High Perch: Peregrines Nesting In The City

Mar 8, 2013

The peregrine falcon: Fierce, fast, high cliff dweller, symbol of the wild. All true, but increasingly peregrines can be found inhabiting urban canyons of concrete and steel.

Manchester, NH, was the first of three urban peregrine territories in the state, and remains the best known. For several decades now, mostly unobserved by humans below, Manchester peregrines have been plummeting headfirst as aerodynamic speed machines, wings in a tight tuck, aimed at pigeons for the most part. Peregrines' preference for nesting on steep cliffs and swooping from high altitudes to hunt their prey are among the reasons why they have found homes on the high ledges of city buildings.

Fifty years ago, peregrine populations were devastated by DDT and other pesticides, and these birds all but disappeared from the East. After an unprecedented thirty-year (and ongoing) restoration effort, the peregrines are back with 20 known--and well-monitored--territories in the state.

One of these monitored locations is at 1750 Elm Street in Manchester. Since the beginning of March, a web cam has been broadcasting action at the nest.

Manchester's one-and-only reality TV show: Live cam of nesting peregrine pair.

Pre-recorded video from the Manchester peregrine nest box:

Here's Chris banding a fledgling peregrine in 2008: