Falcons swoop into Hinkley Point B
In May four Peregrine Falcon chicks hatched at the power station, on a purpose built nesting platform high up on the reactor building.
Mike Davies, Hinkley Point B’s Station Director, said: “We put the platform up onsite more than 20 years ago and over the years the pairs that have tried to nest here have had mixed fortunes. Until now we have never had a successful breeding pair.
“For those of us onsite who’ve seen this platform a thousand times, to know that this year there are a pair of beautiful birds and four chicks which are almost two months old is really quite something.”
However the station’s excitement at its first successful breeding pair turned to drama earlier this month when one of the youngsters took a tumble from the platform and was found by site staff in a nearby rubbish pile.
After taking expert advice the bird was taken to a vet in Bridgwater and has since been taken to the RSPCA.
Hannah Dyer, an environmental safety engineer at Hinkley Point B, said: “The bird we found wasn’t very good at standing up and doing grown up bird things. We suspected that if we left her where she was, the gulls who call the site home would turn on her and make a meal of her.
“So we took her to a vets in Bridgwater, they gave her the all clear and she has since been taken to the RSPCA in Taunton. She will grow up there and they will release her when she is ready. I’m just glad her story will take wing and have a happy ending.”
Peregrine Falcons are considered to be the fastest animal on the planet and routinely nest in high structures such as bridges and buildings.
In the initial days, the female carries out most of the brooding and feeding of the small young, while the male hunts to supply the food. After the first couple of weeks, the female shares the hunting.
The young fledge after five or six weeks and are independent around two months later. Until then, the adult peregrines teach the young to hunt and handle prey in flight.
Mike added: “We built and installed this platform in 2000, and we are thrilled when we see it being used like this. Now we’ve got everything crossed these tiny birds fledge and make their way into the world later in the summer.”
- Hinkley Point B is the nation’s most productive ever nuclear power plant. In its 46 years it has generated enough electricity to meet the needs of every home in the South West for more than 33 years.
- The station employs around 500 staff and 200 contractors.
- The station will come to the end of its generating life this summer. Reactor 4 will be switched off on July 6 and Reactor 3 on August 1.
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