Hi, I'm Rudi, i'm 8 years old and my favourite book is 'Tarka the Otter' by Henry Williamson. Its about the life of an otter named Tarka and British Wildlife. One night i was reading the book with my dad and i said that i wanted to see all the animals in the book, he said i should do it and call it the Tarka Challenge. My Tarka Challenge started on 1st January 2012. The book contains 89 birds, 54 land based animals, 120 plants and 56 aquatic organisms.

The rules are simple, i must either see each thing myself or photograph it using my trail camera. I will try and see each thing on my local patch (Ogmore River Catchment) but may need to look somewhere else in Britain.

Chakchek The Peregrine

Chakchek is the name Henry Williamson gives to the Peregrine Falcon in Tarka. I think he probably liked Peregrines because he wrote a separate short story about Chakchek. He called him Chakchek because this is the sound Peregrines make.

I had seen one Peregrine before but this was the first one i had seen on my patch. He was gliding in the air above my Nans house, i don't know if he was looking for food or just playing. Don, who lives up the lane had told me that there were Peregrines about, he had seen one attack and kill a Woodpigeon. He said that last week there was an adult flying with 2 juveniles beside it screaming for food.

Peregrine (Falco peregrinus)
This bird is described as the fastest species in the world because of the speed of its dive which can sometimes be up to 240 miles per hour. Peregrines love to eat pigeons and have started to appear in cities where there are plenty of pigeons to eat. A pair live on the clock tower in Cardiff and the RSPB have a nest cam on them which can be seen in the museum (http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/peregrines/).

A Peregrines prey can range from a tiny Goldcrest to a Heron, they have even been recorded killing and eating other birds of prey including Kestrel, Merlin and Short eared owl's. Peregrines are now making a come back but in the past many have died as a result of poisoning and being shot by gamekeepers.

During the Second World War in 1940 the government made a Destruction of Peregrine Falcon Order. This told people to kill Peregrines, over 600 were killed. The reason was that the army used pigeons to carry messages back from the battlegrounds but they were worried that Peregrines would kill the pigeons and stop the messages getting back to the Command centre.

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