Peregrines on the City Hall Clock Tower 2013
From April – July 2013
The adult Peregrines, named Gavin and Stacey by a local school, first nested on the clock tower in 2007, after chasing off a pair of Ravens and taking their nest.
Breeding success has been mixed over the years. Last year they raised one youngster, a female who was still around the tower in September.
The pair have kept a low profile so far this year but despite this and the cold weather the female has laid eggs and started incubating on about the 20th March.
Let's hope they are successful again this year.
The RSPB will be running occasional weekend events during the late spring and summer in Gorsedd Gardens where telescopes will be available to get a closer view. In the mean time keep a check on the Peregrine Cam to follow their progress.
Peregrines on the Clock Tower
Magpie on the Clock Tower?!
Another succesfful seaon of peregrine watching has drawn to a close. Our sadness at the failure of the eggs has been some-what made up for by the excellent views of the adults we have been getting. The birds have been having a lovely relaxed time of it, preening and dozing on the clock tower. Both birds look very well fed and in good health, which means that they should be in excellent condition for next breeding season-fingers crossed!
It has been very quiet on the clocktower with little action to report. However, one day in the final week of the project we had a visit from a very cheeky magpie, who investigated the peregrine nest right under the noses (or should that be ceres!) of both peregrines! Fortunately for Mr Magpie, neither peregerine noticed him, lost in their own vanity they were too busy preening! What makes it worse was the fact that the RSPB had just finished explaing that peregrines are one of nature's great predators-thanks guys, made us look like right mugs!
All that remains is for me to thank you for your interest in this project. We have met so many enthusiastic people and have heard some fantastic wildlife stories. Please keep watching those birds! Hope to see you all next year!
Peregrines on the Clock Tower Team
Are you one in a million??
Sorry its been so long but we haven’t really had anything to report! Both Gavin and Stacey can still be seen each day on the Clocktower. Sometimes they are there all day, dividing their time between the east and north sides of the tower, and on other days they disappear on long hunting trips. The recent hot weather has been a bit much for the birds (as well as us on the ground!) and they often perch on the shadier parts of the tower.
The PoCT team will be watching the birds until the end of August, so if you haven’t yet seen the peregrines “in person” then what are you waiting for?! If you are a fan of birds and wildlife, why not join the RSPB? You would be in good company-we have over 1 million members! We can sign you up at the Museum and every member that joins will help wildlife conservation in Wales, as well as ensuring that the Peregrines on the Clock Tower project returns each year.
No Second Clutch
There is no second clutch of eggs despite courtship behaviour from both of the peregrines. They have been avoiding the original nest for some time now and are still using the second nest on the east side of the clock tower as a base.
The birds have been sitting in the more shady spots because of the hot weather we've been having recently (often, annoyingly, just out of sight of our scopes on City Hall Lawn!) but we've still been getting some great views of them.
A highlight of this past week was the pair tucking into a pigeon and at one point they both fought over it!
The adults will stay around for the whole of the summer and will continue to pose for the camera, which is providing high quality images of the peregrines and is giving us lots of fun with the windscreen wipers!!
There is no sign of second clutch, although the birds continue to spend much of their time around the nest on the east clock face. The birds are still showing some pair bonding behaviour, spending time together and today putting on an aerial display. Despite showing this behaviour the birds have not been seen mating. The longer we wait, the less chance of success.
At last we have some good news to bring you! Our fantastic new camera is up and running! It even has its very own windscreen wiper-what will they think of next! We have much improved views of the peregrines and now have a full screen image to show visitors. Unfortunately, the new camera image is not yet available to internet viewers (but we're working on it!), so why not come down to the museum to check it out for yourself?! See you there...
Another day of interesting behaviour! Today, (Tues 5th May) the birds have spent the majority of their time on or around a new (old raven’s!) nest positioned on the east facing clock face. They have been sitting very close to each other, often both in the nest together, and also have disappeared on hunting trips together. Such “lovey dovy” behaviour is not the norm for peregrines, except during the pair bonding period, which usually occurs before laying in Feb and March. The female then spent the afternoon “scraping” the nest. This is a natural behaviour to create a bowl shaped “scrape” on the nest ledge, which prevents eggs from rolling off the cliff.
It is unusual, but not unheard of, for peregrines to lay a second clutch of eggs after sitting for the full incubation period. When it does happen, it tends to occur only in city nesting peregrines, reflecting the greater availability of food in cities later in the year.
