Peregrine falcon cuts off mobile phone signal for thousands

Daily Echo: Peregrine Falcon Peregrine Falcon

THOUSANDS of mobile users in Southampton could be without a signal for months – because a rare bird has made its nest on a phone mast.

Vodafone engineers trying to track a fault that has left people across the north of the city frustrated found a peregrine falcon squatting on the transmitter in the Highfield area. 

They cannot repair it because strict wildlife laws ban them from disturbing the creature.

Bird experts have warned that it could be at least June before the fledglings leave the nest.

The Daily Echo is not revealing the exact location to safeguard the birds.

Now Vodafone is taking advice about what it can do to restore normal service to its customers.

Portswood, Bassett, Swaythling and Highfield are among the areas affected.

A Vodafone spokesman said he was unaware of this happening to any of its masts in the region before.

He added: “Falcons are a highly protected species we’re making sure that we’re very careful with how we proceed.

“We’ve been in contact with the RSPB and Natural England for advice and now need to have the site assessed by an accredited body as a priority.

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“It does mean that at this point we cannot restore the signal on this single site until we have the right advice.

“We’ll then know what our options are. We’re already looking at alternative contingency plans and we’ll inform our customers as soon as we can. 

“While this is inconvenient for our customers, it is great news that the falcons are nesting in the city.”

Phone user Gill Bullen, from Highfield, has had little or no signal since Tuesday. 

She said: “It never occurred to me a bird could wipe out phone and Internet access – it is just brilliant.

“My husband thinks it is just a damn good excuse, much better than the usual ones.”

The peregrine falcon is afforded the highest degree of legal protection under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

It is an offence to intentionally take, injure or kill a peregrine or to take, damage or destroy its nest, eggs or young.

It is also an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb the birds close to their nest during the breeding season.

Violation of the law can attract fines up to £5,000 per offence or a prison sentence of up to six months.

A Natural England spokesman said: “They are heavily protected birds and can’t just be disturbed.

“It is peregrine nesting season at the moment and they do nest on large structures but this is the first Vodafone mast I have become aware of where this has happened.”

Tony Whitehead, from the RSPB, said the birds may not vacate the nest until the summer. 

He said: “They can not be disturbed during the breeding season. The bird will have fledglings until June so until then the mast is protected.”

Comments (30)

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10:52am Sat 13 Apr 13

lambo83 says...

Is it 'our kes' playing up?

Anyone tried enlisting the help of Craaaaaiiiig David?
Is it 'our kes' playing up? Anyone tried enlisting the help of Craaaaaiiiig David? lambo83
  • Score: 0

10:58am Sat 13 Apr 13

TankGirl88 says...

well its also effecting Totton too, my mothers house sudden has no reception on her phone, when she has never had an issue in the past. its been going on for about 2 months now.
well its also effecting Totton too, my mothers house sudden has no reception on her phone, when she has never had an issue in the past. its been going on for about 2 months now. TankGirl88
  • Score: 0

10:59am Sat 13 Apr 13

nedscrumpo says...

Vodafone signals are so bad they could take the opportunity of putting up a new transmitter somewhere!
Vodafone signals are so bad they could take the opportunity of putting up a new transmitter somewhere! nedscrumpo
  • Score: 0

12:01pm Sat 13 Apr 13

On the inside says...

Best story in ages. Go Falcons!

Anyway, Vodofone can afford to erect a temporay structure given they stole £6bn from the UK taxpayer last year.
Best story in ages. Go Falcons! Anyway, Vodofone can afford to erect a temporay structure given they stole £6bn from the UK taxpayer last year. On the inside
  • Score: 0

12:18pm Sat 13 Apr 13

Bally_Hoo says...

On the inside wrote:
Best story in ages. Go Falcons!

Anyway, Vodofone can afford to erect a temporay structure given they stole £6bn from the UK taxpayer last year.
I quite agree, let them pay for another mast.
[quote][p][bold]On the inside[/bold] wrote: Best story in ages. Go Falcons! Anyway, Vodofone can afford to erect a temporay structure given they stole £6bn from the UK taxpayer last year.[/p][/quote]I quite agree, let them pay for another mast. Bally_Hoo
  • Score: 0

12:35pm Sat 13 Apr 13

bigfella777 says...

