From the vaults: The peregrine’s nest (03/08/2011)

I’m always a little wary of saying or writing anything which might be of assistance to nest raiders, so I’ll be vague about the location. 

From just below the top of a relatively well-walked hill, situated at the end of an extremely well-walked range, we heard, from the far (and much steeper) side of the valley, the unmistakable call of a peregrine. As luck would have it we then caught sight of one of the birds returning to the nest.

Under normal circumstances it would be the sight of the falcon which would hold my undivided attention, but on this occasion I was at least as taken with the siting of the nest, which was a masterclass in strategic positioning. Whether it was by instinct, experience, some strand of genetic code, or just sheer dumb luck, the birds had chosen probably the optimum spot on the entire range of hills: neither visible, or accessible, from above; protected in all directions by a mix of overgrown vegetation and near-vertical rockface; and with a commanding view of the outer fringes of a small town, complete with its flourishing pigeon population. Somehow I doubt if sheer dumb luck played any part in it.

I’ve no idea quite why these things resonate with me to such an extent, but my best guess is that it’s the ability of wild creatures to function in environments where critical decisions have to based on some fusion of evolution and instinct, and how that contrasts with our own burgeoning dependance on support systems and technology. No opportunity for the peregrine to open a reference book and consult the section on ‘Choosing your ledge’; no possibility of googling up a list of handy hints on the selection of suitable nesting sites. Just the hard-wired lore of peregrines past and its own innate resourcefulness. In more ways than one, we don’t know the half of it.
peregrine-falcon_1374425c

Picture: Telegraph.co.uk

 

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