This is the story of the first peregrine falcons to breed in Lambeth at the Keybridge House British Telecom building on South Lambeth Road of which demolition started this year (2015) and is to be replaced by a residential tower block, though this year demolition had to be delayed to make way for the breeding falcons.
I first saw a peregrine falcon flying down South Lambeth Road in summer 2007. But it was only in January 2009 (10 years after peregrines first bred in central London at Battersea Power Station) that I noticed a pair of the birds sitting on the corner of the building as I live nearby, on a regular basis and realised that signified they were probably going to breed. I think this was the first year because I would have noticed them before with their impending black shapes distinctively perched on the corner.
By March I contacted Dave Morrison of London Peregrine Partnership and we went up and confirmed the birds had laid eggs but they failed. I also showed the site to Lyndon Parker of RSPB.
The birds used the site for total of 7 years and below are listed main details of each year.
2009; had 4 eggs but failed due to rough surface of chosen nest site. Then London Peregrine Partnership installed a Nest box and RSPB installed a web cam for the 2010 season.
2010; had 4 eggs and fledged 4; (3 females 1 male). Web cam online.
2011; had 4 eggs but 1 failed, only fledged 3 (2 females 1 male). Web cam turned off after the season.
2012; again 4 eggs; but 1 failed and fledged 3.
2013; failed for some reason?
2014; again 4 eggs; 1 failed and fledged 3 (all young females).
2015; fledged 3; (2 females and 1 male).
So with the demolition of this building which is ideal for peregrines due to its many ledges and columns (as opposed to the modern trend of flat glass exteriors with few if any ledges) the Lambeth peregrines may nest on the House of Parliament which has a nest box. The replacement building will be finished in 2 – 3 years and will have a nest box installed whether it is used is another question but at least it will be there. It’s a pity this building is going as it’s been ideal for the birds, but considered by many in the area; an eyesore!
Michael Mac 14th October 2015