THE fastest animal on the planet has set up home in Durrington.
A pair of peregrine falcons have been swooping around the former Lloyds building, now Equiniti, in The Causeway, for the past two years.
The majestic birds of prey have been closely followed by the Sussex Ornithological Society and professional wildlife photographers, David and Janet Shaw, who live in Worthing.
David said: “Janet and I were the first people to record peregrines at the location.
“The male who now occupies the site was originally the resident male at Sussex Heights in Brighton – he was there for years and has now migrated to Worthing after an incredible battle.”
The male peregrine left Sussex Heights two years ago after a fight between him and the female bird.
“Female peregrines are bigger and so she won,” said David. “He was then rescued by the RSPCA and taken to a rescue centre in East Sussex for treatment and then released at Ditchling Beacon. He tried his luck back in Brighton but was probably chased off.”
The peregrine made his home at the former Lloyds building after temporarily visiting Chichester.
Peregrine falcons have famously been nesting at Chichester Cathedral for the past 10 years, and annually produce young who have since been discovered as far as Holland and Belguim.
David said: “The male has a female and they are firmly established at the Lloyds site. She is a very beautiful bird, but we don’t know about her history as she is not ringed.
“Janet and I believe they laid eggs this year as we watch these birds all over Sussex and the behaviour of this pair changed, however, no eggs hatched – it’s a bare, empty roof up there on the building, with no cover or protection, and there’s a lot of seagulls around, anything could have happened.”
In Chichester and at Sussex Heights there are nest boxes, so breeding peregrines have more success.
David added: “It’s wonderful these creatures have made a home in Worthing. They are the fastest animals on planet. We’ve been watching them for years and now they’re in our home town – they are without doubt the most exciting thing to see in this area.”
David and Janet are making a documentary film about Sussex peregrines, from conception to fledging, and the pair recently appeared on BBC1’s Countryfile, to talk about Chichester Cathedral’s peregrines, which was watched by 5.5 million people.