Falcons raise chick on 24th floor of Red Road flats
A PAIR of peregrine falcons have proved they have a head for heights by raising a chick on the 24th floor of Glasgow’s iconic Red Road flats.
It is believed to be the first time a peregrine falcon chick has been raised in Scotland’s biggest city.
The empty building is due to be demolished by Glasgow Housing Association as part of the ongoing regeneration of the city, and the first block was blown up in June.
But the birds of prey moved in, and have adapted well to their new urban landscape.
Local resident Steven McGrath first spotted the birds last year. He said: “I’d noticed the peregrines were spending a lot of time around the flats. 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 assist the nesting pair, GHA and demolition contractor Safedem funded a new purpose-built nesting box for the adult peregrines at a nearby block of flats at Red Road. The nest was constructed and installed by Central Scotland Raptor Study Group, assisted by RSPB Scotland staff.
Despite their efforts, the adult peregrines decided to stick with their original nesting site, where they went on to lay two eggs.
Great care was taken to safeguard the nest site. Steven, and volunteers of the Central Scotland Raptor Study Group, installed a research camera to monitor the nest.
Despite one egg failing at an early stage, the pair successfully raised a single chick, which left the nest on 12th July.
Toby Wilson, of RSPB Scotland, added: “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 cooperation and support of Safedem, Glasgow Housing Association and Central Scotland Raptor Study Group, we’ve given this chick a good start in life.”
After leaving the nest or fledging, the young bird will continue to be fed by its parents for another 4-8 weeks, after which they will normally leave the area.
• Photos and video by James Leonard and Steven McGrath
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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