It certainly is a bit of an hawkward situation and it seems to have ruffled a few feathers.I wonder wren this will all be sorted, to be honest I couldn't really give a flying duck because I'm on Orange.
It certainly is a bit of an hawkward situation and it seems to have ruffled a few feathers.I wonder wren this will all be sorted, to be honest I couldn't really give a flying duck because I'm on Orange. bigfella777
  • Score: 0

1:15pm Sat 13 Apr 13

Ginger_cyclist says...

I wonder how long after the falcon leaves that vodafone will swan around, ducking questions before they get egg on their faces and have to thrush over to fix the mast because the falcon chewed some wires while it was switched off? They better not make the customers take the bill because that would be quackers and some of us would go Cuckoo over it while for others it would like water off a ducks back.
I wonder how long after the falcon leaves that vodafone will swan around, ducking questions before they get egg on their faces and have to thrush over to fix the mast because the falcon chewed some wires while it was switched off? They better not make the customers take the bill because that would be quackers and some of us would go Cuckoo over it while for others it would like water off a ducks back. Ginger_cyclist
  • Score: 0

1:27pm Sat 13 Apr 13

knac says...

I reckon Vodafone better come up with something before June or they would have broke the contract on thousands of phones as I can't make a call on mine and that's since Tuesday
I reckon Vodafone better come up with something before June or they would have broke the contract on thousands of phones as I can't make a call on mine and that's since Tuesday knac
  • Score: 0

2:55pm Sat 13 Apr 13

george h says...

Bally_Hoo wrote:
On the inside wrote:
Best story in ages. Go Falcons!

Anyway, Vodofone can afford to erect a temporay structure given they stole £6bn from the UK taxpayer last year.
I quite agree, let them pay for another mast.
And a mast with sharp pointy things on top to discourage further squatters.

Leaving space on top for birds to nest appears to me to be design fault and lack of foresight to me.
[quote][p][bold]Bally_Hoo[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]On the inside[/bold] wrote: Best story in ages. Go Falcons! Anyway, Vodofone can afford to erect a temporay structure given they stole £6bn from the UK taxpayer last year.[/p][/quote]I quite agree, let them pay for another mast.[/p][/quote]And a mast with sharp pointy things on top to discourage further squatters. Leaving space on top for birds to nest appears to me to be design fault and lack of foresight to me. george h
  • Score: 0

12:27am Sun 14 Apr 13

SaffaInTheUk says...

There are people who know where it is, and one of them will probably cause the birds harm. Wouldn't surprise me if I'm honest.
There are people who know where it is, and one of them will probably cause the birds harm. Wouldn't surprise me if I'm honest. SaffaInTheUk
  • Score: 0

12:34am Sun 14 Apr 13

Inform Al says...

SaffaInTheUk wrote:
There are people who know where it is, and one of them will probably cause the birds harm. Wouldn't surprise me if I'm honest.
Never eaten one so it is safe as far as I'm concerned, just so long as it and it's offspring keep away from the rabbits I eat from the Clocktower roundabout.
[quote][p][bold]SaffaInTheUk[/bold] wrote: There are people who know where it is, and one of them will probably cause the birds harm. Wouldn't surprise me if I'm honest.[/p][/quote]Never eaten one so it is safe as far as I'm concerned, just so long as it and it's offspring keep away from the rabbits I eat from the Clocktower roundabout. Inform Al
  • Score: 0

3:17am Sun 14 Apr 13

sass says...

So a bird must be saved, even when the eggs could be incubated artificially, but people may die due to lack of a working phone? Bloody charming!
So a bird must be saved, even when the eggs could be incubated artificially, but people may die due to lack of a working phone? Bloody charming! sass
  • Score: 0

3:37am Sun 14 Apr 13

Geoff A says...

