Peregrine falcons spotted nesting at Liverpool Cathedral as row over netting continues

Local people have raised concerns about Liverpool Cathedral erecting netting to prevent birds damaging the building.

Peregrine falcons are believed to be nesting at Liverpool Cathedral despite concern amongst local people about netting being erected to prevent birds damaging the cathedral building.

A pair of falcons, who have used Liverpool Cathedral as a nesting site ‘over many years’ were spotted on Monday.

Rev Canon Stuart Haynes, assistant diocesan secretary and director of communications said that the cathedral also has evidence that they are nesting.

He said: “As I understand it the falcons have chosen their own location at the cathedral and we are protecting them in that area.”

The numbers of peregrine falcons in the UK declined in the 1960s due to pesticides and human intervention.

The RSPB said although numbers have improved since then they are still illegally killed and also have eggs and chicks taken for collections and falconry.

Peregrines are a Schedule 1 listed species of The Wildlife and Countryside Act.

The cathedral’s architecture has been affected from years of damage by a build-up of guano - bird and bat excrement.

A peregrine falcon. Picture by Nick Upton c/o National Trust Images.

A statement from Liverpool Cathedral said the falcons presence around the building presented them with ‘the challenge of preserving a protected species with maintaining a historic listed building’.

It added: “We have tried to learn from the falcons’ behaviour over many years to encourage them to parts of our building where they can thrive and be protected.

“This includes creating a nesting box which we hope they will thrive in. We will also hope to use this to help us ring the chicks and provide valuable scientific information about their breeding patterns.

“We have consulted with wildlife experts, including the RSPB, on a solution that we hope provides a safe environment for the birds but protects the rest of the building from the damage their activities cause. We have carried out this work away from their nesting season and tried to create a fresh welcoming environment for them.

“Managing this is a complex undertaking however we will work to encourage the falcons into their new home and we will provide updates as and when we have them.”

However the RSPB released a statement saying it was ‘disappointed by the decision to install netting outside Liverpool Cathedral.’

“While we are pleased Liverpool Cathedral is continuing to provide space for nature, we strongly discourage the use of netting because of the risks it poses to birds and other wildlife.

“We cannot keep trying to squeeze nature into smaller and smaller spaces or demanding it fits in with our plans.

“We all need nature in our lives, which means giving birds and other wildlife, more - not less - room to breed, feed and sing,” the RSPB said.

Liverpool Central Ward councillor Maria Toolan has raised the issue of the netting with Liverpool Cathedral and is due to meet with them on Friday.