Suffolk

Peregrine falcon chick in rehab after Ipswich fall

The injured peregrine falcon fledged from the nest at the top of The Mill in Ipswich, but was found injured in a nearby churchyard Image copyright BBC/Mick Wright
Image caption The injured peregrine falcon fledged from the nest at the top of The Mill in Ipswich, but was found injured in a nearby churchyard

A peregrine falcon chick could be in rehab for "up to a year" after it crash-landed having fledged from its nest at the top of the 23-storey block of flats.

The chick was one of five fitted with identification rings in May, having hatched in a man-made nestbox built into The Mill on Ipswich's waterfront.

The bird was found "almost emaciated" with an injured chest in a churchyard.

The other chicks and their parents are flying and feeding around the docks.

Image caption The five peregrine chicks in their nestbox in May, before their feathers had grown
Image copyright Ipswich Haven Marina
Image caption A webcam image from the nestbox, which the chicks continued to use after their maiden flights in mid-June

The chicks all fledged about two weeks ago from The Mill, which is 233ft (71m) high and has a nesting box fitted into the parapet on the flat roof.

'Long rehabilitation'

The injured chick was found in the neighbouring St Peter's churchyard on 17 June.

Steve Piotrowski, from the Suffolk Ornithologists Group, said: "The bird had a bruised sternum and was very weak and almost emaciated from a lack of food - it's not strong enough to be returned to its family, who might even kill it.

"It can feed itself, but the question of whether it can successfully be taught to hunt could take up to a year to be answered - it can be a very long rehabilitation."

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Media captionThe peregrine falcon chicks being ringed on the roof of The Mill

Mr Piotrowski said a pair of peregrines had bred three chicks at a nest on the Orwell Bridge in Ipswich, but all three had been killed after flying into traffic.

A pair of adult birds were at the derelict sugar beet factory in Ipswich, while another pair laid eggs at Felixstowe docks, but these did not hatch.

A pair of juveniles have since arrived at Felixstowe, but Mr Piotrowski said it was a mystery where they had come from.

Peregrine falcons

180mph (290km/h)

the top diving speed of a peregrine falcon

  • 1,400 the number of breeding pairs in the UK, according to the latest figures

  • 365 the number of breeding pairs in the UK back in 1961

  • 3-4 the number of eggs a hen would usually lay in a year

Andy Thompson

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