BOLTON’s Peregrine Falcon Pair Welcomes New Addition After Flying A Chick.
Birds of prey have become a familiar sight above the city center in recent years after making their home in an old crow’s nest atop Bolton Town Hall.
The chick is believed to be female, judging by its size.
Judith Smith, of the Manchester Raptor Group, who is responsible for the conservation interests of raptors, including owls, peregrine falcons and crows, said: “Sightings throughout the breeding season suggest the pair may have -being initially tempted to breed at the parish church, where they spend most of their time outside of the breeding season.
“This could be due to the extensive restoration work underway on the facade of the entrance to the town hall. ”
Peregrine falcons were at their lowest in the 1960s due to human persecution and the impact of pesticides in the food chain.
Improved legislation and protection has helped the birds to recover and they have now spread to many urban areas.
Large and powerful, peregrine falcons have a wingspan of around 95 to 115 cm and it is believed that there are only 1,500 breeding pairs in the UK.
They are renowned for their speed, reaching over 320 km / h (200 mph) during their characteristic dives.
Peregrine falcons first nested in Victoria Square in 2008 and the current pair’s male is believed to have hatched in 2011 in a local quarry. Chick, he was fitted with a licensed colored ring, allowing his subsequent movements to be tracked.
“The very tall clock tower looks like a cliff for the birds, which is their natural habitat,” Judith said. “And there is an abundant source of food in the wild pigeon.”
According to Judith, the couple have now rejected the old crow’s nest and made their home in the southeast corner of the clock tower, near the dome.
“We think they were put off by all of the work going on on the facade of Town Hall,” added Judith. “The dome has four pinnacles and they nest somewhere behind them, so it’s very hard to see.
“But we thought they were up to something so we continued our observations and I went there the night of the England semi final as I knew it would be quiet and I could see the juvenile sitting on one of the pinnacles with the father on the opposite diagonal one.
“We usually get more than one and had four last year, but that’s great news.”