Shropshire Peregrine Group

 Est. 1997

Latest News

Group Management Changes

After twenty years running the Shropshire Peregrine Group as Chairman/Co-ordinator, John Turner has very reluctantly decided to hang up his bins and scope at the end of 2016.

In his place we have been very fortunate to find someone very familiar to members, Jim Almond. John wishes Jim every success in his new appointment and hoped members would give him their full support.

John Barnard, the Group's Hon. Treasurer, was also standing down this year, and would be replaced in the post by another Group veteran, Bernard Ford.

Peregrine Watch 2016

The Shropshire Peregrine Group monitored confirmed peregrine nest sites in the County. Of these 3/4 were reported occupied by mid April, most of these proceeded to fledge young. However one site was abandoned at the egg stage due to deliberate human disturbance, while a second site was abandoned at the egg stage due to extreme weather conditions.

There is now a small but established resident breeding population of peregrines in Shropshire which may have peaked due to the shortage of suitable breeding sites. There is a possibility that, in future, peregrines will target tall buildings in some of the county's towns. Attempts to nest have already been made on churches in Ludlow and Shrewsbury and should this prove successful, the breeding population will continue to increase, albeit slowly.

Appeal for Information on Poisoning - £2000 Reward

West Mercia Police are appealing to the public for information after it was confirmed that a peregrine found dead in a quarry at Clee Hill, Shropshire had been poisoned.

There have been previous problems in this area with two peregrines poisoned in 2010 and another in 2011. On the 15th June 2015 a volunteer reported a dead adult male peregrine at the base of the cliff below the breeding site which contained two chicks. The dead bird was recovered by RSPB and passed to Natural England in order that toxicology tests could be arranged. It was later confirmed that the bird was poisoned by diazinon, the same product as in previous incidents.

Peregrines are fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and anyone convicted of killing a peregrine could receive up to six months in prison and/or a fine.

The RSPB and Shropshire Peregrine Group, (SPG), have offered a reward of £1,000 for information leading to the conviction of any person in connection with this incident.

John Turner of the SPG said - This is yet another tragic incident at this site. The female parent also disappeared and we are concerned that she might also have been poisoned. The situation was made even worse in that the chicks in the nest also died with the loss of the parents.

Information can be reported to West Mercia Police on 101 quoting reference 649S of the 15/6/15. Information can also be given anonymously to Crimestoppers UK or 0800 555 111.

 Update 20 Jan: There has been a further press release; The RSPB have doubled the reward for information regarding this incident thanks to a generous donation from a member of the public.  Information to any police officer, Crimestoppers or RSPB.

Ringing Record

The female peregrine which successfully raised 3 chicks at a Shropshire site this year, was observed to be wearing a blue British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) ring on one of its legs, indicating that it had been ringed when young.

A check with the Trust revealed that this peregrine had been ringed in May 2011 at a quarry site near Bristol Airport. This year's breeding success in Shropshire will hopefully be repeated next year.

Wildlife Crime - Information Needed

On Monday 15th June 2015 an adult male peregrine was found dead below the nest site at Titterstone Clee. The body was recovered by RSPB investigators and has been collected by Natural England who will arrange for an autopsy. If as suspected the bird has been poisoned, a joint investigation will take place between RSPB investigations, Police and Natural England. The female is missing and the chicks have also become victims as a result of this attack

A reward of £1000 is being offered to anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this horrific crime. Information may be given in confidence to the POLICE Tel 01707 680551, Shropshire Peregrine Group Tel 01743 821678 or CRIMESTOPPERS Tel 0800 555 111.

Peregrine Survey 2014 Completed

The Group has now completed work on the BTO's National Peregrine Survey - the first since 2002, and results have been submitted to the Trust for analysis and comparison with previous survey breeding data and population numbers.

The survey required careful monitoring of the known peregrine nest sites in the county, of which 73% were occupied. In addition, one new occupied nest was discovered. Nine "random" 5km squares selected by the Trust were also surveyed by the Group for evidence of breeding.

Favourable weather conditions contributed to a good number of fledged young this year.

June 2014 - Peregrine chick treated for Trichomonas Gallinae

Two young peregrines, one male and one female, have been recovered in a distressed state from a scrape in north Shropshire by members of the Group and taken for treatment at the Cuan Wildlife Rescue Centre at Much Wenlock.

On examination both birds were diagnosed with "trichomonias gallinae", an infection affecting the birds' mouths, throat and eyes. According to the vet who examined the birds, the infection had most probably occurred by eating infected pigeon meat. Unfortunately the female chick did not survive.

The male spent over three weeks at the Centre in intensive care and an operation to remove a large growth on his cheek which was obstructing his field of vision. His recovery has been quite remarkable, and his future now lies in the hands of the Group's falconer, who has the difficult task of training the young peregrine to fly and survive in the wild.

Fortunately, the adult peregrines appear not to have been affected by the disease which attacked their young.

See photos before and after treatment






Peregrine Survey 2014

The Shropshire Peregrine Group will be participating in the national survey of breeding Peregrine falcons organised this year by the British Trust for Ornithology, (BTO).

This is the sixth such survey across the U.K., the last one being in 2002. The main aim of the survey is to establish how many breeding territories are occupied in 2014 for comparison with previous surveys. A secondary aim is to assess breeding success across the UK.

During the survey period from late March to mid-June members of the Group will visit all known nest sites in the county which are known to have been occupied on at least one occasion since 2000 Peregrines normally return to the same breeding territory year after year even when breeding has failed the previous year. The first visit will be made between early March and mid-April to record signs of occupation and the number of birds, if any, are present. If no birds are present, a second visit will be made 2-6 weeks later to see if any birds (which may have failed elsewhere, or may simply be late breeders) have taken up residence.

