It has long been known that peregrines hunt at night, but film evidence has been lacking. Now, webcameras installed at the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project have captured them doing it in the dark.
Aided by city lights, at 10.45pm on a freezing winters night, an adult peregrine brings a freshly caught Woodcock back to its feeding place on the tower of Derby Cathedral. We see the bird struggling in the firm grip of the peregrine’s talons. But one swift bite to the neck of its prey swiftly dispatches it. But then the peregrine takes off into the night again, settling first on a projecting lead gutter, then flying off to take yet another prey item. Peregrines are known to cache food items for later consumption, and cold weather may well prompt them to stock up even more. At this time of year we see species like woodcock, golden plover, snipe, redwing and lapwing as favourite prey items, and evidence of prey items help us monitor what species are moving through our towns.
Peregrine Falcons first nested on Derby Cathedral in 2006. Four chicks fledged in mid-June 2009, but one died in a flying accident and another injured its wing and must remain in care. More here from the project.