Sunday, 17 June 2007

On The Edge for a Fledge

Wing exercises Sunday 17th June 2007Well, it can’t be long before our two young peregrines take that giant leap into the unknown and attempt their first flight. There’s been lots of wing-flapping activity recently, and with each flap we see more white down flying into the air.
Only about four days ago we started seeing the birds tearing and swallowing their own food, so they’re certainly getting more independent.

OK, so when will they fledge, and what will happen?
Firstly, expect to see them standing confidently on the lip of the platform for long periods of time, like these three chicks from last year. Until Sunday, we'd only witnessed the odd foot being placed against it and withdrawn, but then they Three chicks in 2006 getting ready to fledge. We're all asking when fledging day will be this year!started standing on the edge. There will be lots more wing-flapping before one of them takes their first flight, and it could then be a further day or so before the second one leaves.

This is the dangerous time. Our two female chicks are larger than males would have been. Last year it was the male who left first, and who flew confidently and powerfully right from the start. But in 2006 both females managed to crash land on their first flights, with one having to be brought back and released on the top of the tower.
This year we’ve placed a “rescue kit” inside Derby Cathedral, comprising some stout gloves, a cardboard box and some rags – all just in case of disaster. The watchers on the Green below will see what happens, and alert us to any problems.

But when will they fly?
It’s hard to say exactly. We’ve suggested any time between 17th June – 20th June, and it now seems likely to be later than earlier. Do keep watching, wherever you are in the world. And fingers crossed!

Nick, Nick & Tony
Derby Museum, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust & Derby Cathedral

16 comments:

helenhoward said...

will bad weather possibly delay the maiden flight? Logic tells you that if it is a week of bad weather the birds will delay their flight. Lets face it who wants to go out when it is pouring it down!! What is your opinion

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

The view is that they will probably wait for a decent day before leaving the nest site. Obviously they don't know what the forecast will be, but it makes sense for them to remain until the weather is fair.
This morning there was lots of wing acticty, as well as one of the chicks climbing up the angled metal support - getting her balance right.

Anonymous said...

From watching last years chicks fledge, it seems the early flights are a bit like learning to ride a bike - some are really shaky and lack confidence on their first few outings, others seem to take to it straight away. However, as with riding a bike, its relatively easy to get under way and to keep going. It's stopping that causes problems. Last years male chick approached the platform too fast on one of his early flights, realised his mistake at the last minute and tried to pull out only to collide with the louvres above the platform. Fortunately he recovered his composure and flew off the perch on a chimney pot on Friar Gate to ponder his mistake.

Anonymous said...

nail biting now, didnt realise maiden flights could be so dangerous just thought they would get it right first time, will be keeping everything crossed now for them and hope they keep safe and pick a good day for it.

Anonymous said...

Bet they will be glad to get away from those bells and get a decent nights sleep, watching them now they are looking as if they are desperate to go. hope all goes well for them when they do take the plunge will keep watching thanks.

Anonymous said...

Once the chicks fledge, do they return to the nest site for Mom to feed them?

Anonymous said...

Will nest that built on trees be safer for a maiden flight? Seems the platform is really high for the chicks. Jennie from Hong Kong

helenhoward said...

really excited to see the chick on the edge of the box this afternoon and it just looked like her sister was trying to push her off!! Another question if I may ask. Will these chicks be breeding next year? Also if the falcons interbred ie father breeding with daughter could it result in weakness with in the resulting chicks as what happens sometimes with cats or dogs?
Thrilled to read some one is watching our falcons from Hong Kong. I have really enjoyed watching the falcons and really hope to see them next year
Finally any idea what happened to last years babies.

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

I don't think it's the birds that are looking forward to a decent night's sleep - it's all of us here trying to keep things going! We'd never expected our site to be as popular around the world as it is, and now our late-night thoughts are already turning to next season.

Jennie in Hong Kong, you asked about nests built in trees - well, this is a bird that has eveolved to live and nest only rocky ledges on high mountains or sea cliffs. It would not find a tree to its liking at all - far too low. It sees our 450 year old tower as just another cliff-face. You could also argue that the taller the building/cliff, the more chance it has to get its first flight sorted out when it eventually takes off.

Once they fledge, do keep watching, as the birds may still use the nest platfrom. But to be honest, the chicks will also use the top of Derby Cathedral.

The chicks won't raise young next year - it takes about 2 years or so to reach maturity. The adults are faithful to each other, so unless one gets killed, there's no chance of any inbreeding between parent and child. Even then, it might not occur at all - I'm honestly not sure.

Anonymous said...

What was the bird that the mother was feeding to her chicks after 18:50 on Monday? It looked a big one by the size of the wings.
Thanks

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

We can't say without checking the 24hr video recordings what bird was taken. And then it depends whether it was under the active camera or not. If we're able, we'll check the recordings and report back. Bt this is a busy week for us all, and it may not be possible.

Anonymous said...

as i was walking my dog today i came across a very freshly eaten bird, looked like a thrush or blackbird or that size at least, it was a complete skeleton all intact head legs and feet in one but been stripped of feathers and flesh looked really revolting i have seen birds eaten by cats before but this one was different could this be the dinner of a bird of prey and if so why was it left on a country footpath not enclosed by buildings or trees? just puzzled and curious, i see our 2 girls are still here i wish them all the best.

Anonymous said...

We were there on Monday night when the parent took the bird at 18.50. We were watching from below and saw the adult fly in from the riverside up to the top of the Cathedral, it sat for a while then took a vertical dive between the large tree and the building. It emerged overhead and cicled for a while carrying a large pigeon, then took it up to the platform to a pair of rather vocal chicks. Watching all day long in anhticipation of the first flights. Good Luck and well done all involved - hope to see the adult pair again next year.

Anonymous said...

It looks very exciting for your little ones! I'm keeping fingers and talons crossed here in Dayton, Ohio, where our young male started flying just yesterday. I have really enjoyed watching your falcon family, thanks very much. Kudos to all of you for keeping the cams up and running!

Anonymous said...

will the web cams continue to run live video even when the chicks have left the nest

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

It could be today (Wednesday) that they take their first flight. It's 6am as I write this, and the weather is looking fantastic outside. Here's hoping for a safe day.

We will renew our contract with Streamdays for another 3 months to give us a chance to see what activity takes place on the nest platfoom. Over winter, we'll keep the cameras running just to stop them seizing up. More on that later.