The Peregrine, the fastest bird in the world, has made a remarkable recovery over the past 30 years. As the species re-establishes itself around the world it is becoming a familiar sight in towns and cities.
This beautifully illustrated book is the first in-depth focus on the lives of Peregrines in towns and cities. In words and stunning photographs, Ed Drewitt reveals the latest information on Peregrine behavior including how they are adapting to, and taking advantage of, the urban environment.
Urban Peregrines is also a how-to-guide, with information on finding peregrines, studying their diet, ringing individuals for research, putting up nest boxes and enabling people to learn more about them through public viewing points or web cameras.
Ed also discusses what makes a Peregrine urban, their contemporary relationship with people, and helps dispel some myths and reveal some truths about this agile predator.
About the author
1 The Peregrine 1
2 What is an Urban Peregrine? 33
3 How to Spot a Peregrine 41
4 A Year in the Life of an Urban Peregrine 48
5 Food and Feeding 75
6 How to Study Peregrines 104
7 Ringing Urban Peregrines 125
8 Myths about Peregrines 140
9 Changing Threats and the Future of the Urban Peregrine 145
10 People and Peregrines 162
11 Where Next? 187
Further reading 193
Ed Drewitt is a professional naturalist, wildlife detective, learning consultant/trainer, and broadcaster. He has been studying urban Peregrines for over 15 years, specialising in colour ringing their chicks and identifying what they have been eating.
Ed spends a lot of his time showing people wildlife, specialising in teaching birdsong, and helping others to identify, appreciate, and get hands on with nature. He also takes people around the world on holiday tours to see a variety of animals including whales, dolphins, and a variety of birds.
"A fascinating insight into the life of our top urban predator"
– Stephen Moss, Naturalist, author and TV producer
"Peregrines! The biggest urban conservation story to hit our cities is gloriously revealed in this wonderful book"
– Mike Dilger, TV presenter and naturalist
"Urban Peregrines is published with near-perfect timing, arriving during the final stages of the 2014 UK Peregrine Survey. The recent fortunes of Peregrines in the UK have been varied, but the towns and cities focused on within this book provide the scene for a remarkable and ongoing success story. Ed Drewitt gives us a book written in interesting and conversational prose, with a wealth of observations on a wide range of Peregrine-related topics. There is particularly satisfying detail on the startlingly varied diet of Peregrines living in our cities and also, appropriately, on the ways in which wild Peregrines interact with and are affected by people. The book is copiously illustrated with photographs, not only of Peregrines, but of the birds they eat and the urban environments they live in. I recommend it for anyone wanting to better acquaint themselves with one of our most iconic and charismatic birds."
– Mark Wilson, BTO book reviews, September 2014
"Following the cessation of persecution and DDT poisoning, peregrine falcon populations have increased everywhere and they have colonised the cities of Europe, North America and Australia. This success in seemingly hostile urban environments requires specific adaptations. These adaptations are the focus of the author, an enthusiast who has spent years following peregrines in several English towns. All the details of their social, reproductive and hunting behaviour are described simply (Drewitt is not a scientist) but precisely and thoroughly, allowing the reader to understand why and how this remarkable falcon benefits from the often artificial urban environment. His descriptions are fascinating: the peregrine's extremely varied diet, nocturnal hunting for migratory birds, the storage of numerous surplus kills, the incessant comings and goings of different individuals and the movements of these supposedly sedentary birds, and the observed cases of trios, polygyny or incest, and other little known aspects of the life of peregrines. It is also, however, a detailed manual of how to observe and study the species, how to collect feathers when deploying tags and nesting sites, and how to manage threats that affect falcons through good relations with the general public. It is also an opportunity to take stock of the myths surrounding the relationship between peregrines, pigeons, gulls and corvids. The photos are numerous, if small, and generally very instructive, and reference is made to the situation in other countries, even if there are no precise references (even the bibliography at the end is succinct). The reading of the text is made easier by this, but it is not possible to deepen one's appreciation of the comparisons made by referring to them. All in all, a book that is easy to read, stuffed with practical information and original observations, essential reading for those who are interested in peregrines, even if it does deal almost exclusively with the English population."
– Jean Marc Thiollay, ORNITHOS, October 2014
"[...] This book is essentially an account of one man's experience of urban Peregrines, setting out what he has learned from his own observations or gleaned from his interactions with other Peregrine enthusiasts, mostly in other cities. The book is nicely written and seems to be intended mainly for people interested in starting similar studies themselves. It gives useful hints on matters such as how to design and erect nestboxes, how to find and identify prey remains, and how to ring the young, and just as important, how to work successfully in places full of people. The book has many good-quality colour photographs, showing different aspects of structure, plumage and behaviour. [...] How much you like this book will depend on what you expect to get from it. What you will not find is any discussion of why urban nesting took off when it did, or of how it spread across the country. Nor will you find anything on the nesting success of urban Peregrines, and how it compares with previous findings from more natural settings. In fact, you will find no quantitative data or analyses of any kind. It is not that type of book. But let us hope that the author or some other enthusiast will pull together the newly collected information on urban Peregrines, recording the onset and spread of this new behaviour, before it disappears with fading memories.
– Ian Newton, IBIS, Volume 157, Issue 1, January 2015
"[...] Anyone with an interest in Peregrines will want to buy this book, but especially those who want to be involved in an urban Peregrine project, and I can highly recommend it.
– Mike Wallen, British Birds, January 2015
"Overall, I think the author’s enthusiasm and dedication for these magnificent creatures shines through. He highlights a bird that is fascinating, sharp, and handsome, and makes the science of them accessible to the public. And I’m always for revealing behaviors and attitudes that that we can work on in order to make more conscientious decisions that affect conservation. Generally, it seems most people embrace the peregrine falcon for the awesomeness that it is, and Urban Peregrines teaches us more about them and how we can live in harmony with them."
–Maureen Leong-Kee, Hipster Birders