Rural Reading: Pylons provide perch for peregrine falconsBy Adrian Lawson
July 27, 2012
Electricity pylons might be essential, but few people like them. I must admit I am not a fan of them and their visual intrusion. They sit in some otherwise lovely places.
Lately though I have been looking for places where I can see as many as possible at any one time, so I can scan them with my telescope.
It isn’t that I bought a new telescope recently, but it is to watch the comings and goings of the local peregrine falcon family.
Attention was first drawn to the distinctive call of one about three weeks ago. I could hear it, but I couldn’t see it. I could tell roughly where it was, but it was very well hidden.
I walked the mile or so home, got my telescope and went back. Not quite back to the pylon, but somewhere where I had a good view of it.
Once I had searched all the spars and girders I found the bird, a fluffy greyish youngster, sitting in a corner of the pylon.
I scanned the other pylons I could see, and spotted a female – huge, dark slate grey and barred white chest – majestically perched at the very top of a more distant one.
I could see her yellow feet, which she used to scratch and itch behind her ear. This was such a stunning view I settled down to watch for a while.
I found the male, a smaller but equally smart-looking bird and, after some time, another young bird. They weren’t very active though, they just sat there preening and sleeping.
The next day I went back, in fact I have been to see them most days since.
Occasionally there are moments of great spectacle. The female flew in with a gull for one of the youngsters and, after much noisy squabbling, she left and the younger bird went about plucking and devouring it. The other youngster went and sat close by, watching in envy and mewing repeatedly. I watched till it got dark, and the second bird had to go hungry.
I don’t think they hunt in the dark, although I have read that sometimes they do.
The whole family seemed to simply fall asleep!