URBAN FALCONS – This week I returned to my old day job – presenting wildlife documentaries. This one was for a BBC2 series called Urban Jungle that’ll probably air in July. We were filming a truly spectacular bird, the peregrine falcon, which has come back almost from the brink of extermination in this country.
What is incredible about peregrines – apart from their beauty and speed – is their adaptability. Originally a coastal dwelling bird, they’ve started nesting in city centres. Derby led the way by fixing a nesting tray to the cathedral back in 2006. You can see the chicks in their nest on a live feed here.
The chicks’ DNA is sent to Dr David Hughes from Nottingham University. David runs a unique study looking at peregrine genetics – by creating a DNA database he’ll be able to track birds throughout the country, as well as combating wildlife crime – by cross referencing samples collected by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust with those taken by police during investigations into suspected theft of chicks and eggs.
What’s really brilliant about the Nottingham project is that they have a high definition webcams trained on their resident peregrine pair – you can control the cameras over the internet yourself so you can see if one of the parents has landed on a ledge with a pigeon, or a chick has rolled under the nest camera! Watch here.
And if the chicks doze off, take a look at their YouTube highlights.
As for us, it was an interesting shoot, to say the least – astounding to look into a 2.5 week old peregrine chick’s eyes, ward off drunks in the city centre, and shelter from torrential rain outside a disused power station. Oh the glamour of telly.