Those birds have as much right as you do to live and breed, get a landline, use a phonebox.
Those birds have as much right as you do to live and breed, get a landline, use a phonebox. Geoff A
  • Score: 0

2:15pm Sun 14 Apr 13

sass says...

Geoff A wrote:
Those birds have as much right as you do to live and breed, get a landline, use a phonebox.
When my house is burning down I will be sure to look into getting a land-line. When my granny has fallen and broken her hip I will tell her to crawl to a phone-box.
[quote][p][bold]Geoff A[/bold] wrote: Those birds have as much right as you do to live and breed, get a landline, use a phonebox.[/p][/quote]When my house is burning down I will be sure to look into getting a land-line. When my granny has fallen and broken her hip I will tell her to crawl to a phone-box. sass
  • Score: 0

2:39pm Sun 14 Apr 13

Inform Al says...

sass wrote:
Geoff A wrote:
Those birds have as much right as you do to live and breed, get a landline, use a phonebox.
When my house is burning down I will be sure to look into getting a land-line. When my granny has fallen and broken her hip I will tell her to crawl to a phone-box.
Sorted then, what's the problem?
[quote][p][bold]sass[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Geoff A[/bold] wrote: Those birds have as much right as you do to live and breed, get a landline, use a phonebox.[/p][/quote]When my house is burning down I will be sure to look into getting a land-line. When my granny has fallen and broken her hip I will tell her to crawl to a phone-box.[/p][/quote]Sorted then, what's the problem? Inform Al
  • Score: 0

11:58pm Sun 14 Apr 13

Geoff A says...

So what did people do before there were mobile phones?
You now know in advance there is a problem, so work round it, don't wait until you have an emergency, that would be stupid.
They should have built a phone mast that didn't have anywhere for a bird to nest or designed it so that a bird nesting didn't cause a problem.
So what did people do before there were mobile phones? You now know in advance there is a problem, so work round it, don't wait until you have an emergency, that would be stupid. They should have built a phone mast that didn't have anywhere for a bird to nest or designed it so that a bird nesting didn't cause a problem. Geoff A
  • Score: 0

12:10am Mon 15 Apr 13

Ultrabunny says...

In my current roost - New Orleans - our main mobile carrier AT&T can have cell towers up and running in eight hours after a hurricane rips them down. Stringing cable takes weeks so mobile is the system of choice.

Putting a mast on a building and running temporary cable is not that hard, I've watched it.( No utilities is boring.) Are these folks really that lost that they can't just go around the nest? What were they planning to do if a major storm hits?

It's kind of pitiful.

But hurray for the falcon! May she raise healthy children.
In my current roost - New Orleans - our main mobile carrier AT&T can have cell towers up and running in eight hours after a hurricane rips them down. Stringing cable takes weeks so mobile is the system of choice. Putting a mast on a building and running temporary cable is not that hard, I've watched it.( No utilities is boring.) Are these folks really that lost that they can't just go around the nest? What were they planning to do if a major storm hits? It's kind of pitiful. But hurray for the falcon! May she raise healthy children. Ultrabunny
  • Score: 0

11:46am Mon 15 Apr 13

wr0ng1 says...

sass wrote:
So a bird must be saved, even when the eggs could be incubated artificially, but people may die due to lack of a working phone? Bloody charming!
Please outline the proven technique you'd use to safely incubate those eggs and then rear the chicks to the point where they can fend fro themselves?

Don't let logic get in the way of your sense of entitlement though.
[quote][p][bold]sass[/bold] wrote: So a bird must be saved, even when the eggs could be incubated artificially, but people may die due to lack of a working phone? Bloody charming![/p][/quote]Please outline the proven technique you'd use to safely incubate those eggs and then rear the chicks to the point where they can fend fro themselves? Don't let logic get in the way of your sense of entitlement though. wr0ng1
  • Score: 0

1:53pm Mon 15 Apr 13

Inform Al says...

sass wrote:
So a bird must be saved, even when the eggs could be incubated artificially, but people may die due to lack of a working phone? Bloody charming!
Instead of spouting your rights try spending a few quid and get a phone on a more reliable network.
[quote][p][bold]sass[/bold] wrote: So a bird must be saved, even when the eggs could be incubated artificially, but people may die due to lack of a working phone? Bloody charming![/p][/quote]Instead of spouting your rights try spending a few quid and get a phone on a more reliable network. Inform Al
  • Score: 0

1:54pm Mon 15 Apr 13

wr0ng1 says...

