Wild About Manchester

manchesters biodiversity strategy

News from the Nest - Archive PDF Print E-mail

Monday 4 July 2011

Image Courtesy of Adrian Dancy

Image copyright: Adrian Dancy

Last chance to see Manchester's peregrine chicks!

Time is running out for bird of prey fans to see the young peregrines in Manchester.

High above the city centre, the four young birds are currently being taught to fend for themselves by their parents.

This amazing nature spectacle, however, will only be going on for a few more weeks as once the birds have learnt the necessary survival skills, they will be off to make their own way in the world.

Over the past few months thousands of shoppers and commuters have seen the birds of prey from the RSPB’s peregrine viewpoint in Exchange Square. Many more have also followed them via the live nest camera feed and Twitter.

Joanna Keene, the RSPB’s Manchester People Engagement Officer said: “We are seeing the chicks flying around a lot at the moment, particularly around the Arndale Centre. Each day they are gradually becoming less attached to their parents and are moving towards independence. It has been great watching them develop from fluffy white balls into beautiful juveniles ready to strike out on their own.”

The peregrine viewpoint will be manned everyday by RSPB staff and volunteers until Sunday 17 July (weather permitting). This is the fifth successive year the RSPB has run the Manchester Peregrine project. It forms part of the conservation charity’s Date with Nature programme of events, which make rare and spectacular wildlife accessible for everyone to see.

You can follow the peregrines on Twitter or see video highlights of them on the RSPB website or on Flickr.


Thursday 16 June 2011

Image Courtesy of Adrian Dancy

 Image Copyright; Adrian Dancy

This photograph captures the moment when the first of a brood of peregrine chicks took off on its maiden flight from a secret nest on a ledge high above Manchester city centre.

The chick, which is approximately six weeks old, took off at 3.57pm on Saturday 11 June.

Over the past few months, raptor fans have been able to follow the daily drama of the Manchester peregrines and their four chicks via live internet streaming and Twitter.

Manchester commuters and shoppers have also been able to watch the peregrines fly above the city centre as they hunt for food, with RSPB staff and volunteers stationed at Exchange Square everyday (11am to 6pm, weather permitting), armed with powerful telescopes and binoculars.  

This is the fifth successive year the RSPB has run the Manchester Peregrine project. It forms part of the conservation charity’s Date with Nature programme of events, which make rare and spectacular wildlife accessible for everyone to see.

Follow the peregrines on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/mcrperegrines. For live streaming visit: www.ustream.tv/channel/livenest or www.rspb.org.uk/datewithnature. Video clips can be found on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcrperegrines/.

For further information, contact:

Chris Collett, Regional Communications Manager: 0191 233 4317 / 07885 834 889

Joanna Keene, Manchester People Engagement Officer: 07595 655 177


Thursday 21 April 2011

On Friday 15 April the RSPB launched their 2011 Manchester Peregrine “Date with Nature” Project and already they have some fantastic news to report! The sunshine and clear skies have made for perfect falcon spotting weather and the RSPB staff in the city on Sunday were in for an action packed day with Manchester’s resident breeding pair!

The male made the first appearance of the day when he was sighted perching on the ‘E’ of the ARNDALE centre sign (his favourite spot by all accounts!) but he quickly took flight when another breeding pair of Peregrines entered the city, probably looking for nesting territory. Peregrine falcons are notoriously territorial so the new arrivals were quickly chased off by the home team, but more trouble followed when, a short time later, a group of buzzards began circling the city lazily. A furious display of dive bombing followed as the falcons began to drive the buzzards out of their skies and their city!

Finally, if you thought these birds hadn't shown off enough, the male was spotted flying high, fast and straight – which is known hunting behaviour. Sure enough, he dropped into a stoop and disappeared behind the city skyline, presumaby to strike a less than lucky pidgeon!

So, a stressful afternoon for Manchester’s Peregrines it would seem but a spectacular day both for the RSPB and local wildlife enthusiasts and an excellent start to the project!

Check back here for more news and reports soon!


Friday 14 January 2011

Big Garden Birdwatch Celebration Event

As part of the January's Big Garden Birdwatch there will be a free celebration event taking place at Chorlton Water Park on Saturday 29 January.

Staff and volunteers from the RSPB will be on hand to help visitors to the park spot garden birds using state of the art telescopes. They will also be giving out free advice about how you can look after your garden birds this winter and what you can be doing to make your garden a wildlife haven!

The activities begin at 10.30am and last until 12.30pm. If you would like more information on this event, please contact Claire Reed on 07595 655 177 or email her on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Monday 11 October 2010

Feed the Birds Day

As the summer comes to a close and the winter draws nearer, garden birds need your help more than ever to assist with food and shelter. There are many things you could be doing in your garden, back yard, or balcony to help wild birds this winter, and the RSPB in Manchester are here to show you how.

On Saturday 30 October it is the RSPB’s Official ‘Feed the Birds Day’ where they will be encouraging people to start supporting their birds again by putting up feeders, tables and water baths, in order to compensate for a lack of wild food available to birds at this time of year. In the run up to, and after 30 October, the RSPB are available to give out a range of bird, wildlife, and winter gardening advice for free to groups wishing to know more.

To book a talk or to seek advice, please contact Clare Reed, RSPB Manchester People Engagement Officer, on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


The information below Charts the progress of the 2008 Peregrine Project and how it unfolded.



