10 October 2008 – for immediate release
There’s more than education and research on the agenda at
Aston University this autumn as measures are rolled out to protect
their long-standing, resident family of kestrels.
For over fifteen years, several generations of kestrels have
occupied the ceiling space of a technicians’ study room on the
University’s city centre campus. With procedures now in place to
refurbish the room for use next year, kestrel-friendly alterations are
being made to the plans to preserve the birds’ habitat. The University
are in talks with wildlife protection bodies to ensure the welfare of
the birds remains undisturbed.
Kestrels are on the Royal Society for Protection of Birds’ amber
list of conservation concern as a result of intensive farming practices
and the subsequent destruction of their natural habitat. They regularly
set up home in urban areas – commonly sheltered ledges on tall
buildings or man-made nesting boxes - and the same nest site* is often used in successive years, with some sites used for decades.
Aston University are currently working with the Birmingham and Black
Country Wildlife Trust to ensure that plans to refurbish the teaching
room do not impact on the kestrels’ nesting area. Any alterations made
to the room will be carried out before the New Year – well before the
kestrels’ courtship rituals and the nesting season in the spring.
Working with The Wildlife Trust, there are also plans in place to ring
next year’s chicks for identification purposes – to monitor their
movements and contribute to conservation research.
Garry East, Director of Estates and Facilities, Aston University, said:
“We’re doing everything we can at Aston University to ensure that
our unusual campus residents are not disturbed in anyway. It’s
imperative that the teaching room is refurbished and brought back into
everyday use and by working closely with the Birmingham and Black
Country Wildlife Trust, we can ensure this is done without disturbing
the kestrels’ habitat. At Aston, we’re passionate about conservation
and the environment and this is just another way in which we can make a
positive contribution to the planet.”
Paul Stephenson, Senior Ecologist, Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust, added:
“It is marvellous that kestrels have lived at Aston University in
the heart of Birmingham for many years. So we are really pleased to
support Aston University in ensuring that their resident kestrels are
protected, so they will have a safe home for many years to come.”
Aston University’s commitment to going green was recently
acknowledged in a league table published in the Times Higher Education.
The Green League Table, compiled by national campaign network People
and Planet and published in July, cites Aston’s staggering jump up the
league table in comparison to last year. In twelve months, the
University has leapt from 93rd to 45th place – pitching Aston as the
third top performing university in the region.
For more information on Aston University contact Laura Plotnek, University Communications Team, Aston University on 0121 204 4549 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors
* No nesting material is used by kestrels - but a small hollow in bare rock or stone known as a ‘scrape’.