This summer the Irish Raptor Study Group (IRSG) are coordinating a national Peregrine Falcon breeding survey. The survey aims to determine how many Peregrines nest in Ireland.
The last full survey was completed in 2002. Peregrines typically nest on coastal cliffs, upland crags and rocky outcrops and in recent years have been found nesting in quarries and on man-made structures (e.g. buildings, castles and tower houses). As a result, hill walkers and climbers are in an ideal position to encounter Peregrines during the breeding season.
Peregrines are large powerful falcons with a medium length tail and pointed wings. Adult birds are blueish-grey on the back and have white finely barred underparts. The face is mainly white with a very distinct black moustache. Another key identification point is their screeching call, often heard while circling overhead. This usually indicates disturbance, e.g. a person too close to the nest.
If you encounter a Peregrine during the breeding season (mid-March to end of July) in Ireland, we are very keen to hear from you. Please email this sensitive information, including details of the location (grid reference if possible) and behaviour that you observed (e.g. flying, perched, calling) to
. Please take care with this information and share it only with IRSG. Peregrines can be subject to illegal activity such as persecution and egg and chick theft and it is essential to minimise risk to the birds. If you observe any suspicious activity, this should be reported to your local wildlife ranger or the IRSG.
If you accidentally disturb Peregrines (e.g. on a cliff, in a corrie) you must quickly move away to allow the birds to return to the nest undisturbed. Peregrines are particularly sensitive when they are incubating eggs during March and April. Please follow mountaineering Irelands guidance in relation to nesting birds.