Raptor persecution in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park is well documented, the links below give some background to historical and current persecution in the area and some background to this blog.
Peak Malpractice 2006 – RSPB, Peak Malpractice update 2007 – RSPB, The Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative 2018 – Peak District National Park Authority, National Trust, Moorland Association, Natural England and both the local Raptor Groups (The RSPB left the Initiative in early 2018 due to a lack of progress and ongoing raptor persecution incidents). Raptor Persecution in the Peak District National Park – Melling et al 2018, this document highlights the fortunes of breeding peregrine and goshawk in the Peak District National Park and the association of raptor persecution with driven grouse shooting.
The subject of this blog is a peregrine falcon breeding attempt in the Glossop area of the Peak District National Park.
The breeding attempt failed suddenly in circumstances that we consider suspicious.
On the 26th of March 2019, two raptor workers checking historic peregrine breeding sites witnessed a food pass between an adult male and female peregrine falcon close to a remote crag on a grouse moor.
The male was behaving territorially towards a kestrel which strayed too close to the potential nesting crag. We consider such behaviour in a suitable nesting area during the breeding season as indicative of a breeding attempt.
In case the pair had not yet commenced breeding we opted not to check the crag, instead observing from a suitable distance and planning a return visit in a week or two.
On the 8th of April 2019, we returned to the crag and were surprised to find that no birds were present in the area, on investigation of the crag we discovered 3 cold peregrine falcon eggs.
The question is what happened to this pair of peregrine falcons? Why were they no longer present? Peregrine falcons do not just give up on a breeding attempt after investing their energy in producing and laying eggs unless something has befallen one or both breeding birds. Another statistic in a long line of incidents that have befallen breeding birds of prey in the Dark Peak Area and another example of the reduced probability of peregrine falcon nesting successfully in the Dark Peak region.
This incident has been reported to Derbyshire Police and the RSPB and is now under investigation. Finding evidence or witnesses in cases such as these is uncommon so if you see or hear anything relating to such incidents, please contact Derbyshire Police on 101.