I love the countryside but I live in the city, and wildlife is not as as easy to see as I'd like, with one exception. I'm lucky enough to have breeding Peregrine Falcons only a few minutes walk from my flat. I've followed and filmed them for several years so was excited to see them raise young for the first time this year. 3 birds fledged the nest - two males and a female. The 48 hours from when the first youngster fledged provided some extraordinary opportunities to film the birds. During this period they were always to be found close to the nest site, and happy to sit not just on the highest buildings like their parents always did but quite often a little lower down. Sometimes as low as the 1st floor, and on a couple of occasions on the ground, when I had to put down my phonescope and give them a helping hand.
As is often the case with Peregrines, they are poor fliers when they first take to the air. The female who features at the start and end of the film, ringed as T7B, was grounded twice in 24 hours. With the experts unavailable, I was forced to step in and twice had to get the bird back up on the roof of the University's Parkinson building. Spending the best part of a couple of days keeping an eye on them gave me some amazing chances for filming them. The close up head shot was filmed while I awaited delivery of the rescue box for the second time. Is this cheating I wonder? All the other shots were of the juveniles on various University buildings.
T7B ended up sat on a wall outside a bank as customers walked past and two police constables stood watchfully on guard! The bird was clearly struggling in the hot sun, so it was a relief to be able to get her safely back on the roof and before long she was fed by one of the adults. The next day she was flying well and I was able to get back to work! She's still doing well and there have been a few sightings over the last few weeks.
All the footage was taken in a very urban environment as this is the chosen habitat of these amazing raptors, so I have literally filmed these birds in the wild! Sadly, although urban raptors are reasonably safe, our birds of prey are heavily persecuted in the uplands of the UK. Along with my mate Les, we organised a couple of guided Peregrine walks the week after they fledged, sharing views of the birds and raising £180 for raptor persecution and raptor rehabilitation charities - the latter of which had advised me over the phone before we rescued T7B and got her back on the roof. We'll be back doing more walks for charity next year - fingers crossed our Peregrines have success breeding over the next few years.
Thanks go to my boss for letting me take some last minute leave so I could watch out for the Peregrines as they sometimes struggled to take flight. He said yes, but advised me that next time I would need to come up with a more plausible excuse to book last minute leave!