University of Leeds Peregrines

Peregrines have been nesting intermittently on the Parkinson Tower since 2018. In that time, seven chicks have been successfully hatched and raised.  We typically see most activity around the tray from around February / March onwards.  Eggs are usually laid around the end of March, although can be later – you can see more detail on when eggs have been laid in previous years by using the dropdown menus below the camera feeds.

The Sustainability Service share updates on Peregrine activity on our social feeds so be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, and you can also sign up to our newsletter. For any queries about the cameras, please email sustainability@leeds.ac.uk.

If you want to know more about Peregrines read our blog post written by Paul Wheatley. Paul is a local birder, University of Leeds graduate and volunteer Ranger for the RSPB. Check out his Twitter account: @LeedsBirder.

Please note: only one camera stream can be viewed at a time.

Camera 1:

Camera 2:

Leeds Peregrines History

2021

Due to on the ongoing restrictions again only limited monitoring was possible in the build up to egg laying.

Three eggs were laid on 23rd, 25th and 28th March, with expected hatching 34-35 days after the third egg being laid. All three eggs failed to hatch, possibly due to the cold weather in April and a first time breeding falcon, with Huddersfield (1), Nottingham (1) and Sheffield (2) also saw a lower number of successful hatchings and fledgings.

Both peregrines are still around and it is worth checking any tall buildings for sightings and the ground below for any prey remains.

2020

Peregrine breeding season starts in the New Year with both peregrines re-establishing pair bond and nest site, and increases as the year progresses with egg laying end of March/early April. Due to Covid and lockdown during March only limited monitoring of peregrine behaviour around the Parkinson Tower was possible as the breeding season progressed. No eggs were laid during end March/early April period and it was not until May that a new female (falcon) was seen on the nest tray, identified by rings on legs.

Unfortunately due to damage to the plastic Darvic ring the code was unreadable and her identity was initially unknown. Leedsbirder finally managed to phonescope and read the darvic in 2021 and identify her as 7.H who was ringed at the nest by West Midlands Ringing Group in Stoke 2017.

After fledging and being fed by both the adults for a few months the juveniles then disperse the natal area finding suitable feeding areas before breading at 3-4 years old. Males (tiercels) generally stay local and breed within 25 miles of the natal area, with the falcons moving further afield.

2019

Laying was a bit earlier than 2018, with four eggs being laid in March. All four had successfully hatched by the end of April.

In May, the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust came to ring the chicks.  The rings were black text on an orange background. Detail as follows:

  • TCD – weight 725g
  • TAD – weight 675g
  • TBD – weight 525g
  • T7C – weight 700g

2018

The new tray and camera were successfully installed early in the year. In mid-April, the pair were seen on the tray and were mating.  Not long after, they were seen on the camera making a scrape and in early May we had our first eggs!  Three eggs were laid in total and all hatched in June.

At the end of June, the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust came to campus to ring the chicks. The rings were black text on an orange background.  Detail as follows:

  • TAC, weight 550g
  • T7B , weight 700g
  • TBC, weight 565g

DNA Analysis

Thanks to a member of the public the remains of a juvenile peregrine wing were found on the Parkinson steps in Jul 2019.

Following the failure of breeding in 2020 various moulted feathers were collected and sent with the partial juvenile wing to Sheffield university for DNA analysis by Deborah Dawson from The NERC Environmental Omics Visitor Facility and kindly analysed by Lucy Knowles.

A suitable feather from each sample were (blood spot on calamus) and analysed. The results were that all three sexing markers and 22 out of 23 microsat markers were identified.

Both feathers were sexed as male sharing a lot of alleles. From the results it looks like that sadly one of the young males from 2019 (the two other young being one female and one male) did not survive long after fledging and that from the adult male who was still present in 2020.

Other feathers collected  from 2020 and 2021 will hopefully be analysed hopefully giving insights into the new ringed falcon.

Want to get involved?

Biodiversity is an ongoing process and we are keen for people to get involved in order to share their ideas and help shape how we do biodiversity on campus.

There are lots of ways to become part of the biodiversity community, including:

  • Monitoring and recording our campus wildlife, including birds, mammals, pollinators, and bats
  • Signing up to our annual BIG campus birdwatch
  • Getting involved in the Sustainable Garden activities
  • Helping us to record changes to the campus landscape, using our bespoke recording tool
  • Keeping an eye on our Peregrines via our webcam in the spring.

If you’d like to find out more about any of these activities, get in touch by emailing: biodiversity@leeds.ac.uk.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Our biodiversity work is linked to the following SDGs:

  • Goal 4: Quality education
  • Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  • Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities
  • Goal 13: Climate action
  • Goal 15: Life on land
  • Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals

Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.