South West Peregrine

Cornwall & Devon Peregrine Falcon Study Group since 2007


South West Peregrine

Peregrine Falcon Study group est. 2007. Working with the BTO and affiliated to the Hawk and Owl Trust. Supporting BAWC (Birders Against Wildlife Crime)

Kestrel Boxes

The Kestrel boxes sited last year are already paying off in bringing suitable nesting sites on the edge of great habitats. The UK Kestrel population is in decline as reported by the BTO and currently put on the AMBER list.

Therefore projects such as ours will hopefully help local numbers recover or at least stabilise the local population.

Here we see two young in one of the SWPG boxes; the adults are able to provision large quantities of food as a result of siting the boxes adjoining excellent habitat.

The landowner was thrilled that birds had occupied this particular site so quickly having only put the box up late last year. The birds will be ringed under licence and fitted with BTO recovery rings.

Kestrels typically lay between 4-5 eggs in a single brood, occupying varied habitats such as open grassland, heath, farmland and even towns they can often be seen hovering beside busy carriageways.

Length: 34 cm Wingspan: 76 cm Weight: M: 190 g   F: 220 g

Special thanks goes to Dave Scott for supplying BTO E Rings to get the job done at short notice.



Four kick off season

A fine evenings work saw the team ring four very healthy looking eyasses. They were brought to the top of the cliff to carry out the ringing process.

SWP Ringing a young Tiercel under BTO Schedule 1 License

This will be utilised to aid in collation of further dispersal records. This site has already had a number of re-sightings reported as well as one known year old juvenile fatality; the bird in question was found some 140+ kilometres from it’s original Devon location on the side of a carriageway in Wiltshire.

Ringed young in bag ready to be lowered back to their ledge
first human contact, hopefully last.


2019 Calendar now available

You can now help support the work of the South West Peregrine volunteers. A beautiful 13 month Calendar for 2019 has been produced by local company ‘Studio Twenty Seven’, and they will make a donation from each sale to the group. All photography in this calendar was the hard work of South West Peregrine group member Mike Stephens.

Birds of Britain 2019 - SH0058.qxp

Birds of Britain 2019 - SH0058.qxp

Calendars Cost £5.99 plus postage and packaging at £1.65.

They will make an ideal gift or Christmas present for you  any of your friends or family who love British Wildlife

to order your copy visit

or contact for further details.

South West Peregrine thank ‘Studio Twenty Seven’ for this collaboration.


Juvenile Sparrowhawks

Peter Welsh captured this young Sparrowhawk waiting in a small copse with another sibling in close proximity, both waiting patiently whilst the parents were out hunting. The vocalisations that can be heard in this clip are between the two young hawks. The closing sequence of the short video see’s this bird flying to meet the male who had just returned with a small prey item.

Read a little more from our species pages, click here

Ringing Recovery – YN 2016

An unfortunate part of the ringing process is that on occasions a ring will be recovered, most often as part of a fatality or other incident. But at least from these recoveries very useful data can be gathered as to the Origins of the bird recovered, distance travelled dispersal and lifespan etc. We have unfortunately had one such recovery reported, it was a young Falcon that fledged from a Devon Quarry; the bird in Question a young female that was ringed June 2016 was recovered in the Wiltshire area. The Darvic Ring (YN) and BTO metal ring were both recovered and duly reported to the ringing recover team at the BTO via EURING. The bird was retrieved from a carriageway of a busy main road, putting her 145km or 90 miles from her place of origin. She can be seen below having the Identification rings fitted back in 2016 by our dedicated ringing team.IMG_20160613_184420

If you ever come across any bird and find it fitted with such identification rings we would urge you to report it, this all helps build on the extensive data collect on all species. SWPG would like to thank the individual concerned for the recovery and reporting.

Information is available via the BTO website


Peregrine Ringing

Roger working on the deceptively large ledge

Sunday 4th June, another three young were colour ringed along with the metal BTO rings; this was a tricky site to reach, but the ledge was large enough to allow the ringing to go ahead in-situ.

Peregrine Falcon Ringing 2017 from South West Peregrine on Vimeo.

This is a fourth consecutive season the pair have bred  and over that period 11 Chicks have all been raised to fledging. The ringing carried out under licence and with landowners permission went once again without a hitch, due to good teamwork and planning the climb in advance.

2017 Coastal Ringing

Volunteers from South West Peregrine, carry out a very successful ringing of three Peregrine Falcon eyasses on the North Cornwall Coastline. A second successive breeding season for this pair at the location, once a favourite spot of group mentor Richard ‘Dick’ Treleaven. It was also a chance for young Drew to get up close to these special birds as he helped the team carry out the ringing. Yellow darvic rings with black letter codes are fitted along with a BTO metal id ring. These  darvic rings hopefully lead to re-sightings  of the young and help with dispersal data.


A Barn Owl update

An update on the Barn Owl and a few more pics from Steve Johnson


After a couple of weeks of rough weather, rain & wind it did make me wonder how the Owl would be fairing; not much of an opportunity to hunt lately. It does make you wonder how they exist, their life (as with many other animals) is continually on a knife edge, but survive they must and indeed they do.

With the first break in the weather I went out at my usual time, parked up and prepared the camera, I looked around saw nothing, I then went to a mid point spot and looked to the left side of the scrub……and there it was hunting across the field , I took position and waited, it wasn’t long before it began to fly towards me, stopping short it settled on a fence post it was looking at me but didn’t seem to be bothered, if at all interested.


I watched it for a good hour, I also thought I saw another Barn Owl but it was only a glimpse so not 100% but fingers crossed for a pairing. The light was dropping so I thought it was time to go, just as I thought that the Owl started to fly straight at me in fact it went right over my head as I was taking photos of it, it then went across the path to another field I followed it but when I looked over the hedge it was gone. It was a great hour spent watching such a beautiful bird.


All Images Steve Johnson

Barn Owl challenge

I had been told of a Barn Owl that has been around North Cornwall close to where I live; in fact there used to be a breeding pair. I first spotted the bird the day I went to ring the Peregrine chick at Black cliff, the Owl was flying near the barn at around 11.00am, a few days later Mike Stephens and I visited the barn and looked around the floor where we found lots of owl pellets, I then noticed a box located in the roof, I managed to climb up and saw a owl looking right back at me. There was only one I could see and quickly retreated to leave it in peace.

Barn Owl, Cornwall, Winters Evening

A few months later and the odd sighting here and there, then it went to no sightings at all and also the floor of the barn showed little signs of activity on a later visit.

Then one day in early January 2017,  I was walking with my wife Karen and daughter Amy on the coast path not far from the barn, it was a sunny Winter afternoon with the sun getting low in the sky casting a lovely golden glow, I noticed a bird flying low along the hedge row and thought it looked a different shape so looking through my binoculars I quickly identified it as a Barn Owl it then turned around facing me in which the sun illuminated beautifully; no camera typical!! I thought. The barn owl then turned again and went out of sight.

Hunting Barn Owl – Tyto alba

My mission now was to get some pictures…but I needed to work out were it was hunting, its taken until now to understand its territory but I loved the challenge, in that time I have seen it carrying prey, sitting on fence posts and catching glimpse here and there….then this Saturday just gone and a rather miserable day lots of rain and sharp showers it finally cleared at around 4.00pm so I made a quick decision and grabbed my gear, I parked in my lay-by got out of the car and thought it must be near the scrub land as thinking of how the weather has been it must be taking the chance to hunt, and sure enough it flew up in the air about 100 yards from me I watched it and photographed it for a hour as it scanned the scrub……I hope you like the pictures of this beautiful bird.

Story and Images by Steve Johnson SWP


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