The first egg laid by a pair of Peregrine falcons nesting on the roof of a Fulham hospital, just a short flight from their daytime haunt at WWT London Wetland Centre, has been captured for the first time in high definition ready to be streamed live into a public arena.
Award winning naturalist and broadcaster, Simon King OBE, set up the cameras on the roof of Charing Cross Hospital as part of the inaugural London Wild Bird Watch, which will be hosted by WWT London Wetland Centre in April.
Unique footage of these peregrine falcons and live images from their nest will be beamed onto a big screen at London Wild Bird Watch at WWT London Wetland Centre from the 20th – 22nd April.
During his ‘Nature on your doorstep’ show, King will showcase the ‘soap opera-style’ goings on of the peregrine pair and their brood on stage as part of a show which will focus on just how much wildlife lives right on our doorsteps, even in the heart of the city.
“These are high octane, top gun hunters” says King, well known face of TV series Springwatch and Big Cat Diary.
“They can reach speeds in excess of 150 mph chasing their prey of other birds through the heavens, and here in London, between the rooftops. Surprising as it may seem, they are thriving in many of our cities, but whilst these birds are natural born killers, their sensitive side will be revealed by our cameras.”
Peregrine Falcon © Jeremy McClements, from the surfbirds galleries.
And whilst the falcons might be charismatic stars, they have an illustrious supporting cast, from gaudy ring necked parakeets, that flock in their thousands in the city, to cheeky jackdaws and diminutive great tits.
King enthuses, “Every one of the stories from the wild side of town offers a natural soap opera which is every bit as compelling as any that includes humans. We already have a fascinating archive of material from many of our wild stars, most if which will be seen for the first time at the show”.
“Everyone at Charing Cross Hospital has been extraordinarily helpful” added King. “The falcons first nested successfully on an inaccessible ledge of the building in 2011, and everyone from Imperial College Healthcare (and NHS Trust) has bent over backwards to ensure they do well.
“I’ve been told that many patients recovering from illness and serious injury, have specifically asked if they can have a bed which has a view of the nest ledge, and their recovery has been aided by the compelling distraction of the falcons’ family life. There’s little doubt that the natural world is good for you! Now, everyone will be able to get a ringside seat of their family life by tuning in to our live cameras on the internet!”
The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), with whom King has been working closely, are hosting the live event in April at their London Wetland Centre and have been instrumental in helping to develop the show.
Martin Senior, General Manager at the centre said ”The peregrines are a favourite with our visitors and can frequently be seen hunting over the wetlands or resting on the shingle islands in front of our Observatory.
“It’s great that the Nature on Your Doorstep theatre will visitors such a close up view of these spectacular birds and the chance to learn more about their unique behaviour. We’re delighted to be hosting the first London Wild Bird Watch as it fits so well with our aim of showing Londoners just how much wildlife there is on their doorstep.”
In addition to the live theatre, London Wild Bird Watch will host a plethora of other wildlife attractions, from photography master-classes and wildlife sound installations, to expert guides and a natural history book fair.
TV favourite Kate Humble will be presenting a talk on the Saturday that celebrates the astonishing conservation work of WWT. And on top of all this, visitors will have the chance to get their hands on all the top wildlife watching kit on the market, in a purpose built event complex that will house the best of binoculars, clothing, cameras and much more.
The live peregrine cams can be viewed on King’s new website, the Wildlife Whisperer. To view this, and all the other live cams that will be screened at the London Wild Bird Watch, visit wildlifewhisperer.tv and for tickets to the event and to Simon King’s Nature On Your Doorstep show, go to londonwildbirdwatch.co.uk.