Secrets of a Peregrine’s Lair

In recent years Peregrines have habitually used the 418-foot National Lift Tower (formerly Express Lifts Tower) in Northampton to roost and to hunt from. Some 4-5 years ago a pair – which included an immature female – took up almost permanent residence and it seemed likely they would ultimately breed. However, around two years ago there was considerable prolonged disturbance at the top (the tower is now used for abseiling) and these birds now visit the tower only intermittently and they have been seen there far less frequently in the recent past. 

Earlier this month, John Boland visited the tower and found evidence of its recent use by Peregrines, as his photos below quite clearly show. All these carcasses are recent as the microwave antenna they use as a feeding platform gets cleaned on a regular basis.

Peregrine prey items (John Boland)

Visibly identifiable remains include a duck and Green Woodpecker but the identification of the remains of the other bird which, John says, is not quite pigeon-sized and is brown with a light-coloured bill, is unresolved. It is assumed that the good collection of small pebbles have come from the birds’ crops.

Peregrine prey ptems (John Boland)

The view from the top of the tower is quite impressive, with the Stortons Gravel Pits complex clearly visible in the foreground.

Stortons Gravel Pits from National Lift Tower (John Boland)

 All photos: John Boland

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