Peregrine falcons nesting on Kingston College roof are waiting for three chicks to hatch next week.
Paul Davis, a Kingston College security officer who is responsible for the nest site and live cams, said he expects the chicks to hatch on April 12.
The falcon laid her first egg a week before other webcam nests in the country.
Normally the chicks will fledge 44 days after hatching and then be taught to hunt and be independent.
There have been falcons nesting around Kingston College since 2003 and at this particular site since 2012.
A spokeswoman for RSPB England said: “They’re one of the most incredible birds of prey in the world really – they have almost a global reach.”
Sightings of the fastest bird in flight, clocking in at over 200mph when stooping to hunt their favourite food of feral pigeons and ring-necked parakeets, are not as rare a sight in London as you may think.
A London Peregrine Partnership spokesperson said that in the capital there are around 40 pairs within a 20 mile radius of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Peregrines’ natural habitats are cliff faces but they have thrived in urban settings where they can find a high ledge to nest and hunt longer into the night with the benefit of artificial light.
The British Trust for Ornithology puts the current UK peregrine population estimate at 1,750 pairs which is a major comeback after their numbers were decimated by persecution and use of pesticides like DDT.
Robyn Opie, 26, and a keen local birdwatcher, said: “I’ve loved watching the Kingston peregrines for the past 5 years and this time of year with the eggs about to hatch is hugely exciting.”
We can now enjoy a more intimate look into the life of a peregrine family with the rise of cheaper camera equipment, social media and a heightened interest in local wildlife since the beginning of the pandemic.
So next time you are in Kingston enjoying a socially distanced drink outside, watch out for our newest feathery friends!
Featured image shows one of Kingston College’s peregrine falcons basking in last week’s sunshine. Credit Paul Davis.