Suffolk

Camera set up to monitor newly-bonded falcon parents

The bonded pair Image copyright BT Adastral Park
Image caption The pair of adult peregrines have produced three eggs since the nest box was installed in February

A peregrine falcon has laid eggs in a new nest box on a water tower while maintenance work was being carried out.

A pair of birds has produced three eggs at the nest at BT's Adastral Park site at Martlesham, Suffolk.

The male wintered at the park and he was joined by a female in January. Experts set up a the box to tempt the pair to stay and breed and it worked.

BT is delighted and, along with falcon experts, staff are looking forward to seeing chicks hatch in May.

Image copyright Peter Merchant
Image caption The peregrine is the planet's fastest creature - reaching speeds of 180mph (290km/h) when diving in flight
Image copyright BT Adastral Park
Image caption The tower is 155ft (47m) high and the box was installed by BT engineers working with the Hawk and Owl Trust
Image caption Peregrine chicks have been hatched from a nesting site at The Mill in Ipswich in recent years, but their shelf is closed this year due to other work on the tower block

A monitoring camera has been set up by the Hawk and Owl Trust to keep a close watch on progress.

"Based on observations from the last six years it was expected the pair would move on from Adastral around February," said Peter Merchant, peregrine expert at the trust.

"We decided to try and tempt them to stay by providing a nesting site and it worked.

"We must be cautiously optimistic about success, being mindful that peregrine falcons are notoriously unpredictable as parents."

The last egg was laid on 5 April and if the eggs prove to be fertile, they are expected to hatch early in May.

"It's so amazing these eggs were laid just a few yards from where work was going on commissioning the site's air conditioning units on top of the tower," said Mr Merchant.

Image copyright Nigel Freeman/Geograph
Image caption The water tower is next to the main building on the BT site, which is just off the A12 at Martlesham, east of Ipswich

Lisa Perkins, Adastral Park Director, said: "It's fantastic to have these amazing birds living with us.

"We can't wait to see how this new family progresses and I'm so pleased we are able to keep an 'invisible' close eye on them via the camera."

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