New pair of peregrines lay eggs in council nestbox

WOKING’S peregrine falcons have laid three eggs with more expected over the next couple of weeks.

The pair have replaced the two birds who had been at the top of Export House in the town centre for several years and led the council to install a nest box.

The female with the three eggs

The female was found dead on the second floor of the Peacocks car park in July last year and an investigation is taking place to find out the cause of death. The male peregrine left the area, and a new pair has taken up residence.

Craig Denford, from the Woking Peregrine Project, said the birds had been seen mating but no eggs had been laid and there were concerns that this would not happen.

Then the first egg was laid on Saturday, the second early on Monday morning and the third had arrived by Wednesday.

“There will probably be at least one more egg and then we are looking at hatching in about six weeks,” Craig said.

The male standing guard outside the nest box

He said that four eggs is the usual number in a clutch, but the previous Woking peregrines laid five and there were reports of six eggs at the nest box at Kingston College, south London.

Peregrines have been regularly seen in Woking since 2001. In recent years, the first pair of the birds started nesting at Export House and the nest box, fitted with an internal web camera, was installed in January 2016.

Only 50 years ago, peregrines came close to extinction in the British Isles. They are now given the highest possible legal protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Craig said peregrines are attracted to a good supply of food and a vantage point from which to spot their prey.

“Woking is great because there are so many pigeons and Export House is ideal of them, being 15 storeys high,” he said.

Craig added that Shahid Azeem, who is managing director of Arcom IT and the current High Sheriff of Surrey, pays for the live streaming every year.

“The project wouldn’t be possible without him,” he said.

* YOU can watch the nest box cams at www.wokingperegrines.com or follow @wokingperegrine on Twitter.

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