want to get in touch with any questions.

Sadly, the switch of nesting site by the peregrine pair caught everyone on the hop a bit and though there was a webcam on the CIS near the nest site, it was found not to work and needed replacing.  The birds could not be disturbed once the nest was built so a team was tasked from the RSPB Peregrine Project to allow Manchester’s residents and visitors to gain terrific views.  Most Saturday’s the RSPB have a high-powered telescope or two trained on the nest and the bird’s popular posing spots.  Check the RSPB site to find out more details.  They should be at Exchange Square (outside the Triangle/Corn Exchange) until mid-July but do check the website before heading out.


Previously the Manchester peregrine pair have raised four chicks.  2010 has been less successful with two chicks being born.  That could be a result of the long, harsh cold winter and a resulting poor diet, no-one really knows.  The new chicks were ringed at the end of May which will allow further monitoring and tracking.  There’s a short piece featuring the very vocal chick above on the BBC Manchester website.  I am not sure whether they have fledged yet, but the male bird has been reported hunting and bringing food back to the nest only last week so my guess is they haven’t gone exploring just yet.  Do let me know and send a comment if you have any further information.

Nice to know the Manchester peregrine pair are back and the city once again has a fantastic chance to catch an intimate glimpse of one of the avian world’s star performers.

To read my previous post on the birds return to Manchester in 2009 (featuring some great still images taken from the webcam) click here.

UPDATE. July 2010. I am afraid I have some sad news to report.  One of the two peregrine chicks did not make it past it’s maiden flight.  Eyewitness accounts seem to be pointing to the demise being due to the young bird flying into an office window.  This does seem to tally up with the fact that the new nest site is next to the mirrored glass/solar panels of the CIS offices, who knows.  The second young chick also had a near catastrophe in the early days of learning to fly.  It hit the window of the nearby Crown Plaza Hotel and was rescued in a dazed condition.  After treatment and recuperation at the Animals in Distress centre in Irlam the bird was re-united with its parents and now seems to be doing really well.  Thanks goodness, one happy ending at least.

• UPDATE. June 2011. Click here to go to a further post on what has happened to the Manchester pair for 2011 who returned to raise more chicks this summer in Manchester.
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Manchester peregrines return to the city, follow their progress live via webcam …


Sometimes it is hard to connect with nature when you are busy grinding away at the work coalface. However, the internet can prove a handy conduit to deliver a helping of nature live onto your desktop.

Using the BBC Manchester Big Screen website over the past few weeks I’ve been checking in with the Manchester peregrines who have their own webcam and nestbox perched high above the city.

It is a sign of the times, but if a high mountain cannot be found, then it seems a fairly tall building will act as a decent alternative for the peregrine falcon, one of our most noble birds of prey. 2009 is the third year this pair of peregrines have returned to Manchester to rear their family and once again it seems they are doing a grand job. Four chicks successfully hatched at the end of April and over the weeks I have watched them evolve from fluffy white balls to beautiful strong young hawks.

I had a minor panic on 20th May when the whole nest area was completely empty, but thankfully an explanation was posted up onto the BBC peregrine diary site explaining that the birds had simply gone on a walkabout! I think this illustrates the fact that the chicks are now itching to fly the nest and may fledge any day now. It has been really wonderful watching the progress of the chicks and heart-warming to see them being looked after so well by the adult birds, despite some very damp weather in the early days.

The young have been ringed by the RSPB, so hopefully we can see how far they roam to find their own partners and new territory. So, if you are out and about enjoying the sun in Manchester city centre this weekend, look up in the sky and tune your ears in for any unusual shrieks and whistles, as it could be the youngsters attempting their first airborn cruise. I believe the RSPB has a telescope set up outside the Triangle at weekends allowing a terrific view of the adult birds who are often found perched on the ‘A’ of the Arndale sign.

the chicks on walkabout ...

the chicks on walkabout ...

Other good live webcams I have found are;
a goshawk family in the New Forest (complete with live sound)


and the Loch Garten Ospreys, an absolutely stunning location right ontop of a swaying tree!


Both of these nests have chicks and should certainly help top up the battery til the next episode of Springwatch.

UPDATE. On the Manchester peregrine’s. The first chick fledged on Tuesday 2nd June and a second the day after, two are still on the nest today (Saturday 6th June) and it is pouring with rain so maybe they prefer to stay in the relative dry on their ledge?

• A favoured spot for the newly fledged two is posing on the Manchester Big Wheel … what show-offs! :-)•

• There are some fantastic photo’s of the Manchester birds and chicks on the BBC website taken by © Adrian Dancy.

UPDATE. June 2010. New blog post, why the webcam isn’t working and where the birds have nested in 2010.

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