Flo the Falcon, one of the peregrine chicks that fledged from the Cathedral Tower in 2021, has been spotted 90 miles away from home as the crow flies, in Hertford, Hertfordshire.
British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) ringer, Nigel Jones contacted the Cathedral peregrine team to let them know that Flo (named for Florence Nightingale to mark the work of the NHS during the pandemic) had taken up residence on some prime real estate in the centre of the Hertfordshire county town.
Pictures of Flo captured on 16 September by Kevin Garrett and 17 September by Rose Newbold plus a subsequent sighting by birdwatcher Tracey Burrows, all indicate that Flo has moved onto All Saints Church Tower. She was identified by her orange colour ring with the initials TND.
There were other potential sighting earlier in the year, in May, two miles down the road in the Lee Valley area.
According to local Hertfordshire BTO ringer Barry Trevis, Flo also has a mate and is the right age to start breeding. He has installed a nesting tray on the church to encourage the peregrine pair to settle. So, watch this space – or nestbox – maybe next year Flo the Falcon will lay her first clutch.
Flo’s mate is ringed with a metal ring but does not carry a colour ID ring. The metal rings are somewhat harder to read from afar.
This is not the first time Flo has been in the news. In 2021 her first attempt at fledging on 6 June 2021 ended with a crash landing in the Salisbury Museum café gardens. Luckily Kate Barker, one of the Museum staff, called in the Cathedral Peregrine team – Nature Conservation Adviser Phil Sheldrake and Clerk of Works Gary Price – and was on hand to photograph and film Flo’s ‘rescue’. The fledgling was duly returned to the Tower balcony to start all over again.
Flo is not the only Cathedral peregrine to have been spotted ‘abroad’ in the last few years:
Nigel Jones, who rings the Cathedral falcons, said: “It is great to see the colour ring system working so well. It allows us to discover where the fledglings go and whether they survive. Around 70% of young peregrines die in their first year, so every success story is welcome.”
The Salisbury peregrines usually settle on the Cathedral’s South Tower balcony around March, but are often in evidence during the winter months, just keeping an eye on things. So far 27 chicks, including once adopted orphan chick, have fledged from the Tower since 2014, when the peregrines returned after an absence of just over 60 years.