University of Leeds to remove pigeon nets after dramatic rescue of TJ the falcon

  • The rescue was filmed by @leedsbirder

A university has pledged to remove anti-bird netting after the dramatic rescue of a peregrine falcon trapped at the top of a landmark building.

Emergency services were called to Leeds University, on Saturday, 11 June, after the bird was seen in distress caught in nets on the Parkinson building, at Woodhouse Lane.

Firefighters scaled the 187ft tower, but were unable to free the bird – nicknamed TJ – using a pole and wire-cutters.

Credit: @leedsbirder

It was left to one firefighter to crawl precariously to the bird's location to release it from the netting, which was initially installed to deter pigeons.

Wildlife film-maker Paul Wheatley recorded the rescue, with a series of videos posted on social media being viewed more than 600,000 times.

In a post on Twitter he said: "I think now would be a good time for [the university] to finally remove pigeon netting and spikes from its buildings, and reverse its recent decision to put up even more pigeon netting."

Others agreed, with television doctor Amir Khan tweeting: "PLEASE take down these nets."

A university spokesperson said: "We are urgently arranging for the netting and other deterrents to be removed.

"We will be involving the relevant authorities and experts in a prompt building-by-building review of protection arrangements across campus to help us get this right."

TJ was later spotted content and back in position on Parkinson Tower Credit: @leedsbirder

Under threat

Peregrine falcons are considered under threat, although their numbers are recovering.

The UK boasts a fifth of Europe's peregrine falcon population.

Peregrines' nests – known as eyries – tend to be found in inaccessible locations, with notable sites in Yorkshire at Wakefield Cathedral, Halifax's Square Church and Malham Cove.

Unlike other birds, they do not make nests from sticks or twigs, instead making homes in often lofty locations.

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