Engineering work to replace a set of National Grid overhead lines in South Lincolnshire took an unpredicted turn recently when a peregrine falcon nest was found on a transmission tower 20 metres above the ground by workmen.
Some elements of the work then had to be rearranged to keep the eggs and then the chicks safe.
In the wild, peregrine falcons can have a life span of nearly 20 years and have been known to reach speeds upwards of 200mph.
National Grid Project Engineer Martin Bage explained: “Outside of nesting season we carried out our usual bird mitigation measures. We fit nesting deterrents and remove old nests ahead of the main outage works. The aim of this is to deter birds from nesting on the towers to de-risk any impact on the main works. However, during the works, we discovered a nest that had been occupied by a pair of Peregrine falcons who laid their eggs in the nest. At that point we had to stand the works down, as disturbance is prohibited unless licenced by Natural England”.
Permission was granted to continue work under a special licence from Natural England. Workmen managed to keep the nest safe under supervision from an ecologist, ensuring a limited exposure period to reduce disturbance while some essential works were completed.
Martin added: “Once the young birds have fledged we’ll remove the nest to complete this stage of the refurbishment. It is important that we take care of nature and wildlife whilst working on projects like this and we were happy to lend a helping hand.”