One of only two Peregrine eyries in the Forest of Bowland discovered abandoned after eggs or small chicks mysteriously disappear.


Eggs disappear from Peregrine eyries located in a remote area of the Forest of Bowland on the United Utilities estate in early April. Foul play cannot be ruled out.

It is very disappointing to report the failure of one of only two Bowland Peregrine eyries both established on moorland owned by United Utilities in a remote area of the Forest of Bowland in West Lancashire. When the territory was checked by members of the North West Raptor Protection Group in early April the female was clearly observed incubating a fresh clutch of eggs on the cliff face shown in the above image. The nesting ledge where the pair of Peregrines had established their eyrie this spring was clearly visible using a telescope from several hundred metres away without causing any disturbance. When the nesting valley was revisited in May the territory was found to have been abandoned at a time when the eyrie should have contained  chicks. Thankfully the second eyrie established on the United Utilities Bowland estate has been successful this year fledging several nestlings.


The nesting ledge captured via telescope camera showing the female incubating eggs early April before being found abandoned

The details of this years nest abandonment have until today not been published by Raptor Politics, as we felt it was important to establish if the eyries loss had been reported to the police. We are now able to say categorically having spoken with the Wildlife Crime Officer about this potential criminal matter, curiously the eyries failure for what ever reason had not been reported to the police previously by anyone other than the NWRPG. This begs the question why was an accepted protocol when dealing with such important wildlife issues disregarded in this instance? Why did no one from United Utilities or their agents contact the police asking them to undertake an investigation into the circumstances of this breeding attempt failure? After all the loss of 50% of all Peregrine nesting attempts on the companies Bowland’s estates should have been a matter of important concern, but seemingly was not? The fact that this nests failure appears to have been covered in secrecy, even from the police, makes one wonder what is going on to protect a threatened species on estates in Bowland owned by United Utilities.

We accept that there is a possibility that this years failed breeding attempt at this moorland site could have been the result of the inclement weather conditions, this does happen. However if that was the case all the more reason to report the truth rather than keep the facts a secret. The fact that the success of the second Peregrine nest has been made public, keeping the details of the failure of the first nest a closely guarded secret, seems to suggest there may have been something to hide.

The image below recently captured of a Short-eared owl in Bowland, clearly shows the right wing after being shot. The destruction of protected raptors is still being undertaken in this region, and it is not just Peregrines being persecuted


2 comments to One of only two Peregrine eyries in the Forest of Bowland discovered abandoned after eggs or small chicks mysteriously disappear.

  • It is unfortunate when these protocols,set up to protect wildlife,seem not
    to be followed,for whatever reason.

    Of course United Utilities, as with any landowner, are reliant on being
    kept informed by those monitoring birds on the ground. Maybe this is where the system failed this time.

    Natural causes could well be to blame for the nest coming to grief,although the appalling early spring weather had begun to improve by this time, no doubt many birds were not in top condition,(prey species locally also being affected),this would be likely to unsettle them during incubation.

    Assuming eggs were fertile to begin with.I have recorded possibly related behaviour,with a number of Goshawk nests this spring.

  • David

    Terry the price of female peregrine falcons have rocketed in the last few years would not suprise me that these eggs or chicks have disapeared into the captive breeding system.