The rumours are true! There are two peregrine falcons on the roof of Tate Modern – on the chimney, to be precise – and helpfully, the nice people from the RSPB have parked up outside with some telescopes to help you spot them
Just to clarify – because Misty and Houdini get in a right flap about this – the pair actually nest across the river in a secret location near St. Paul’s (we can’t reveal its exact location for security reasons), but they regularly swoop across to Tate Modern to survey their territory from its highest point (99 m).
The 16-year-old falcons moved to their current riverside spot from their previous home in Baker Street in 2003 – attracted, we can only speculate, by the prospect of the world-renowned cultural institutions on their doorstep. And because Tate Modern looks like cliffs.
‘They’re cliff birds, so Tate Modern is just another version of that,’ explains Bob Fraser from the RSPB, who have been down at Tate Modern watching the culture vultures for last eight years. ‘There are about twenty pairs in London. You can also spot them on the Post Office Tower, the Tower of London, the O2 and St. Thomas’ Hospital’.
The pair have had eight little ones over the years, but they ride alone as there’s a point where the babies are thrown out of the nest and must establish their own territory. And it’s due to her egg-laying duties that a female peregrine is a fair bit bigger than the male, which is about the size of a crow.
‘They sit on the brickwork just below the top of the chimney, and if they do go to the top sometimes you’ll see just a tail-feather sticking out, which can be a bit frustrating’ says Bob. So, if you spot Misty and Houdini (or even just a peep of a tail-feather), let us know!
Visit the RSPB team at their trailer outside Tate Modern until 8 September 2013