Peregrine falcons are now hunting by street lights, even catching bats in Britain’s cities. The world’s fastest birds are now seen in more than 60 towns and cities, with several pairs nesting in London alone.

Peregrines nest on cliffs in the countryside, but have taken to nesting in flats, power stations and even the Tate Modern in London. A new study, published in BBC Wildlife magazine, shows that they are now catching birds that migrate at night, using street lighting to help them.

Ed Drewitt, a peregrine expert and zoologist, has been collected more than 5,000 food items in the past 10 years, from urban peregrine sites in Bath, Bristol, Derby and Exeter.

Mr Drewitt has found remains of non-urban birds in the nests, including jack snipe and quails, which leads him to conclude that these very shy birds must be caught as they fly near to the cities on their migratory routes, attracted to the city lights. Peregrines then use the lights to help them spot and catch their prey.

Night-hunting peregrines have also been recorded in New York and Hong Kong.

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