A final visit will be made in June to record breeding success. This is confirmed by the presence of fledged young (or large young in the nest).

In addition to visiting known nest sites, areas of the county known to have potential for peregrines to breed will also be visited. These include areas with peregrine friendly features such as small crags and quarries, tall buildings and pylons that could allow peregrines to nest.

The breeding data received from site wardens will be collated by the Group's nest recorder and submitted to the BTO at the end of the breeding season for inclusion in the national records.

Members of the public can assist in the survey work by reporting any sightings of peregrines during the survey period. Where possible reports should include, location, date and time, along with number of birds seen.

Peregrines are moving increasingly into urban areas and can be observed in a number of county towns frequenting tall buildings to nest or roost. Reports of town centre sightings are especially valuable.

Please report of sightings to the Group co-ordinator, Jim Almond on 01743 821678 or email Reports will be treated in strict confidence.

Peregrine Watch 2013

Members of the Shropshire Peregrine Group monitored the same number of nest sites as last year.

No less than 7 nests failed either at the egg or young stage. These failures were probably attributable to the coldest spring for 50 years. The below normal temperatures and prolonged periods of heavy rain resulted in eggs becoming chilled and infertile and eventually abandoned. Although the prevailing adverse weather could explain eggs being abandoned, the desertion of nests with young chicks, as occurred at three sites, is extremely unusual, and there may have been other contributing factors in these cases. No incidents of nest disturbance or interference with the nesting birds were reported for the second consecutive year.

Only one of the two tree nesting pairs in the county returned this year, and although they were observed regularly hunting and roosting in their usual area, the tree nest, if one was used, was not located.

The highlight of the year was the return of a pair of peregrines to a site last used in 2010. A check with BTO revealed that one of the parent birds, the adult falcon, had been ringed as a chick at Worcester Cathedral in 2009.

May 2012 - Second Pair of Tree Nesting Peregrines in County

The mystery of whether the young from Shropshire's unique pair of tree nesting peregrines which first nested in 2002, might also choose to nest in trees, has possibly been solved by the discovery of a second tree nest in the county.

This second nest, in north Shropshire, is located in a disused crow's nest in a large crab apple tree at the edge of a field of rape and only about 300yds from a minor road.

The nest was discovered in mid-April during a Breeding Bird Survey and was reported to the Peregrine Group who have arranged to warden the site until the young fledge.

To date a total of 9 young have fledged successfully from the first tree nest, however, this is the first confirmed report of a second nest in a similar situation. 

Jan 2012 - The Shrewsbury Peregrines

The pair of peregrines that nested in Shrewsbury town centre last year have not been seen around the town since last October. This is not unusual as most peregrines tend to leave their territory during the winter months. They are expected to return to their usual haunts sometime during February and town centre peregrine watchers will be on the look out for them. Favourite locations are the church spires of St. Mary's and St Alkmunds.

Sightings of the birds are welcome and should be reported to Jim Almond, tel. 01743 821678, e-mail, or Adele Simmonds, 01948 880968.

Nov 2011 - Injured Birds

In the past fortnight no less than 3 adult peregrines have been found with serious injuries in and around the Telford area. The injuries sustained, mainly to the birds' wings, have resulted in their having to be humanely destroyed by the vet. The cause of the injuries is unclear at the moment, but there is every reason to suspect that they were caused deliberately. Police and RSPB/Inv. have been informed.

Any sign of suspicious activity the police should be informed immediately Tel. 0300 333 3000 - Wildlife Crime or 999 if very urgent.

July 2011 - Tree Nesters Successful!

Shropshire's unique tree nesting peregrines have successfully raised two chicks.

This year the first clutch was laid in early April, again in an abandoned carrion's crow's nest in an oak tree on arable farm land. The nest collapsed a few days later and the eggs were destroyed.

Early in May a second clutch was laid again in an oak tree in what was probably an abandoned buzzards' nest. Two eggs hatched early in June and by the second week of July the two chicks were ready to fledge.

This is the first year since 2005 that more than one chick has fledged successfully. In this photo of one of the chicks, the nest in the tree can be seen just off to the left.


May 2011 - Unusual Behaviour Observed

We have heard that at one breeding site the sitting male permitted a juvenile male to changeover on the scrape and incubate the clutch for at least one and half hours. This unusual behaviour met with the apparent approval of the resident pair of peregrines and it is believed that the juvenile was one of four chicks fledged from this site last year.

Although it is fairly common for the young to remain with their parents during the winter months, they are usually driven away by their parents at the start of the new breeding season. In this case the adults appeared to welcome the extra help provided by one of their offspring!

Feb 2011 - Shrewsbury - Nest Box Installed

We have recently installed a peregrine nest box on the tower of St Alkmund's Church, Shrewsbury.

Last year the Peregrine Group received numerous reports of peregrine falcons in the Town Centre, mainly around two churches, St. Mary's and St Alkmund's. It is probable that they nested on the latter church tower where a young peregrine was observed on at least two occasions in the early summer.

The box is modelled on one installed by a local raptor group on Christ Church, Cheltenham in 2010 where a pair of peregrines bred successfully, raising 3 young falcons.

This is a joint project with the Shropshire Wildlife Trust who plan to install a CCTV camera on the box if and when the peregrines nest. Sightings of the birds around the church tower have been reported recently and we are optimistic that the project will be successful.