Peregrine falcon chicks fledge on Peak District grouse moors

Peregrine falcons have thrived on grouse moors during lockdown with four fledglings from two nests in the Peak District.

Peregrine falcon chick.
Peregrine falcon chick.

The chicks have fledged on the Dark Peak moorland and are fitted with leg rings and colourful plastic rings so they can be identified from a distance.Richard Bailey of the Peak District Moorland Group, said: “For most of us, lockdown has been a difficult period. However, for the wildlife on the Peak District, it has meant a huge, and largely welcome, reduction in disturbances. These successful nests are a reminder of the positive outcome for our wildlife on moorland.”

Peregrine falcons are enjoying a turnaround in their success since a ban on organochlorines that caused breeding failure. It is estimated that there are more than 1700 breeding pairs in the British Isles, up from 360 pairs in the 1960s. They have a distinctive hunting style, spotting their prey from high above and dropping into steep drives at speeds which reach more than 200mph.

Amanda Anderson, director of the Moorland Association, said: “It is fantastic new that peregrines have had ‘lockdown luck’ on moors managed for grouse shooting and is a testament to the daily conservation efforts of the gamekeepers. Successful nests in places that have not been occupied for many years have thrilled watchful keepers and we hope that now the chicks are on the wing, returning visitors will be able to enjoy seeing them. Watching a ‘stoop’ as they hunt their prey is exhilarating but understanding that the prey is also there because of active conservation on the back of grouse management completes the experience.”