University Peregrine Falcons now on live webcam

Yorkshire’s first urban breeding pair of Peregrine Falcons is now available to view on a live webcam via the University of Sheffield’s website.

The pair successfully reared two chicks last year despite harsh weather conditions, after a nest platform was placed atop St George’s Church in early 2010. The birds have since been monitored and protected by University staff and volunteers.

Phil Riley, Energy Manager in the University’s Department of Estates and Facilities Management, worked to get planning permission to install a webcam near the nest.

Phil Riley said: "The webcam will not only act as a security camera to ensure the nest is not tampered with, but will also allow the University to make high quality images of these beautiful wild birds available to the public."

Peregrine Falcons have previously been an endangered species, but their population has steadily increased since the 1970s because of better legal protection and control of pesticides. The birds are usually found around the sea coast but have recently been seen in more built up areas.

David Wood from the University’s Department of Hispanic Studies and Chair of the Sheffield Bird Study Group told us: "Peregrines are one of the most spectacular species in Britain, traditionally associated with remote sea cliffs and inaccessible sites, and to be able to see them in urban Sheffield is an absolute privilege. I know they have brought a great deal of pleasure to local residents around St George’s and beyond, as well as to me personally. We are delighted that the webcam is now up and running, enabling everyone to observe these beautiful birds. Congratulations to everyone involved and here’s hoping for another successful breeding season"

Phil Riley added: "The success of the peregrines has been a University-wide effort. I worked closely with Wood, Jim Lonsdale and other colleagues in the University’s Department of Estates and Facilities Management to ensure a suitable nest box was constructed and appropriately located. We were thrilled with the arrival of chicks last year and we hope that the new webcam will enable everyone to witness their next brood."

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