Saturday, 4 January 2014

Peregrine Falcon 2013 Poitou-Charentes

Peregrine Falcon - A good news story !!!

That's right, it's not always bad news.

This is a bird that requires a relatively specific habitat for a nest site and in Poitou-Charentes there is very little suitable natural habitat for Peregrine Falcons to nest, the region is generally quite flat with some small hilly places here and there.

Although they will use old unused large nests in tall trees this is not generally their preferred location and overall when old nests from other birds are used there is an increased chance of failure in bad weather or if the nest structure collapses. By preference a natural site will be a relatively high ledge or rocky outcrop that is usually slightly earthen, perhaps where a small amount of scree has accumulated with some light vegetation. Here they don’t actually make a nest but scrape a small hollow or clearing where the eggs are laid.

Following the massive population declines from the 1950’s the Peregrine has slowly recovered since about 1985 / 1990 and the first couple were recorded nesting in a natural situation in Poitou-Charentes in the Vienne in 2004. In 2006 this became two couples and in 2013 6 couples were recorded.

The oldest couples from 2004 and 2006 both successfully raised one chick each to fledging.

One couple failed to produce for reasons unknown.

One couple raised two chicks to fledging and the other two couples both raised three chicks to fledging.

10 young Peregrines in total that flew their nests is good news for a species that still has a relatively fragile population.

Outside of the breeding season Peregrine may be seen at a number of other locations throughout the region as they disperse for winter often to wetlands, lakes and marais where there is good hunting.

I should add here that this bird when nesting is extremely sensitive and vulnerable to any human disturbance. This is an increasing problem with the growth of rock climbing and should you become aware of a nest you should only mention its presence to a recognised ornithological group / association or the ONCFS. This is one of the bird species where actual nest sites are kept from the public domain for obvious reasons.

On no account should you approach any actual or potential nest site any closer than 200 metres.