Drama as peregrine chicks take to the skies above Sutton

Sutton Guardian: The chick having survived its maiden flight (pic: Phil Wallace) The chick having survived its maiden flight (pic: Phil Wallace)

Four rare peregrine falcon chicks raised by a pair of the birds nesting on the top of a Sutton office block have taken to the skies.

But the young chicks' first flights have not been without drama with one of the babies surving a scare.

Peregrine pair Perry and Gwynn have nested on top of Quadrant House near Sutton train station for several years and have reared a number of chicks - despite the attentions of a predatory kite, a rare bird in Sutton.

Last year the pair failed to nest but this year they have managed to raise four healthy chicks.

The young birds of prey have been due to fledge - when their wings and feathers become strong enough for them to take their first flights - over the last week and a team of volunteers have been on hand to watch them and make sure they do not end up coming to harm.

Sutton Guardian:

The chick fell several storeys before clinging to the building for safety (Pic: Phil Wallace)

Although the first three chicks managed their first flights without too much difficulty, the final youngster had a more torrid time when it leapt from the 20-storey building on June 8.

Volunteer and photographer Phil Wallace said: "He threw himself off in a show of bravado, completed a short circuit, lost height, tried again, lost more height and ended up clinging to the face of the block, fighting with the wires intended to stop birds perching."

The bird remained there for the night before starting to climb back up to the top floor the following day. Mr Wallace added: "He flew several times to different faces of the building, eventually ending up a few floors below where he had started."

Sutton Guardian:

The young chick clings to to the wall during its first flight (Pic: Phil Wallace)

The bird eventually made it back up to the safety of the roof after fighting off an unwelcome approach from a magpie.

The peregrines have been monitored by a team of volunteers including several who have braved the elements to stand out in the Sutton train station car park and via a webcam mounted on the roof of Quadrant House.

Coordinator Sue Chester added: "The webcam is being constantly monitored, to give feedback on the juveniles' positions and numbers to those volunteers on site. This ensures we still have them all safe.

"A big mention should be made to the dedicated volunteers, some of whom have been on site from 7am untill 8pm every day."

To stay up to date with the peregrines' progress, visit www.facebook.com/suttonperegrines.


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Comments (1)

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1:56pm Wed 11 Jun 14

Noddyblanket says...

Greàt news, hope they have long and successful lives. Thanks to all the people that take the time to watch and guard them also.
Greàt news, hope they have long and successful lives. Thanks to all the people that take the time to watch and guard them also. Noddyblanket
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