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Tate Modern's got talons

Last modified: 11 July 2011

Juvenile peregrine in flight

The adult birds use the Tate chimney and occassionally let the kids join them.

The RSPB’s London Team is back on the riverside forecourt of the Tate Modern to showcase the gallery’s peregrine falcons.

The birds’ nest nearby but use the Tate’s iconic 100 metre tall chimney as a daytime roost.

Powerful telescopes offering visitors free close-up views of the birds of prey will be available, with staff and volunteers on hand to tell more about the falcons.

They’re the world’s fastest living creatures, capable of diving on prey at two-hundred miles an hour.

RSPB Senior Events Officer Lyndon Parker says: “Imagine a one litre bottle of water hitting you at a hundred to two-hundred miles an hour and you’ll get an idea of how a peregrine falcon catches its dinner - mid-flight. Less of a bird and more of a flying brick. Peregrines are incredible birds built for speed and with strong talons to keep hold of lunch.”

The Tate pair is believed to be the first to re-colonise London after peregrines vanished from the Capital in the last Century. Since this pair, named Misty and Bert, arrived in 2003, pairs of peregrines have increased and we now have more than twenty pairs living wild in London.

The RSPB will be set-up next to the Millennium foot bridge from 16 July to 11 of September, daily from Noon until 7 pm.

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