Perching on the side of an age-old power plant chimney with St Paul’s Cathedral to the north and the Shard, Europe’s tallest build, to the east is not where you might expect to view the world’s fastest bird. Yet Tate Modern, and London landmarks including Battersea Power Station and the Houses of Parliament, have been dwelling for several years to peregrine falcons. A surprising flashing of the mad in the heart of the town, the strong bird of prey is also a specialised hunter of feral monkeys, considered such an urban pest that in 2003 a proscription was imposed on feeding them in Trafalgar Square.
With metropolis’ inexhaustible nutrient roots and tall constructs supporting a predator-free equivalent of the species’ traditional cliff-side dwelling, the raptor’s success has extended far beyond the capital city. Having colonised urban areas from Aberdeen to Cardiff, ecologists now believe it is only a matter of time before peregrine falcons are engendering in every major UK town and city.
” All those born and engendered in metropolis, that’s their habitat that they’ve grown up in. When they’re floating all over the country, they find little towns and cities abroad … and that’s what they’re are applied to ,” mentions David Goode, a veteran environmentalist and scribe of a new book, Nature in Town and Cities .” That’s why I say it won’t be long until they’re in every place .”
The time has come for us to go wild!