Visitors to RSPB Old Moor, near Wombwell, have been getting a unique chance to get up and close and personal with the fastest creature on the planet – a young peregrine falcon that visitors have affectionately named ‘Red’.
The young peregrine is believed to have hatched this year in a nest on Wakefield Cathedral and when she left, or fledged, back in the summer she soon moved to RSPB Old Moor where she has been ever since, learning to fend for herself and practising her hunting skills on the thousands of ducks and other water birds that call the reserve home.
Visitors have been treated to unprecedented views as she chases other birds in front of the hides or sits on a favourite perch on the Mere.
Matthew Capper, Senior Site Manager at RSPB Old Moor said: “There has never been a better chance to see a wild peregrine at close quarters and watching her twist and turn as she chases prey across the reserve is truly awe inspiring – every wildlife enthusiast’s dream!”
Peregrine falcons are officially the fastest creatures on the planet, capable of reaching speeds of up to 200 miles per hour. Once extremely rare, their numbers have recovered in some areas in recent years and now, birds have started to set up home in some towns and cities across the north of England.
One such pair has established a nest site on Wakefield Cathedral and have bred successfully there since 2015.
Every year, they are watched and monitored by the Wakefield Naturalists Society and the young birds are fitted with special coloured rings that allow them to be identified at a later date and their movements studied.
Francis Hickenbottom from the Wakefield Peregrines Project said: “This year we have ringed the young birds with red/orange rings and we think this bird could be one of ‘ours’. However, despite visitors naming the bird ‘red’ and the letters being in large bold black, we have not yet been able to read the numbers that would conclusively determine her origin and so we are asking the public for help in trying to read them and let us know.”
RSPB Old Moor is open every day from 9.30am to 5pm and visitors can call in at the visitor centre and café to find out the latest news on where to see ‘red’. Any visitors lucky enough to read the letters on the colour ring are asked to report them to the visitor centre or email email@example.com
For more information on wildlife spectacles and events at Old Moor, visit rspb.org.uk/oldmoor