I'd be interested to know why my comment about Southampton Uni's Russell Group ranking was removed.
I'd be interested to know why my comment about Southampton Uni's Russell Group ranking was removed. wr0ng1
  • Score: 0

4:12pm Mon 15 Apr 13

Sotonians_lets_pull_together says...

People should always have a landline for emergencies

You can never rely on mobile or internet based phone lines for emergencies, transmitters can go down, internet servers can be down, etc

They are a good backup, but landlines are key for emergencies.

In major emergencies the mobile network can be switched off! (eg terrorist incidents, when they cut mobiles in case they are used to trigger devices)
People should always have a landline for emergencies You can never rely on mobile or internet based phone lines for emergencies, transmitters can go down, internet servers can be down, etc They are a good backup, but landlines are key for emergencies. In major emergencies the mobile network can be switched off! (eg terrorist incidents, when they cut mobiles in case they are used to trigger devices) Sotonians_lets_pull_together
  • Score: 0

4:15pm Mon 15 Apr 13

Sotonians_lets_pull_together says...

I dont think it is that likely the bird is nesting on the mast, just that the mast is by the mast and they cant approach the faulty equipment to test and replace/repair as the site is being used for nesting.

Simple solution, put up another mast on another suitable nearby tall structure.
I dont think it is that likely the bird is nesting on the mast, just that the mast is by the mast and they cant approach the faulty equipment to test and replace/repair as the site is being used for nesting. Simple solution, put up another mast on another suitable nearby tall structure. Sotonians_lets_pull_together
  • Score: 0

4:16pm Mon 15 Apr 13

Sotonians_lets_pull_together says...

typo, I meant *the nest* is likely by their equipment, and they cant approach their equipment
typo, I meant *the nest* is likely by their equipment, and they cant approach their equipment Sotonians_lets_pull_together
  • Score: 0

5:31pm Mon 15 Apr 13

allsaintsnocurves says...

Surely it's possible to build phone masts that are unattractive for birds to nest in...or alternatively build bird nests next door to the structures so that the birds will like to nest in them instead...job done in future.
Surely it's possible to build phone masts that are unattractive for birds to nest in...or alternatively build bird nests next door to the structures so that the birds will like to nest in them instead...job done in future. allsaintsnocurves
  • Score: 0

6:17pm Mon 15 Apr 13

ShakeyWiffles says...

So it's an offence to hurt them etc but you mention it's in Highfield. Nice one Echo. Highfield isn't that big!

My mate was complaining about this for hours on Saturday but nothing was funnier than when he said it was a penguin!
So it's an offence to hurt them etc but you mention it's in Highfield. Nice one Echo. Highfield isn't that big! My mate was complaining about this for hours on Saturday but nothing was funnier than when he said it was a penguin! ShakeyWiffles
  • Score: 0

6:20pm Mon 15 Apr 13

ShakeyWiffles says...

sass wrote:
So a bird must be saved, even when the eggs could be incubated artificially, but people may die due to lack of a working phone? Bloody charming!
Yes. People may die. It's a proven point as to why there were so many deaths before mobile phone's were common. Now there is a 0% mortality rate because the mobile phone saves everyone
[quote][p][bold]sass[/bold] wrote: So a bird must be saved, even when the eggs could be incubated artificially, but people may die due to lack of a working phone? Bloody charming![/p][/quote]Yes. People may die. It's a proven point as to why there were so many deaths before mobile phone's were common. Now there is a 0% mortality rate because the mobile phone saves everyone ShakeyWiffles
  • Score: 0

8:44pm Mon 15 Apr 13

Niel says...

