National Nestbox Week is celebrated from the 14th of February every year, during this week people are encouraged to put nest boxes in their area. Coinciding with this, peregrine falcons have returned to a nest box at Nottingham Trent University.

For more than 20 years, a peregrine falcon family has been returning to nest on a high ledge of Nottingham Trent University’s Newton Building. This year, they have made their return.

So far the urban peregrines have raised 42 chicks on record since NTU, partnered with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, set up falcon cam to livestream their activity.

The birds are protected by The Wildlife and Countryside Act and are a schedule one listed species, making it an offence to intentionally disturb their nests.

The biggest threat to the species is culling. Quarry shooters have been known to kill the falcons who prey on the game birds they hunt. Luckily, the falcons at NTU are not in danger of this.

Dr Esther Kettle, a senior lecturer in ecology and conservation at the university, has been keeping a close eye on the family. She has published research papers on the birds.

“the peregrines at NTU are highly successful.”

dr esther kettle, Senior lecturer in ecology and conservation

She believes the reason the falcons choose to nest at NTU is because the Newton building is a tall structure offering the peregrines a great view of the city.

She said, “In rural areas, peregrines nest on tall cliff faces. Essentially, tall buildings in cities mimic these cliff faces. Our pair choose to nest on this box because it provides them with the gravel in which they can dig their scrapes to prevent their eggs rolling away.”

Source: @NottsFalconcam One of the chicks from last year.

If you are hoping to see any eggs this year, check in on falcon cam around mid-late March. According to Dr Kettle, urban falcons tend to lay their eggs earlier because of the cities warmer climate and abundance of prey, such as pigeons.

Source: @NottsFalconcam. A curious chick born last year.

She said, “Peregrines are wild birds and it is natural for them to have times when they might struggle to reproduce. However, the peregrines at NTU are highly successful.”

So, it is hopeful that tiny squawks will be heard this Spring in the skies above Nottingham.