Another year, another breeding season, it comes round so quick; will it be as productive as last year? I certainly hope so, 2013 for me was my best year yet.
With the arrival of January my thoughts turn to cleaning out the Nest Boxes and Trays, as you know peregrines are not house proud, it is essential that the boxes are scrubbed out and substrate replaced to remove the risk of parasites.
As it stands I have 5 Nest Boxes and 2 Trays to clean out, all were successful last year and they are a mess, some have been in position for 4 years and they may also need weatherproofing, you only have to look at the weather these days to see why.
If there is a ‘ natural ‘ overhang on the site I will always try to use a tray, 2 as above have this but where not available I always place a nest box. Our weather is changing, we are all aware of that, in most years the critical time of April/Early May when eggs /young are vulnerable it seems to be getting worse, to me a nest box is essential.
Having watched the pair at Charring X in the nest box on CCTV and seen some of the weather they have faced, a box sometimes means the difference between success or failure, the fact of the matter is, although a hardy bird, a nest box gives her/him incubating and juveniles an easier time of it.
The last couple of days also I have been checking a number of sites, London it seems is divided into 3 sections of peregrines.
No 1 – these pairing’s hold to a core structure/building 24/7 and all year round, prime sites which are defended from other peregrines full time. Some, not all of these pairings tend to have pressure on the nest site from adjoining pairs, territories are relatively small.
No 2 – the nesting site is vacated after breeding and the Tiercels return around January to hold territory with the Falcon showing up a little while later, or both showing up together.
No 3 – Falcon completely disappears after breeding and leaves it to the Tiercel to defend, Falcon returns in January.
For me, and the sites that I monitor, much depends on the area and density of the pairs, you know and can see your neighbours so they will not leave, food source in London will never be a problem either, even in a re small territory.
With the recent milder temperatures and despite the wind and rain, I found 2 Tiercels back on territory, both are Outer London, as per last year will have to keep an eye on these as egg laying in London seems to be getting earlier and earlier. With a pair incubating last year as early as March 10th and the Charring X pair not far behind this could be starting a trend, Londons warmer temperatures may be the key?