Bowland’s only two Peregrine nesting attempts destroyed by disturbance.

This year there were only two active Peregrine Falcon territories known inside the Forest of Bowland, sadly both of these nesting sites containing eggs failed following human disturbance. The first nesting site located on the United Utilities estate was deserted after an unidentified person was seen entering the territory at 17:00 (21 April), both falcons were observed flying above their nest in a disturbed manner alarming loudly, stooping towards the ground. The site was still being disturbed by an unknown male who had ridden up to the valley on a mountain bike 2 hours later at 19:00. The territory was found abandoned two days after this event. Follow the full story HERE. It is suspected the person causing the disturbance had been sent to the territory to install a surveillance camera overlooking the nest.

At the second territory located on the western boundary of the Forest of Bowland, the first nesting attempt failed in early April following human disturbance. This disturbance was not associated with anyone working at the quarry resulted in the disappearance of the female Peregrine. Three weeks later in early May a second female falcon appeared and immediately paired with the resident male; a second clutch of eggs was then produced. Our first video below captures the scene within the quarry during the early stages of the second breeding attempt. We filmed a Roe Buck sitting quietly above the nesting cliff enjoying the peaceful day; both peregrines can clearly be heard calling to each other in the background. The clip shows the resident male Peregrine perched at the top of the nesting cliff keeping a close watch on his mate incubating her clutch of eggs below and to the right, but out of view. The human disturbance which then followed was unacceptable and was the cause of the second nest abandonment at this site.


Terry Pickford concluded his video account of a fourth Peregrine nesting site, but this territory was located inside Forest of Bowland, which after two breeding attempts failed to produce any fledged chicks this year.

Listen to what Terry Pickford has to say in our second video clip below, and then review the images taken of the damage caused below the nesting cliff during a critical time when the second clutch of eggs inside the Peregrine nest were being incubated. Little wonder these territories were deserted following such irresponsible and reckless disturbance of protected nesting sites.


Below we have put together a number of images showing the hundreds of tons of rock intentionally dumped in front and below the nesting cliff at a critical time for any breeding raptor when eggs were being incubated. The falcons deserted their eyrie as the disturbance increased with rocks being dumped less than 50 meters from the nesting cliff face.

Please bear in mind, if Raptor Politics had not brought these unacceptable nest failures to your notice, these losses would have gone unreported. Not a single successful Peregrine or Hen Harrier nest recorded inside the Forest f Bowland this year. Not a single Hen Harrier nest recorded on any red grouse moor anywhere in England. Please sign the petition to ban DRIVEN GROUSE SHOOTING in England if you still have not already done so, thank you.

4 comments to Bowland’s only two Peregrine nesting attempts destroyed by disturbance.

  • ros berrington

    This is so frustrating and underlines that certain people in Natural England do NOT care about the welfare and survival of our birds of prey.One of the reasons I came to Hen Harrier day in Bowland rather than another area was because of the travesty of events that has occurred here in recent years and the disrespect shown to Terry Pickford and other N.W Raptor workers who have put in years of service and have the depth of knowledge needed to do the monitoring.It really makes my blood boil.What on earth was the quarry owner thinking of and who was responsible from N.E for allowing someone so inexperienced to have a license?
    N.E and Defra must share a large proportion of the blame for what has happened in Bowland.
    I will say again they are not fit for purpose (not withstanding the good people who do work within these organizations,and some most certainly are)
    Our patience is wearing very thin now.We want our Harriers back and we want our Peregrines too.
    Whatever it takes to do this, there are many who are willing to do it.
    Keep strong North West Raptor group,there are many people right behind you.

  • ros berrington

    P.S Some people have reported experiencing difficulty putting comments on R.P.It maybe why there is sometimes a lack of comments.

    Editor’s Comment. If someone is having difficulty adding a comment please use the Contact Us link. We will then add the comment into the appropriate article

  • paul williams

    Who was the RSPB license holder?

    Editor’s Comment. Interesting question. The identity of the individual seen entering and leaving the peregrine site on the United Utilities Bowland estate was never established. However, the person was traced to a property owned by United Utilities where we are advised RSPB staff were lodging this season. The person’s car and mountain bicycle were seen parked outside this property. Perhaps of more significance the RSPB are fully aware a male individual was seen entering the quarry causing 2 hours disturbance to the nesting falcons, ultimately leading the the desertion of the nest. It is curious the RSPB have not attempted to get in touch with the person who recorded the disturbance taking place at this nesting site.Why not?

  • paul williams

    License or not…This is Intentional & Reckless and should be dealt with by the police. This person should Interviewed and Questioned shouldn’t he?… I was!