I have always had a fascination with peregrines, initially inspired by drawings, paintings and photographs, and of the remote cliffs and crags they traditionally inhabit. I watched peregrines on the sea cliffs of Devon and Cornwall, and through volunteering, got to monitor them in detail through the breeding season. I have been professionally involved in bird of prey research since 1995, when I first started to work for the Hawk and Owl Trust.
In 1997, peregrines successfully nested on a church near me in Exeter. On my first visit there to see them, I collected fallen prey remains from around the tower to determine what they had been feeding on. I am still undertaking weekly prey collections, in what is now the 22nd year of the longest running study into prey selection and diet of urban nesting peregrines in the UK. Through weekly visits, I have now watched 59 juveniles fledge from the church, observed hunting, changes in seasonal behaviour, replacement of resident adults, the fortunes of the young, interaction with other species and met many local people with a similar appreciation of the peregrine.
I was fascinated by the idea of peregrines and urban occupation, and in 1998 started investigating where peregrines were nesting on man-made structures across the UK. With the help of peregrine workers, I learnt of a variety of sites across the country, many of which I was able to visit and see not only the breeding site, but also the surrounding environment. These included a variety of urban buildings but also man-made structures in rural or industrial areas such as pylons, power stations, radio masts and bridges.
I have advised organisations, raptor groups and individuals on many well known peregrine sites across the country, including Derby Cathedral, Salisbury Cathedral, Sheffield University, Leicester Cathedral, York Minster, Greater Manchester, Export House in Woking and at sites in London. During the time of my involvement with peregrines on man-made structures, I have written a variety of publications and articles, many of which are available as downloadable pdf’s on this website, see ‘Publications’. My research into urban peregrines, and those on man-made structures continues, and I would be delighted to hear of any new sites of peregrine occupation.
My Curriculum Vitae
- 1995 HND in Environmental Protection (Conservation Management).
- 1999 Advanced University Diploma in Raptor Biology.
- 1995-1998 Hawk and Owl Trust, Barn Owl Road Mortality Project (Project Officer).
- 1997-1999 Hawk and Owl Trust, Research Investigation into the Impact of Raptor (Peregrine) Predation on Domestic (Racing) pigeons (Researcher/co-author).
- 2000-2004 Hawk and Owl Trust, Research into Peregrine falcons utilising man-made structures as nest sites.
- 2003-2008 Central Science Laboratory (CSL) Bird Management Unit, Evaluation of Bird deterrents at landfill sites (Field Ornithologist, Birdstrike Avoidance Team).
- 2009 Central Science Laboratory (CSL) Wildlife, Ecology and Management Group, Nocturnal Mammal Surveys (Field Assistant).
- 1998 to date Wildlife Conservation Partnership, Peregrine monitoring, research, consultancy and advice
- 2003 to date Tregulland (Land manager on small holiday property estate)
- Voluntary Warden RSPB Golden Eagle project/Haweswater 1995, RSPB Peregrine project/Symonds Yat 1996, RSPB Ramsay Island 1994-2000.
- Tregaron Community Kitewatch, Nest Protection Red Kite/Peregrine/Goshawk 1996-1999.
- BTO Breeding Bird Surveys 2006-2015.
- National Peregrine Survey 2002, 6 sites.
- National Peregrine Survey 2014, 11 sites.