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Springwatch 2010 in Bristol



Peregrine Falcon chick ringed in the Avon Gorge

Volunteers in Bristol are helping to observe a new family of Peregrine Falcons nesting in the Avon Gorge.

Climbers have been working with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) to place coloured rings on a brood of five chicks to track their life events.

"Projects like this are giving us the chance to find out where they are travelling to in our towns and cities," said bird-ringer Ed Drewitt.

The species has been nesting regularly in the Gorge since the 1990s.

More than 1,400 pairs nest in the UK on cliffs and on buildings in cities such as Bath, Cardiff and Exeter. In the Avon Gorge, 49 young have been raised over the last 20 years.

"If it wasn't for the climbers from the British Mountaineer Council I'd never be able to ring the chicks so effectively due to the difficulties involved in reaching the Peregrine nest," said Ed Drewitt.

Ringing projects like this are giving us the chance to find out what they are doing and where they are travelling to in urban and rural areas
Ed Drewitt

"The reason for using colour rings is so we can see them from a distance rather than have to disturb the birds or recapture them to record the data. All this information then goes to the BTO so we can see how they are surviving in the UK.

"Now the Peregrines are increasing in number, ringing projects like this are giving us the chance to find out what they are doing and where they are travelling to in urban and rural areas."

One of the chicks ringed by Ed and his team in 2007 is now the breeding male on the same site in Bath city centre, while a bird ringed in 2008 has been seen this year with a mate in the Chew Valley - they are yet to breed.

In 1990, two of the nestlings in the Gorge were illegally killed. Since then, the Bristol Ornithology Club has developed the Peregrine Watch programme to protect the nest and show visitors the birds.

Opportunities to join a Peregrine Watch take place on 5/6 June and the 19/20 June.




SEE ALSO
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