© Ed Drewitt

Peregrines

Ed has been studying Peregrines, the fastest raptor in the world, for over sixteen years. 

 

 

 

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What do Peregrines eat?​

Peregrines eat over 100 species of bird in the UK. Many of these migrate under the cover of darkness and are hunted by Peregrines at night.  Peregrines use the light from street lamps to see and catch birds such as Water Rails, Woodcock and Little Grebes as they fly overhead.

My work on prey remains alluded to this behaviour, and it was proven when Peregrines were filmed bringing back live Woodcock, Snipe and Teal to Derby Cathedral in the middle of the night.

This research resulted in some important papers being published by myself and with fellow Peregrine expert, Nick Dixon:

Dixon, N & Drewitt, E. Devon Birds. Vol 65, No1. April 2012.

Drewitt, E and Dixon, N. 2008. Diet and prey selection of urban-dwelling Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus in Southern England. British Birds. 101:58-67.

BBC Wildlife Magazine:



Drewitt, E. 2008. Meet the 24-hour falcon. BBC Wildlife. 26(4):36-41.



I have also worked with Mandy Leivers, Education Officer for the Avon Gorge & Down's Wildlife Project to produce a leaflet about the Avon Gorge Peregrines.

 

Colour-ringing baby Peregrines

​​Since 2007 I have been colour-ringing Peregrine chicks with the help of the British Mountaineering Council and the Hawk and Owl Trust. This is to help discover more about their movements, survival and interactions in the Bristol and Somerset region. 

Over 50 young Peregrines have been colour-ringed. When the chicks are three weeks old they are given both a unique numbered metal ring, issued by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), on their right leg and a light blue plastic ring  with two black letters on their left leg. The colour rings can be read from a distance without the birds having to be recaptured. The handling of the chicks is done under a special Schedule 1 licence as Peregrines are protected birds of prey. 



This film clip shows me and the team colour-ringing Peregrine chicks in the Avon Gorge in 2010 - this was filmed for the BBC's Springwatch series.



My study in Bath was also featured in 2012 on Springwatch - here's a resume of the family of Peregrines living there.



The colour rings are already providing facinating insights into the lives of Peregrines. For example, a male Peregrine chick ringed in Bath is now the breeding male at the same nest site with his mother!​ Other Peregrines ringed in the Bristol region have later been found in the Malvern Hills, the Isle of Wight, Suffolk, the West and East Midlands, Hertfordshire and in the Chew Valley. 

If you spot any ringed or colour-ringed birds, please send details of the bird and its rings to ring.ac.

 

Ed can be contacted at ed@eddrewitt.co.uk.



 

 



 

 

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Since 1998, I have been finding out what urban-dwelling Peregrines like to eat. To do this, myself and others find the feathers, skulls, wings and legs of birds left over from where Peregrines have been feeding. Each year I identify thousands of individual birds which have been eaten from sites including Exeter, Derby, Bristol, Bath and London