Monday 11 December 2017

Peregrine falcons at Red Road flats

Peregrine falcons in their unusual nesting site in one of Glasgow's empty Red Road flats (Steven McGrath/James Leonard /RSPB)
Peregrine falcons in their unusual nesting site in one of Glasgow's empty Red Road flats (Steven McGrath/James Leonard /RSPB)

A pair of peregrine falcons have chosen an unusual nesting site, raising a chick in a famous block of high-rise flats.

The birds of prey moved into the 24th floor of one of Glasgow's empty Red Road flats which stands 27 storeys high. They laid two eggs in the spring, one of which failed, but successfully raised a single chick which left the nest on July 12.

The empty building is due to be demolished by Glasgow Housing Association (GHA). The first block was demolished in June this year.

Local resident Steven McGrath first spotted the birds, which are relatively new additions to Scotland's cities, late last year.

"I'd noticed the peregrines were spending a lot of time around the flats," he said. "As the first block was due to be demolished I was concerned the birds might be at risk if they decided to nest within them, so I decided to contact RSPB Scotland and others for advice.

"I've never heard of these birds breeding in Glasgow so I wanted to do everything I could to make sure they were successful."

By law it is illegal to disrupt breeding birds, so to help the nesting pair, GHA and demolition contractor Safedem funded a purpose-built nesting box for the adult peregrines at a nearby block of flats in Red Road. It was built and installed by Central Scotland Raptor Study Group, helped by RSPB Scotland staff, but the birds stuck to their original nesting site.

Mr McGrath and volunteers from the study group then installed a research camera to monitor the site.

Peregrines do not build nests but lay eggs either directly on the surface of the nesting structure or in a shallow, unlined scrape that holds small rocks or dirt. After leaving the site or fledging, a young bird will continue to be fed by its parents for between another four and eight weeks, after which it will normally leave the area.

Toby Wilson, of RSPB Scotland, said: "The Red Road flats housed many new families in their time, so it's fitting to see the first breeding peregrines in Glasgow join that list. It's been a real team effort getting to this stage. Thanks to Steven's dedication and watchful eye, as well as the ongoing co-operation and support of Safedem, Glasgow Housing Association and Central Scotland Raptor Study Group, we've given this chick a good start in life."

Press Association

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in World News