Falcons fly in; A pair of peregrines nesting on top of the refuse incinerator.
Byline: Henryk Zientek News Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
HUDDERSFIELD'S feral pigeon population had better watch out.
A pair of peregrine falcons has been spotted apparently nesting atop the Vine Street refuse incinerator, off Leeds Road.
It's a first for the town as Huddersfield birdwatchers say there are no records of peregrines ever breeding in Hudders-field.
And it's a particularly exciting arrival - coming in the year Huddersfield Birdwatchers Club celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Club member Reg Senior took these pictures of the pair perched high on the incinerator and another of one of the birds in flight.
He said: "It is illegal to disturb them. The peregrine falcon has maximum protection under various wildlife acts and is a well liked bird throughout the ornithological world."
While it's been impossible to get close enough to be certain, Mr Senior said it seemed the pair were nesting on the incinerator.
He said: "When you see two together at this time of year on a regular basis and one of them coming back to the site every 20 or 30 minutes and circling around you can presume they are following the habits of nesting birds.
"They were reported being around here about two weeks ago and since then one of our members noticed them when he went to the tip to get rid of some rubbish."
Ian Robinson, of Filey Birdwatchers Club, got to see the predators when he visited Huddersfield club members to give a talk on Arctic wildlife last Tuesday. Said Reg: "He stayed overnight at the Travelodge on Leeds Road and was watching the birds while having his breakfast at Costa Coffee the next morning."
Reg said birdwatchers did not usually publicise the nesting sites of peregrines because they were often persecuted, but said: "There's been a trend to publicise them when they are in town centres so that members of the public can observe them."
He said: "There has been a decline in birds breeding in the Huddersfield area but an increase in 'new' birds such as ring-necked doves coming into the town.
"Peregrines specialise in preying on wood pigeons and feral pigeons, which they swoop down and attack in flight. There have been cases of local councils calling in falconers to clear pigeons from towns and cities. This could be a cost-free solution for Kirklees."
Reg said peregrine falcon numbers were making a good recovery from near extinction about 30 years ago following persecution and breeding failures due to the use of the pesticide DDT on farmland.
He said: "Many towns and cities in England that have peregrines nesting on their churches and cathedrals have set up webcams so people can watch them during the 12-week breeding cycle.
"We in Huddersfield can observe these birds flying over the town and the Leeds Road area. Maybe eventually Huddersfield will have a webcam."