Monday, 4 June 2007

Single parent family

The chicks are being left for quite long periods now. This is normal. They don't need brooding any more and can survive many hours without food.
Of course, our chicks have two parents bringing in food - not so in Dayton, Ohio! Since the mysterious disappearance of their female falcon in mid May, peregrine watchers have watched their male, known to be 17 years old, do a great job in feeding the chicks which he does every 2-3 hours apparently. The photo shows him with his offspring. Check him out at
Thanks to Jan in Dayton for the photo and the information.


Ash said...

Did last year's brood get ringed, and if so, were you fortunate enough to have used Orange Rings?
And, why do you need to ring BOTH legs?

Project Member (Derby Cathedral) said...

Yes, last years brood were ringed but only in silver as the orange rings were not available at the time. I believe both legs were ringed this year in order to continue the numbering and as an insurance in the event of the orange ring being missing. If I am wrong I am sure that my colleagues at DWT and Derby Museum will gently correct me.

Project Member (DWT) said...

Further to the above reply, perhaps it is worth explaining in more detail why both legs have rings on them.
Colour rings are used when scientists are studying a particular population of birds in depth. Their great advantage is that you can often see the colour without having to capture the bird again. So, at anytime from now, if our chicks turn up on a ledge in Nottingham or Lincoln and someone sees the orange colour, that will identify the bird as having been raised in Derbyshire.
A large number printed on the colour rings (in our case 001 and 002) will enable observers close to the bird to identify it to the individual level.
Sometimes with smaller birds, instead of numbers, more than one colour ring is used in a unique combination - this also enables individual identification by sight.
However, plastic colour rings fade and may fall off in time. So all birds that are ringed, whether additional colour rings are used or not, have a much more robust 'monel' metal ring put on one leg. These rings do not fade or fall off and so remain with the bird until its death. These rings have a completely unique number on them, plus the request to 'Inform British Museum' if found. In the UK, the scheme is run by the BTO - The British Trust for Ornithology (see their website for more on ringing).
Millions of birds are ringed each year and the data this provides has helped enormously in our understanding of both common and rare birds. It is especially important in the case of theatened birds where studies of their biology may give vital clues about why they are declining and where they may migrate to.