Image copyright: Adrian Dancy

Thursday 8th May 2008

Things in the nest are going well. The young seem to be growing before our eyes and are already much bigger than when we last updated you. However, we have noticed a potential problem with the male. The hook on his bill can clearly be seen to extend much further down than it should. This should normally continually wear back but in this case hasn't. It doesn't seem to be bothering him at the moment but we hope that it doesn't grow so long as to impede him. Fingers crossed!

Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th May 2008

Some amazing peregrine activity this weekend with the unexpected appearance of 4 buzzards on Saturday and another one on Sunday. Very unusual to see them over the city centre and the male took exception to them, rising high into the sky to chase them away from his airspace! The aerial battle that followed was a privilege to behold. Remember, these are fastest creatures on the planet, capable of motorway speeds in level flight and over 200 mph when they dive. Buzzards are nippy, but no match for a Peregrine! Peregrine two, Buzzards nil.

Tuesday 13th May 2008

The female is now starting to spend some time away from the chicks. As they get older, they start to regulate their temperature better and don't need mum to keep them warm. She is now starting to be seen away from the nest in the Square and we are getting more and more views. The chicks are also moving about in the nest more and giving great views on the Big Screen. This afternoon, the male brought in a feral pigeon and the two of them sat in full view plucking it and sharing a meal. The flying feathers as they plucked the unfortunate pigeon looked like a mini snow storm.

15th May 2008


Gosh, what a 48 hours! Best bit of today was that the peregrine chicks were ringed. All four, well grown, healthy and with full crops. 1 female and 3 males. A real treat to be present to watch. The female, as last year, made a real racket at first but settled down eventually. We hope she can forgive the brief intrusion but the scientific and protective value of ringing chicks and taking a bit of down for a DNA database is well worth it.

18th May 2008

How about some peregrine facts to keep you all amazed...

Well, firstly of course they are fastest creature on the planet. You can forget your cheetah, peregrines win hands down. Capable of motorway speeds in level flights, exact figures vary, but when stooping, they can reach 200+ miles per hour!

Peregrines catch their prey on the wing. By hitting the prey at such high speeds, it is often killed outright by the impact.

If you had eyes the same size as a peregrine, they would be the size of dinner plates. All the better to see their prey with!

To breath at 200mph, peregrines have special 'baffles' in their nostrils that filter the air, otherwise their lungs might burst.

Their feathers are very stiff and strong to withstand the stresses of such speed.

In the two world wars, they were persecuted on the South Coast of England because of the worry that they would intercept and kill homing pigeons carrying messages back from the front.

22nd May 2008

Feathers on the chicks are really starting show now. The outer most feathers on the wings (or primaries) are the first to show - the shot of the bird being ringed shows this very well. Later, more feathers will come through and the white down will start to fall out. The area round the nest is starting to get fairly whitewashed with droppings. As a cliff nesting species, peregrine chicks do not worry about predators and so hiding the nest site is not an issue. So, when nature calls, they point their bums in the air and squirt! Contrast this with a blackbird nesting in the hedge in your garden. If the young birds went to the loo anywhere they pleased, the nest would soon be very visible to predators like cats and foxes. So, after a parent bird feeds a chick, it has an automatic reaction to present its bum in the air and go to the loo! The droppings are wrapped in what is called a faecal sack. The adult bird collects it and flies off with it, dropping it some distance from the nest. All very clever..

Wednesday 28th May 2008

The city skyline is not one of wide vistas and it is rare to see the Peregrines hunt. But at 3pm the male dropped effortlessly from the 'E' of the Arndale sign, accelerated downwards, banked right and BANG, hit a pigeon by the Printworks clock. All over in the blink of an eye but a moment none of those present will forget. It proceeded to pluck it nearby and a while later, the female turned up on camera at the nest to feed the remains to chicks.

Thursday 29th May 2008

This evening saw more drama at the nest. A group of gulls flying over saw the nest site and started to descend on it with aggression. The male was some distance away on the Arndale building but quick as flash, he shot back like a bullet. To say the gulls panicked would be a understatement. None of them felt the force of his talons but they soon gained height and cleared off!

Wednesday 4th June 2008

A frustrating day today. The young birds are getting more active and so wandered off camera and the adults went awol too. We always strive to show people the birds but sometimes they seem to delight in frustrating us!

Thursday 5th June 2008

A welcome return to form. Adults present and correct and well behaved chicks! They are now almost fluffless! Primary feathers are fully through and the birds are regularly flapping their wings to strengthen the flight muscles. How long before they go? Well, my money is on a week from now...

Saturday 7th June 2008

More bird of prey interaction today with the male peregrine sparring with a sparrowhawk over the square and talon grappling. Another 'wow' moment from the resident stars of the show! In a stoop the peregrine has the edge but a sparrowhawk, though smaller and lighter, is a much more agile bird when it comes to twisting and turning and soon outfoxed the peregrine in close combat. The peregrine soon gave up and returned to the Arndale sign visibly in a huff to reflect on how he had been outsmarted.

Later in the day the female flew through the square, did a left by Harvey Nicholls and headed off down the street. Rather reminisent of a cruise missile! Later she returned and flew straight through the spokes of the Big Wheel!