Orphan peregrine (right) meets its new family

Orphan peregrine (right) meets its new family

In June my colleague James Leonard reported on a long and dramatic day we had placing two young peregrine chicks into foster nests (see previous blog).  This followed the horrific incident at a peregrine breeding site in Staffordshire where an adult male peregrine was caught by an illegally placed metal spring-trap.  This bird had to be euthanized.  The female had also disappeared and was suspected to have been killed.  This had left us with two orphaned peregrine chicks.  The charity Raptor Rescue had kindly looked after these birds whilst we frantically tried to locate suitable wild nest sites which could potential foster these birds.

Thanks to the help of a number of people we were able to put each chick into a wild nest site, both only containing two chicks.  To our delight and relief the new arrivals were immediately accepted by their foster family.  The parent peregrines, who clearly cannot count, quickly set about feeding an extra hungry mouth.  The sites were monitored by volunteers, who kept us updated with progress.  We recently received the fantastic news that both of the orphaned chicks had successfully fledged along with their adopted brothers and sisters. So despite the initial tragedy, there was at least some consolation with the happy ending for these two chicks.

This incident, and related events, have attracted considerable media attention in the West Midlands with a reward offered for information leading to the conviction of any of those responsible.  The RSPB has been working with the West Midlands and Staffordshire Police to try to prosecute those responsible.  Myself and my colleagues recently helped the police raid a number of addresses to look for evidence.  These enquiries are still continuing and we can only hope that during the next breeding season there will be no more of these tragic events. 

Birds of prey continue to need protection and support and I would ask people to sign the RSPB pledge at http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdsofprey