Welcome! Here you can learn about our Peregrine Falcons Project at St Michael’s, and see the nest box webcam live during the breeding season from March to end of June each year. This year’s chicks have hatched, so it’s a good time to watch.
Scroll down and click the “Play” triangle; depending on browser, you may need to “Allow Adobe Flash” before it will display; clicking in the picture will “Pause” the image, click again to resume live feed.
There are links below the webcam image to more information and some video recordings. For news updates, see the Blog posts. There are also some excellent photos on the Exeter Peregrine Group’s Flickr Gallery.
You may click here to make an on-line donation of your choice via BT mydonate – our costs for 4 months’ live streaming and internet connection are about £600. All donations, however small, will be gratefully received and help ensure live streaming for future breeding seasons, providing invaluable information for conservation research to help protect these magnificent birds – thank you.
Last year’s 4 eggs were incubated for 5 weeks, 2 hatched, and after 6 weeks of feeding, growing, exploring the nest box, developing feathers, preening, and flexing their wings, the male juvenile fledged on Thu 11 Jun, and the young female on Tue 16 Jun. They seemed to be strong and have now dispersed to find new territory.
In November 2015 we had confirmation that one of our 2013 fledglings, found dead at the base of a mill chimney in Halifax, contained lead shot indicating that she had been illegally attacked somewhere between Exeter and Halifax before trying to establish a new natural urban nest site in West Yorkshire.
St Michael’s Peregrines are probably the most productive and thoroughly researched family of nesting falcons in Devon. Read more about Peregrines in the U.K.
Reaching recorded speeds in flight of up to 150 mph in their hunting ‘stoop’ and with eyesight 8 times that of humans, these astonishing, acrobatic falcons have an enormous following worldwide. Here at St Michael’s, their appeal is no exception. Read more about Peregrines in Exeter, and Nick Dixon’s research in the History of Our Peregrines page.
Find out more about Peregrine breeding patterns at St Michael’s.
Egg-laying usually takes place here in the week or so after the Spring Equinox, 20-29 March, a little later than some other sites. Three or four eggs are typically laid at intervals of about 56 hours. Incubation proper does not usually start until the 3rd egg has been laid. It takes about 30-34 days before hatching, which usually occurs over just 1-2 days. Early in June, at 6 weeks old, the young are nearly as large as the adults and fledge the nest box to take their first flights. The Peregrine family continues to roost in or near the nest box for several weeks as the juveniles learn to hunt for themselves.
In 2014 the young male was injured shortly after fledging, taken into care by the RSPCA, and re-homed, but failed to thrive and has died. Late in August, the female young HB was found injured and malnourished some 10 km west of Exeter. Although taken to the RSPCA by Nick, she had to be put down; perhaps she had been seeking independence too early or got disorientated. At least we have evidence of the hard time juveniles have in their first year, where the survival rate is thought to be as low as 30%.
Raptor expert, NIck Dixon, and Exeter’s resident Peregrine Falcons here at St Michael’s Church featured on The One Show, BBC ONE, on Tue 14 October 2014. The presenter concentrated on peregrine on buzzard attacks when the adults were protecting their territory during fledging of the juveniles back in June. It was well worth a watch if interested in birds of prey and the St Michael’s Peregrines in particular, and had some beautiful and amazing footage of our birds.
The Peregrine Project at St Michael’s is dedicated to broadcasting live camera footage from right inside the Peregrines’ nest box and sharing this with the public at large. The Project is led by Nick Dixon working with Jason Fathers of Wildlife Windows. Read more about them and others on our Research Team page.
Peregrine falcons are among the most magnificent and revered birds anywhere on earth. Their beauty, grace and terrifying predatory behaviour has made them the stuff of myth and legend; the consort of Princes and Kings. As high-status falconry birds in the Middle Ages, it was appropriate that in 2015 our Peregrines laid 3 eggs during the Richard III week, with a 4th egg laid on Mon 30th March; only 2 hatched in April, but they seemed healthy and strong.
Back in January 2014, we were relieved that the adults and their nest box survived the storms and a lightning strike on the spire which damaged the original web camera and the church’s electrics and heating system! Winters 2015 and 2016 were kinder.
Devon Birds generously sponsored the Peregrine streaming in 2014/5, and are a county bird society with a long and distinguished history dating back to 1928. You can find out more about Devon Birds here.