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Monday, 9 December 2013

December and still present

December 8th

I made a visit on Sunday morning arriving around 7.10am in the semi darkness, no peregrines were visible from my watch point and the question in my head was, is the juvenile still with us?
This was answered at 7.25am when a single peregrine came out from roost quickly followed by another and then a 3rd, it was the juvenile bringing up the rear (wing silhouette) and quite obviously the adult Falcon had returned.

She was quite distinctive due to her size and all 3 eventually flew west, at the time I thought there all hunting and I could be in for a long wait. The fact that all were together and no apparent hostility was shown by the Falcon in flight looked like the juvenile is still being tolerated; I must admit I thought it would be a different story with the Falcon. To reinforce this there was some brief frivolities between Falcon and juvenile and all 3 had roosted in the same area, acceptance by the Falcon on the juvenile’s presence?

Juvenile and Falcon

I was on the point of leaving as time went by, I thought that if they take prey further afield they would likely stay there and feed but no, one of the peregrines came in, the juvenile quickly followed by the Falcon with prey. It would be interesting to see if she would release the prey to the juvenile. The fact that the juvenile did not have the prey pointed to her not releasing on the return flight unlike the Tiercel in recent visits.

This was the case, despite the juvenile’s attempts to heckle her off the prey she would not release and fed herself, this took 48 minutes, she then took the remains of the prey and flew with the juvenile in pursuit and both were lost to view.

Falcon on prey with juvenile sitting close by

It is possible that he claimed the prey after she stashed it or she would not let him have it, it’s hard to say. Both adults it seems are tolerating him to the extent that all 3 roosted together but I do wonder how long this will last until he gets a hostile reception and aggression from the Falcon.

The wing is most likely impairing his hunting ability but he should be able to take easier prey other than pigeon, this as long as it continues, is the easiest way of getting fed, I suspect watching him fly that he can take the slower prey on his own and probably has done.

I have also identified him, he is ‘RK, when the 4 were ringed on May 20th he was the smallest of the brood.

As I write this I have had some good news and not so good news.

The first concerns a ringing return from a local juvenile which has turned up further afield in Watford, and the 2nd, from the same brood, a juvenile male has been killed and eaten unfortunately by an adult Falcon at Rainham RSPB.Sad news but this is nature.
Although obviously not a common occurrence I have heard of this before, will post on both shortly.


  1. Fascinating stuff Dave. How common occurrence is it for a Falcon to take a juvenile male? Presumably there are plenty of Teal/Widgeon/Pigeon/Lapwing etc at Rainham, so that it doesn't have to be for prey, but rather than territory?

  2. Dave Hi, its not a common event and rarely recorded reading up on it, Rainham is a hotspot for peregrines with at least 2 localised pairs using it. I suspect this is a new female/pair who could be staking a claim for the site after the last Tiercel was killed and the Falcon disappeared who held territory on site. I reckon it likely started off as defence of territory and then possibly became more serious and the juvenile became prey. Will be doing a write up on it shortly.