Football-mad falcons to be world famous

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Big Brother cameras are set to turn a pair of breeding rare birds into worldwide superstars at the stadium:mk.

A CCTV system has been installed in the stadium’s roof specially to capture the movements of two peregrine falcons.

It means bird-lovers everywhere will be able to follow their progress of the endangered species as the first eggs are laid and the chicks hatch over the coming months.

The peregrine project has taken months of planning between stadium staff, the Parks Trust and experts from the Buckinghamshire Bird Club.

It follows the success story of last spring, when the football-loving falcons took up residence in an old crow’s nest balanced in the rafters high up above the crowds.

By summer a fledgling was spotted leaving the nest to boost the country’s precious peregrine population of only 1,500 breeding pairs.

The parents stayed on in their high-rise home, swooping out of the stadium to pick up their favourite snack of a pigeon or two,

“Everybody wanted to do everything possible to make sure the birds nested again this year and raised some more chicks,” said the stadium’s operations director Sue Dawson.

First the stadium organised machinery to build a high-rise platform 125 feet above the football pitch.

Constructed to precise specifications from the Bucks Bird Club, it is the five-star hotel of nesting facilities - complete with grit to emulate the peregrines’ favourite clifftop conditions.

The stadium then called on their regular data cabling company, Bletchley-based Lynx Networks, to run the necessary cabling into the roof to fit a high-definition camera.

Sue said: “The idea is that we share the success story and enable members of the public to watch and enjoy what is going on.

“We’re still sorting out the technical details of how we will show it, but one thing is for sure - there will be a huge amount of interest once those eggs are laid!”

The peregrines’ public debut will be made on March 19 at MK Dons’ Family Big Day, just before the Dons v Brighton & Hove Albion home game.

“We will have a screen in the arena so people can watch what is happening with the birds up on the platform,” promised Sue.

The Dons’ peregrines are the only pair to be spotted in Milton Keynes. Their nearest neighbours are in Aylesbury, where two have nested in the roof of the County Hall.

In the whole of London, only 24 pairs have been sighted.

The fastest creatures in the world, they can fly at more than 200mph to swoop down on their prey.

They are also one a faithful species, with pairs staying together for life.