Death stalks the Orwell Bridge

DEATH lies in wait on the edge of Ipswich, under the busiest road in the town . . . if you are a pigeon.And this astonishing sequence of pictures taken by photographer David Hermon captures the moment when an unsuspecting pigeon went to meet its maker.

DEATH lies in wait on the edge of Ipswich, under the busiest road in the town . . . if you are a pigeon.

And this astonishing sequence of pictures taken by photographer David Hermon captures the moment when an unsuspecting pigeon went to meet its maker.

It was taken by a peregrine falcon nesting under the Orwell Bridge as it flew near the river.

A pair of falcons have made their home in a nesting box under the bridge and are raising three chicks - believed to be the first peregrines to have been born in the county for 200 years.


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Now ornithologists are hoping that three pioneering peregrine falcon chicks will be the first of many to grace Suffolk skies.

The triumphant trio has attracted many birdwatchers to the Orwell Bridge near Ipswich in recent weeks after the impressive birds' parents made ornithological history.

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And now a county ornithological group is aiming to give the species a helping hand in establishing a population throughout Suffolk.

The Suffolk Ornithologists' Group helped provide the Orwell Bridge nestbox in the 1990s and is now planning to expand its peregrine encouragement scheme across the county.

Group president Steve Piotrowski said: “Birdwatchers have mounted a vigil at the bridge and they have been treated to some spectacular displays as the adults patrol the area in search of prey.

“The falcons mostly target the huge feral pigeon flock that frequents the dock area. Previous studies have shown that a pair of breeding peregrines can take as many as 1,000 pigeons in a calendar year, so pigeons beware!”

The group hoped to make the peregrine a feature of the Suffolk countryside as it was prior to the 19th Century, he said, and it will look at urban and particularly industrial areas.

“The group is looking at other potential sites and will be contacting commercial companies that own high-rise structures. We will be looking for sponsorship and assistance in fixing nestboxes in prominent positions at sites where the falcons have been regularly recorded.

“The top sites currently being considered include the Sizewell nuclear power stations complex, the BBC World Service buildings and masts on Orfordness, Landguard Point mast at Felixstowe and the Port of Felixstowe, Bury St Edmunds beet plant silos and cathedral, the Martlesham BT tower, grain silos at Old Newton, near Stowmarket, and water towers throughout Suffolk.”

Mr Piotrowski added: “We are most fortunate to be able to see peregrines around Ipswich. Their amazing turn of speed and breathtaking stoops are second to none and hopefully townspeople will soon see them regularly whilst going about their daily lives

“The speed of the peregrine's dive was measured by Swiss scientists and was shown to reach 115mph.”

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