In the summer of 2020, a pair of Peregrines took up residence at Ealing Hospital. The hospital staff were delighted when they realised that they kept the pigeon population down. We reached out to them and they agreed to let us install a nestbox on the roof. We named them Dusty and Freddie (after Dusty Springfield and Freddie Mercury) and kept our eyes and camera on the box. Our first box, while beautiful and well crafted, was too big to set it on the type of ledge the Peregrines prefer and so the first year, there was no nesting (we hope to reuse this box in another setting if we can.) For the 2022 season, Sean threw a box together with some wood scraps and an old pallet and installed it on the northeastern edge of the hospital. And we waited to see what would happen!
Welcome to the Ealing Hospital Peregrines live! We now have a permanent live stream of Dusty and Freddie and their nesting activity, watch as they raise their chicks in real time! To see what they were up to last year, learn about their story and to see their adorable chicks from ringing to fledging, check out our photo story and video. Also, if you would like to bookmark the feed, use this link as it will always redirect to the feed if youtube changes the URL if the stream is interuppted.
There are a few content warnings for this live stream
Peregrines bring back prey for the chicks, tear it apart and feed it to them, and this can be a bit graphic. Sometimes the prey is still alive when they start plucking it. If you think you might find this distressing, maybe don’t watch the feedings. This is natural behaviour for birds of prey but even seasoned naturalists can find it a bit much sometimes. The second thing is we have adopted a non-interference policy. What this means is, aside from ringing the chicks, we are strictly observing only. Nature isn’t always kind and sometimes baby chicks die. If this is really going to upset you then you may want to give this live stream a miss. Obviously we hope that everything goes well but we want everyone to be prepared if it doesn’t and to understand that we will not be interfering to rescue the chicks. We need to let nature do it’s thing to produce the healthiest and most capable birds for the future. (The only exception to this is rescuing the parents and fledglings from man-made dangers like pigeon netting which is not part of a natural setting.)
It took an extra year, a new female peregrine, two different nest boxes but the hospital peregrines bred successfully and had three healthy chicks all of whom fledged successfully! Here is their story in photos. Special thanks to Malcolm Bowey and David Gordon Davy for their excellent photos and dedication to observing the peregrines! Sean also wrote about their journey in a blog post for Animal Journal and we have a new video documenting their journey