Squawkers’ rights: Peregrine Falcons move into the UL

Bryn Porter 15 April 2014

The Cambridge University Library has recently become home to a pair of peregrine falcons.

The birds appear to be nesting at the top of the library tower and have been witnessed mating – suggesting that they might be considering the library as a permanent residence. As peregrines mate for life and return to their nesting spots on a yearly basis, if they choose to settle they are likely to become regular guests.

According to Birds of Britain magazine, peregrines are still “rarely recorded” in East Anglia.

Conservation efforts have allowed peregrine falcon populations to increase to a stable level, since the widespread use of DDT pesticides caused a rapid reduction in their numbers during the fifties, sixties and seventies. They were removed from the US Endangered Species list in 1999.

Isabella Yamamoto, a student at Homerton College, gives a positive review of this new development. “It’s something that makes Cambridge library unique and separate from other libraries… [it] makes us seem much more like Hogwarts!”

There are questions as to whether the falcons will alter the local species demographic.  A peregrine falcon’s diet consists mostly of smaller birds, which in an urban area like Cambridge means piegons, starlings and possible ducks.

Among Cambridge students though, there is little worry. Suggestions come from Jasmine Walter, who advocates the “keep calm and carrion” approach, and Emily Ranken, who encourages us to “pere-grine and bear it”.