Felixstowe: Nesting Peregrine falcons stop crane demolition work

WORK to demolish two old and out-of-date port cranes has been delayed because a pair of Peregrine falcons has made one of the structures their home, it was revealed today.

Officials at the Port of Felixstowe had plans in place to topple the cranes – sited on the unused Landguard Terminal – next week.

Now they have decided to put the project on hold until after the breeding season.

Nigel Odin, of Landguard Bird Observatory, said the Peregrine falcons had been present around the port for several years.

“They appear to be finally getting down to serious nuptials this spring. They can be observed in courtship display over the container terminal on fine sunny mornings around the cranes,” he said.

A pair of carrion crows that successfully nested on the southernmost green crane last year have unwittingly provided a nesting platform for the Peregrines to use.

“Peregrine falcons begin nesting early in the spring and can be incubating eggs by the end of March. No nest is built with the eggs traditionally laid onto a bare ledge,” said Mr Odin.

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“Whether the female will settle here is yet to be seen, but if she does settle down the pair will keep any of the breeding herring and lesser black-backed gulls that nest in the docks at a respectable distance from the nest site.

“With the security around the port and CCTV cameras on site, the birds should be well protected from possible human interference.

“Interestingly the birds are very tolerant of all the hustle and bustle going on beneath them and if they do settle to breed it will be seen as a feather in the cap for the port authorities.”

David Gledhill, chief executive officer of Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited, owners of the port, said: “Having assessed the situation, and after consultation with the RSPB and Suffolk Wildlife Trust, we believe that the falcons are preparing to nest on one of the cranes due for demolition. To avoid disturbing them, we have taken the decision to postpone the demolition until after the breeding season.”

The cranes are clearly visible from the port viewing area.

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