York Minster Peregrines 2016

A feral pigeon with the Female Peregrine perched behind. 28th January 2016.

York Minster staff installed a nest tray on the North face ‘balcony’ on the Northwest bell tower (the site of 2015’s failed nesting attempt) on 30th March. A later follow-up visit added pea gravel.

The nest tray newly installed on the north face balcony of the NW bell tower. March 2016.

The Peregrine pair were seen mating on 5th, 8th and 10th of April.

Peregrines copulating on 10th April 2016

On 9th around 18:45, both birds went into the balcony where the nest tray is. Male was in for 3 minutes, & female in for 9 minutes.

The female was also seen going on to the balcony on the 16th.

On 19th April the male peregrine brought in a golden plover and passed it to his mate who was sitting on a grotesque on the NW tower. She then flew off over Dean’s Park and disappeared.

During early afternoon of 21st a different female, with an orange darvic ring was seen perched on the balcony parapet, while the male was sitting in the nest tray.

A visiting female peregrine on the parapet, with the male in the nest tray. 21st April.

On the evening of April 21, with the male sitting in the tray, yet another Female peregrine was seen perched on a grotesque on the buttress to the right of the balcony. This female had no rings and was noticeably browner than the previous resident.

This female became the new resident for the next few months, but by May it was obvious that with no further activity on the balcony there would be no eggs laid this year.

On September 7th at 17:21 a female peregrine with a whiter chest landed on a grotesque on the NW tower. Around 15 minutes later the resident ‘browner’ female showed up and soon the two females were engaged in a violent aerial battle over Dean’s Park. At one point, one of the peregrines was knocked out of the air, hit the North transept roof and slid down into the guttering. After a minute or so she revived herself and went after her opponent. Soon the two females rolling around screeching out-of-sight at the very top of the Northwest bell tower. This continued for over an hour, but by 18:55 there was only the occasional screech, and it sounded like only one bird was making the noise.

The victorious ‘white chested’ female emerged from the top of the bell tower and flew to a grotesque on the Central Tower. However the drama wasn’t over, for the resident male peregrine started to dive-bomb her, so she flew back to the North west tower’s north face to take refuge. By 19:20 things had calmed down and the male was watching quietly from the Central Tower.

The following evening, the ‘white chested’ female was on the North face of Northwest tower and the male peregrine again appeared to make attacking swoops towards her.

The ‘white chested’ female on 7th September 2016

This female was seen on the 8th, but not again until the 18th of September.

It is assumed this bird became the new resident female over the winter months into 2017, although on the Morning of October 23rd there were 2 females perched on the Minster, one on East face of the South West Tower and another on the East Face of the Central Tower.

The Male Peregrine on the North Face of the NW Tower, on November 4th, 2016

The remains of some unusual prey items were found in the late part of 2016, including feathers from Corncrake (in September), Water Rail, Little Grebe, Knot, Reed Bunting and Brambling in October, and a Grey Plover carcass, including head, also in October.

Twitter: YorkPergrines Tweets of 2016

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