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Wednesday, 7 September 2011


One of the perks of visiting many peregrines sites in London is the associated wildlife that lives side by side with the peregrines and also shares the same habitat, albeit at different levels. Of the different species that I encounter Crows and Magpies are without doubt the smartest, they know when they are safe from attacks by Peregrines, they also know how far they can push them.

Large female Peregrine with prey, the Magpie knows it is safe while she is feeding
I have now been monitoring Peregrines for over 10 years, they have opened doors for me that I would have never even dreamed off, I am a lucky man and the rewards in helping and watching them accomplish successful breeding have been worth every minute of it.

As mentioned in earlier blog posts Kestrels feature at 3 sites where Peregrines are territorial and breed, on the whole both species seem to ignore each other, there is occasional mobbing by the Kestrels but they are not seen as a threat like a Carrion Crow is. Abundance of prey (feral pigeon) also means they are rarely targeted in London.

A striking male Black Redstart (click on photos to enlarge)
Black Redstarts are another species sharing the high level habitat with Peregrines, I have seen them foraging within 3 metres of them totally unconcerned, it comes down to reading body behaviour, more often than not the Peregrines are laying up. To a certain extent on 2 or 3 sites in London they actually gain protection by the presence of the Peregrines from Magpies and Carrion Crows.

Juvenile Black Redstart
 Grey Wagtail is another urban breeder, I encounter these on nearly all the sites, sometimes up to 3 pairs on the larger sites, they are vastly under recorded as an urban breeder and no doubt Black Redstart is much the same to a lesser extent.

Female Sparrowhawk
Sparrowhawks are another; they do not seem to be seen as a threat, even from territorial breeding Peregrines, both species just seem to ignore each other on the sites where they occasionally meet. On the other hand I have seen Peregrines react very aggressively to the presence of a Common Buzzard going over, larger birds of prey are usually seen off with great relish. Peregrines seem to have an inbuilt high level of aggression, probably one of the reasons that Falconers value them so highly and the fact that they will tackle larger prey.

I intend to go to Parliament this Saturday now that they are back, I hope to get some video of them to place on the blog, and I have at last decided to join You Tube. Being a bit old fashioned and trying to move forward with the electronic age is hard at my age, I see pitfalls and an ambush around every corner!

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