Country Life Day 2

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The church right in the heart of our little market town has a guardian perched imperiously on a buttress way above the bustling High Street.

A resident peregrine falcon overlooks people and traffic and, in a few weeks, will hopefully be establishing a nest on a ledge high up on the church.

It is a similar story in many parts of Britain where urban peregrines are requisitioning, churches, cathedrals, town halls and various high buildings.

They will soon be performing aerobatics as part of their mating rituals as they tumble, often with intertwined talons, only to pull out gracefully. It’s an air show many of us can see for ourselves or second hand via the many websites that offer live cameras that allow viewers to see peregrines raise their young from courtship to adolescence.

Aerobatics that are much more common are performed by the growing population of red kites that populate urban and rural skies. There are estimated to be around 5,000 breeding pairs in Britain now (there are something like 2,000 peregrine pairs).

Kites perform stunning flight patterns as they soar, wheel and swoop to find food which mainly consists of carrion or worms. They will also impress each other in tumbling displays as they seek a breeding partner.

It’s brilliant that both of these magnificent fliers are so much part of the winter entertainment available for free in Britain.



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