Unfortunately the famous Manchester peregrines have not laid any eggs this year, the RSPB has confirmed.
Peregrines typically lay their eggs in the last week of March and would then be seen sitting on the nest. Although the Manchester pair are still regularly round the nest site, and have been late to lay in the past, it is now unlikely that they will produce any eggs this late in the season.
It is not clear exactly why the peregrines have not produced eggs this year, but it is believed it could be due to an incident in March when the male bird was found having trapped himself in a courtyard in the city. He was underweight, probably from not being able to feed while trapped, so the RSPCA and a local wildlife rescue centre cared for him, but he otherwise appeared in good health. He was then ringed under licence and successfully released in Manchester two days later by a local raptor specialist, with the help of the RSPCA.
This incident occurred right at the time when the pair should have been settling down to nest so has potentially disrupted their breeding this year. It also happened at the same point a young male from last year's brood appeared, adding competition. Up until this point both the male and the female were seen at the nest site on many occasions so appeared to be getting ready to breed.
Stuart Bartlett, RSPB Face to Face Area Manager in Manchester said: "It's disappointing that the peregrines have not nested this year, especially as it is the 10th anniversary of these fantastic birds breeding in the city. However, we are still getting really great views of them nearly every day so people should definitely come down to watch these famously fast falcons in action!"
The RSPB viewpoint is running until 17 July and can be found everyday in various locations across the city centre from 10 am-6 pm. The peregrines can also be spotted via a live camera that Handsfree Group sponsored and installed at the nest site, as it is still a popular perching point for the birds. Catch the peregrines in action now by visiting www.rspb.org.uk/datewithnature and clicking on the Manchester Peregrines page in the 'Find a date' section.
Regular peregrine updates can be found via Twitter (@RSPBmanchester) where the public can also report any peregrine activity they see too.
The project forms part of the RSPB's Date with Nature programme of events, which make rare and spectacular wildlife accessible for everyone to see. To help support the peregrine project in Manchester, please make a donation through the Just Giving page - www.justgiving.com/mcrperegrines.