Leeds peregrines - everything you should know

The first falcon has flown the nest atop the University of Leeds tower this morning.

Friday, 7th June 2019, 1:38 pm
The falcons on the University Tower.

Here is everything you need to know about the rare birds:

WHAT FEATURES DOES THE FALCON HAVE?

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The peregrine is a large falcon with long, broad, pointed wings and a relatively short tail.

It is swift and agile in flight, chasing prey.

HOW MANY ARE IN THE UK?

There are around 1500 breeding pairs in the UK.

WHERE CAN THEY BE FOUND?

Peregrines can often be found above rocky sea cliffs and upland areas throughout the UK in the breeding season.

WHAT DO THE BIRDS EAT?

The peregrine feeds primarily on birds, which it catches in flight.

It spots the prey at distance and stoops at speeds of up to 180 kph for the catch.

To enable the bird to breathe at this speed, it has special baffles in its nostrils, which control breathing.

Feral pigeons are one of the main sources of food for the bird.

There are records of amphibians, lizards and large insects being eaten by the falcons.

ARE THE BIRDS RARE?

Peregrine numbers declined during the 19th and 20th centuries because of illegal killing by humans.

Their numbers have started to rise in recent years although still fall below the original figures.

By 1963-64, 80% of the UK peregrine population had been lost, with only birds in the remote parts of the Scottish Highlands unaffected.

WHERE CAN THEY BE FIND IN YORKSHIRE?

Peregrines can be spotted at Wakefield Cathedral, York Minster and Malham Cove in Yorkshire.