Peregrine Falcons

Apologies – please bear with us as we test the new HD camera with its wider view including the trefoil opening. We have a couple of technical issues – it is not a problem with your device. Please try again in a few days.

Welcome! Here you can learn about our Peregrine Falcons at St Michael’s, and see the nest box webcam live during the breeding season from mid-February to end of July each year. This year we will be trialling a new HD camera with a wider view.

[When available, 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 to more information and some video recordings. For News about the Peregrines, see the occasional Blog posts.  There are 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 live streaming and internet connection are about £2 per day, £360 over the season.

Any donations will be gratefully received and help ensure live streaming continues for future breeding seasons, providing invaluable information for conservation research to help protect these magnificent birds – thank you.

Peregrine Project

Live Webcam
Find out more about our Sponsor Devon Birds

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.   Browse our gallery for superb professional quality wildlife photography of these striking and beautiful birds, taken on site at St Michael’s, by members of the Exeter Peregrine Falcon Group.

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.

The Peregrine Project at St Michael’s broadcasts live camera footage from right inside the Peregrines’ nest box and shares this with the public at large. The Project is led by Nick Dixon working with Jason Fathers of Wildlife Windows. Read more about them on our Research Team page.

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.

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.

2016′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 juveniles fledged, one on Mon 13 June, and the other on Wed 15 June. They seemed to be strong and were doing well until sadly, on Thu 28 July 2016, one juvenile was found dead in Paul Street, Exeter, apparently after a flying accident. The other male juvenile honed his skills around the Church with the adults, and he dispersed naturally to find new territory in late Autumn.

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.

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.

Videos

FAQ

  • How many young do they have?
  • About how long are the young in the nest before they fly?
  • Why are they called “peregrine” falcons?
  • Do you think they like hearing the choir rehearse? Do they like incense?
Find out the answers