Could Gavin and Stacey be attempting a second clutch?? Watch this space!!
It has been a depressing few days for the PoCT team. After a completely normal day on Sunday (3rd May), at about 3.30pm the birds suddenly became very agitated and active around the Clock Tower. At first we thought their excitement was due to the eggs hatching, which was supported by the fact that the one of the birds appeared to bring food to the nest. However, no chicks were sighted and the feed didn’t take place. The birds then left the nest completely unattended for the next hour or so and could be seen perched at the top of the tower. As I left the site at the end of the day, one of the adults was seen forlornly circling the tower, occasionally landing at the eyrie (but not sitting) and looking generally lost.
Monday (4th) confirmed our worst fears. The eggs had failed and the Peregrines had abandoned the nest. They spent most of the day sitting on the clock tower and ignored the nest that they had been working so hard to incubate.
It has been a successful week, with the birds showing well for the museum visitors. The most spectacular moment came on Friday morning when the adult male peregrine (Gavin to his friends!) returned to the Clock Tower with a tasty seagull to eat! As you can imagine, this didn't go down too well with the local gulls, who attempted to mob Gavin as he arrived home. Luckily, he made it to a nice comfortable ledge where he was able to enjoy his meal in peace.
For the lucky people down below watching through scopes, it really was a WOW moment. And there will be more to come! Our eggs are due to hatch very soon (last year the first chick appeared on the 1st of May) which means more action on the nest ledge, more hunting trips for the adults and lots many more gory feeds to watch!
So why not come along and have your own RSPB WOW moment?! We will be at the Museum Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-4pm.
Egg-static for Cardiff Peregrines
Peregrines on the Clocktower 2009 is up and running! The birds are back and were observed mating around City Hall in late March.
It was on the opening day of the project (4th April) that volunteer Peter Elkington noticed that the birds had chosen a nest site for 2009-the same spot as last year! For those of you new to PoCT, the eyrie (nest) is located in an old raven's nest on the north-facing side of City Hall Clock Tower, just above the clock face.
Since early April, the birds have barely left the nest unattended, which suggests that they are incubating eggs. Unfortunately, due to the height of the tower, we can't see in to count them. It will be another 2 weeks before we see the chicks appear and the mystery is revealed!
At the moment, the adult birds are taking turns incubating the eggs. If you are lucky you may see a change over at the nest site. Occasionally, one of the birds will return to the tower with prey and give us a gory treat as they devour their hard earned meal.
We estimate that hatching will occur in the first week of May (last year the first egg hatched on 1st May) and then the real fun will start! Rearing hungry chicks is demanding and both mum and dad will have to work really hard to keep the food coming. Until then, however, it's a waiting game...
About peregrine falcons
The fastest birds in the world!
Peregrines like to nest in high, undisturbed places. Cardiff City Hall clock tower is an ideal location. Perched on the clock tower they can easily spot the birds they prey on.
They eat a wide range of birds, from thrushes to pigeons. When chasing after prey, they can reach speeds of up to 180kph (112mph). Peregrines will normally stay together for life. The female usually lays 3 to 4 eggs and the chicks leave the nest after about 6 weeks.
If the City Hall peregrines breed then we should expect to see signs of new chicks in the nest during May.
A threatened bird making a comeback
Peregrines have long been under threat from humans. Their eggs have been taken; they have been shot and even poisoned.
Pesticides, used during the 1950s and 1960s, killed the adult birds and caused eggshells to weaken and break during incubation. Better legal protection and control of pesticides have helped the numbers of peregrines in the UK to rise from a low of 400 pairs, in the 1960s, to almost 1500 pairs today.
However, they still need our help. Every year birds are shot or poisoned and nests robbed.
More work is needed to ensure the protection of this amazing bird. For more information visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdsofprey
Photos of the peregrines
A Date with Nature
For more information about the RSPB, our work and wildlife:
To find out more about peregrine falcons and birds of prey:
To view more wildlife web cameras:
Visit the peregrine display in the Museum to see the new web camera, which gives great close-up views of the peregrines!
Would you like to volunteer?
Fancy volunteering with the RSPB on the peregrine project? Then why not give Laura Reynolds a call on (029) 2035 3276 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone (029) 2035 3276.
You can find out what nest activity the volunteers have been seeing by visiting our We Love Wales pages
See Exploring Our Woodlands for more live-cams.