ShakeyWiffles wrote:
sass wrote:
So a bird must be saved, even when the eggs could be incubated artificially, but people may die due to lack of a working phone? Bloody charming!
Yes. People may die. It's a proven point as to why there were so many deaths before mobile phone's were common. Now there is a 0% mortality rate because the mobile phone saves everyone
Actually mobiles whilst useful have been involved in a number of death's, usually as a distraction from what's happening around the individual, drivers, pedestrians and cyclists are guilty of that.
Hummm, looks like I got the location right, as my comments been removed too.
[quote][p][bold]ShakeyWiffles[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sass[/bold] wrote: So a bird must be saved, even when the eggs could be incubated artificially, but people may die due to lack of a working phone? Bloody charming![/p][/quote]Yes. People may die. It's a proven point as to why there were so many deaths before mobile phone's were common. Now there is a 0% mortality rate because the mobile phone saves everyone[/p][/quote]Actually mobiles whilst useful have been involved in a number of death's, usually as a distraction from what's happening around the individual, drivers, pedestrians and cyclists are guilty of that. Hummm, looks like I got the location right, as my comments been removed too. Niel
  • Score: 0

10:58pm Mon 15 Apr 13

Inform Al says...

Niel wrote:
ShakeyWiffles wrote:
sass wrote:
So a bird must be saved, even when the eggs could be incubated artificially, but people may die due to lack of a working phone? Bloody charming!
Yes. People may die. It's a proven point as to why there were so many deaths before mobile phone's were common. Now there is a 0% mortality rate because the mobile phone saves everyone
Actually mobiles whilst useful have been involved in a number of death's, usually as a distraction from what's happening around the individual, drivers, pedestrians and cyclists are guilty of that.
Hummm, looks like I got the location right, as my comments been removed too.
And mine, wonder if student's parents are now going to complain that their childrens brains could be adversley affected by radio waves.
[quote][p][bold]Niel[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ShakeyWiffles[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sass[/bold] wrote: So a bird must be saved, even when the eggs could be incubated artificially, but people may die due to lack of a working phone? Bloody charming![/p][/quote]Yes. People may die. It's a proven point as to why there were so many deaths before mobile phone's were common. Now there is a 0% mortality rate because the mobile phone saves everyone[/p][/quote]Actually mobiles whilst useful have been involved in a number of death's, usually as a distraction from what's happening around the individual, drivers, pedestrians and cyclists are guilty of that. Hummm, looks like I got the location right, as my comments been removed too.[/p][/quote]And mine, wonder if student's parents are now going to complain that their childrens brains could be adversley affected by radio waves. Inform Al
  • Score: 0

2:59pm Thu 18 Apr 13

noodlesnewman says...

sass wrote:
So a bird must be saved, even when the eggs could be incubated artificially, but people may die due to lack of a working phone? Bloody charming!
The signals these mast s give out are not healthy at all some say its whats making the honey bee extinct. Brain dissorders and other related illnesses have gone through the roof !Every thing at the base level is energy the energy that these masts and mobiles give out penetrates every living thing ,and affects the magnetic feilds that we comprise of , these things one day will be banned just like asbestos they are silent killers .THESE phone corporations dont care about your health they are making billions . Dont take my word for this do your research .!!! ps good on you birdy x
[quote][p][bold]sass[/bold] wrote: So a bird must be saved, even when the eggs could be incubated artificially, but people may die due to lack of a working phone? Bloody charming![/p][/quote]The signals these mast s give out are not healthy at all some say its whats making the honey bee extinct. Brain dissorders and other related illnesses have gone through the roof !Every thing at the base level is energy the energy that these masts and mobiles give out penetrates every living thing ,and affects the magnetic feilds that we comprise of , these things one day will be banned just like asbestos they are silent killers .THESE phone corporations dont care about your health they are making billions . Dont take my word for this do your research .!!! ps good on you birdy x noodlesnewman
  • Score: 0

3:03pm Thu 18 Apr 13

wr0ng1 says...

I've heard that you can protect yourself by wrapping your head in aluminium foil.
I've heard that you can protect yourself by wrapping your head in aluminium foil. wr0ng1
  • Score: 0

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