Boston Stump peregrines 'encouraged to move home'

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Media caption,
A family of peregrine falcons nesting at a Boston church have to move because of repairs

A pair of peregrine falcons are being encouraged to move home while renovation work takes place at an historic Lincolnshire church.

St Botolph's Church in Boston, known as the Stump, has called in a bird expert to try and persuade the endangered animals to nest in another building.

Work is due to start on a £2.7m two-year renovation project to help preserve the 15th Century steeple.

The birds have been nesting in the tower since 2014.

This summer four chicks hatched.

Ornithologist Alan Ball has removed the bird's existing nesting platform from the tower in the hope they will switch to an alternative location in the nearby docks.

"Hopefully, they'll get the message and they'll move to their second favoured site," he said.

"Peregrines have the top legislation that's protecting them for any animal in the UK."

Work to erect scaffolding on the tower is due to begin on Monday, but could be hampered if the birds are allowed to nest.

"Basically, if they start to nest, if they lay a single egg then work will stop immediately. There cannot be any disturbance and the works will stop for a period of up to four months and that would be disastrous.," Mr Ball added.

Image caption,
Work on the 272ft (83m) high Boston Stump tower is part of a £2.7m renovation project

The peregrine falcon is the world's fastest animal and has been recorded reaching speeds of up to 180 mph while diving for prey.

According to the RSPB, its numbers in the UK have declined due to illegal egg collecting and being killed "to prevent predation on game birds and racing pigeons".

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