Flo the falcon on the roam, 90 miles from home and in the mood for love

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 September 16th by Kevin Garrett and September 17th 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.

Osmund, another of the Cathedral’s falcons was spotted in Guernsey, photo by Carl Jones

Osmund, another of the Cathedral’s falcons was spotted in Guernsey, photo by Carl Jones

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 nest box – 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 June 6th 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. In 2017 Peter (blue ID ring GX), who fledged in 2014, was discovered in a Hampshire quarry where he had established a nest and raised a number of chicks.

Flo has been spotted in numerous locations on her travels

Flo has been spotted in numerous locations on her travels

In the same year Aveline (blue ID ring SC), who fledged in 2016, was caught on camera by wildlife photographer and blogger Ashley Beolens around 80 miles as the crow flies from Salisbury, in Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve, Old Wolverton near Milton Keynes.
In April this year, Osmund (blue ID ring YK), who fledged in 2020, was spotted on the coast of Guernsey over 100 miles away from his birthplace in Salisbury.
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 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 a once adopted orphan chick, have fledged from the tower since 2014, when the peregrines returned after an absence of just over 60 years.

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