Additions to the Peregrine Prey List

We carried out a check of the tower yesterday, for the final time before the start of the breeding season. We found some of the usual remains, such as little grebe, teal, golden plover and snipe but we also found a couple of unfamiliar items.


One was soon identified as the head of a knot. The peregrines take a lot of wading birds during the winter months but we haven’t identified this species before.

Jack Snipe

A second head was initially thought to be from a redshank because of the presence of some red and orange on the beak but it was later identified, with some assistance, as coming from a jack snipe. A study of urban peregrines by Ed Drewitt contains some interesting information about their diet. The study contains a list of prey items for urban peregrines at three sites in the south west and it shows that peregrines at Exeter and Bath had taken 7 jack snipe between them, by 2007. For comparison, they had taken 111 common snipe.

4 thoughts on “Additions to the Peregrine Prey List

  1. When do the peregrines go to nest. Have only spotted one so far would have thought by now there would be a pair.

    • Nick, there have been two peregrines on the cathedral throughout the winter – the two that bred in 2016 and in 2015. There have been regular postings on Twitter and there is now a Wakefield Peregrines group on Facebook. I have posted pictures of both adults on Facebook this evening. As I write, the female is in the nestbox and could lay the first egg at any time tonight or in the next day or two. Last year’s first egg appeared on the 25th March, so I expect this year’s first egg to arrive at any moment. When in Wakefield look up on the spire and there is a good chance that you will see at least one peregrine. This afternoon, both birds were up there.

  2. What happened to last years chicks they obviously go elsewhere but do you know if they are okay ?

    • One youngster – 4Z, the only female of the four – died soon after fledging following a collision with a building. This is a recognised hazard for urban peregrines. We received news of a second fatality in the autumn. One of the males – 3Z – was found dead on the 22nd September near Ripon, 56 km north of the cathedral. This bird was found beneath some overhead wires and a dead golden plover was found near it. It seems that it had caught the plover and then collided with a wire. We have no news of the other two young, 5Z and 6Z.

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