Perching on the side of an old-time power station chimney with St Paul’s Cathedral to the north and the Shard, Europe’s tallest house, to the east is not where you might expect to peek the world’s fastest fowl. Yet Tate Modern, and London landmarks including Battersea Power Station and the Houses of Parliament, ought to have residence for several years to peregrine falcons. A surprising light of the wild in the heart of the town, the powerful raptorial bird is also a specialised hunter of feral pigeons, considered such an urban pest that in 2003 a ban was imposed on feeding them in Trafalgar Square.
With metropolitans’ inexhaustible meat generators and towering builds affording a predator-free equivalent of the species’ traditional cliff-side dwelling, the raptor’s success has extended well beyond the capital city. Having colonised urban environment from Aberdeen to Cardiff, ecologists now believe it is only a matter of time before peregrine falcons are breeding in every major UK town and city.
” All those born and spawned in municipals, that’s their environment that they’ve grown up in. When they’re wandering all over the country, they find little towns and cities elsewhere … and that’s what they’re used to ,” reads David Goode, a veteran ecologist and author of a brand-new record, Mood in Town and Cities .” That’s why I say it won’t be long until they’re in every place .”
The time has come for us to go wild!