Sheffield’s popular peregrine falcons back getting web users in a flap

Peregrine falcon in Sheffield city centre. Picture from reader Michael Hardy
Peregrine falcon in Sheffield city centre. Picture from reader Michael Hardy
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A second webcam has started broadcasting footage of a popular pair of peregrine falcons who have become an internet smash hit.

There have been more than one million people viewing the birds online since a webcam of their nest at a Sheffield church was started in 2012.

Now a second webcam offering a more panoramic view of their nest platform on Sheffield University’s St George’s Church has been set up.

Professor David Wood, from Sheffield University’s department of hispanic studies and chairman of the Sheffield Bird Study Group, helped set up both the nest and the webcam after becoming aware the birds were in Sheffield.

The same pair of birds have raised nine chicks in the last three years and as breeding season gets under way again, hopes are high they will have similar success this year.

Prof Wood said: “We introduced the second webcam over the winter. It is set a few metres back to give a bit more of a panoramic view of things. It went live a couple of weeks ago and the feedback has been good.”

He said he was delighted by the success of the project, after first coming up with the idea of setting up a nest for observation in 2008.

“One of my proudest achievements is getting this going,” he said.

“It has been very successful. I thought it would be popular but it has been extremely popular. A lot of people are really interested in it.”

The birds typically live for between 10 and 15 years, with their chicks normally settling around 30 to 50 miles away after leaving the nest.

Prof Wood said it has become more common in recent years for peregrine falcons to live in cities, nesting on tall buildings similar to the cliff tops they use in the wild.

“It is now much easier to see a peregrine in Sheffield than in the Peak District,” he said.

To view the webcam, visit http://peregrine.group.shef.ac.uk/peregrines. Read the blog at https://sheffieldperegrines.wordpress.com.