The peregrine nest box on top of one of the buildings at Rotherham College

High-flying hope for Rotherham College

Rotherham College take action for nature by installing a peregrine nest box.

When Environmental and Sustainability Officer Greg Bristol wanted to investigate how Rotherham College could help nature’s recovery, he contacted Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust. 

The Trust’s Advocacy and Development Manager Nicky Rivers was part of the team who originally visited the campus to scope out its potential. “While I was considering the possibility of green roofs, I noticed several pigeons and wondered whether it may be a good spot for a peregrine falcon nesting platform, following the success of that installed at St George’s church in Sheffield.” Nicky got in touch with Sheffield Bird Study Group (SBSG), who have experience with projects like this, having installed the nest box at St George’s with Sheffield University.

The peregrines have been successfully raising chicks at St George’s church in Sheffield for some time ©Chris GreenWood/SBSG

 Chris Greenwood from SBSG explained “From our knowledge of peregrine falcons in the area, we thought a new nest box in Rotherham could be a good idea, and we supported Rotherham College on design specification and location for a box. There have been aerial battles at the Sheffield St.Georges nest each of the last three years and a pair between Sheffield and Rotherham who have been displaced from a pylon, which shows the need for more nesting sites in the area. It’s great that the college is trying to give nature a helping hand.”

Peregrines are famed for their aerial prowess and speedy hunting technique which sees them attack their prey from on high, folding back their wings and descending in a high speed dive. Pigeons are the most common item on the menu in our area, so Rotherham College is ideal! Breeding peregrines became endangered here in the 1960’s, with just 385 pairs remaining in the UK. The species has gradually started to recover but the journey to get populations back pre-crash levels has some way to go yet.

“It’s a real team project,” said Greg. “Colleagues and students have been getting involved with building the box, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we get a peregrine taking up residence in the autumn. We plan to follow the example at St George’s and get our webcam installed soon so we can watch any nesting in future.”

Nicky added ‘We are delighted that Rotherham College have been able to use one of their tall buildings to take this action for nature and look forward to seeing if it is used by the peregrine falcons. We are always looking for more businesses, organisations, groups and individuals to take action for nature and Nature Recovery Rotherham, so please get in touch if you are interested via naturerotherham@wildsheffield.com