PEREGRINE parents and their young have been captivating wildlife enthusiasts since nesting in a room with a view....Jumbo water tower.

The falcon is raising three chicks which have hatched in the last few weeks and the young have just started to explore the world around them.

Colchester Sixth Form College, on North Hill, opened its grounds to the public for three consecutive weekends so they could catch a glimpse of the feathered family nesting at the neighbouring water tower.

College media tutor and wildlife enthusiast Michael Padmore said: “When we started we weren’t sure whether there were chicks and if there were, how many, but we soon established there were three again this year which is the third year running they have raised three chicks.

“We started to see them on the second Sunday we opened our doors.

“The parents have also been around all three Sundays so the visitors have got a sight of the parents, if not the youngsters.

“They are doing well and are about five weeks now and have got their primary wing feathers and are starting to fly around the nest.”

It is the second year the college has hosted spring viewings of the birds.


Experts know the female falcon has returned to raise her young due to the ring on her leg.

Mr Padmore said it was a relief to see the chicks again.

“They pop out over the edge of the nest looking quite curious about the world beyond them. It is a lovely feeling to see them once again, particularly as last year two of them had trouble leaving the nest and had to be rescued.”

One landed on Head Street on its first flight while another crash landed in the college.

Both were recovered and able to return to their parents.


It is expected the young family will be nesting for another fortnight before they venture further afield.

Mr Padmore said: “We saw the parents fly quite high, and drop prey like pigeons for the youngsters to catch. That’s one thing for people to look out for in July.

“After that, they will disperse to salt marshes for the winter.”

The college wants the public to enjoy one last special glimpse of the creatures from its grounds so has added an extra date to its viewings, on June 22 from 10am to 2pm. These are manned by student volunteers and bird of prey expert Peter Merchant will be on hand to help visitors and to talk about wider conservation issues.

Mr Padmore added: “The young birds will be visible and it will be lovely to get lots of people along for that final occasion.”