Thursday, 5 July 2007

Welfare Concerns

Amongst the comments left on the blog this morning were some concerns about our juvenile bird. Although both birds fledged nearly two weeks ago, they and their parents still come back to the nest ledge for quite long periods. But what about our bird today?- was she injured; was she OK; would somebody tell us . Juvenile at 10:30am local time today . .

. . well, we've watched and listened to her this morning and she seems fine. She spent some time lying down on the edge of the platform, just as she used to do before they fledged, and at one point her wing stuck up at a funny angle. Everyone's concerns were appreciated, but after a good check, we think she was, quite simply, just resting. Since around 11am local time she has been standing on the platform edge, watching the world go by, perhaps wondering when re-landscaping work on Cathedral Green would start.
Peregrines do spend an awful lot of time on one prominent point or another. She was probably resting between meals, not wanting Juvenile at 11:54am todayto spoil her appetite before the next succulent blackbird, thrush or feral pigeon is readied, and perhaps also savouring a moment of the dry weather., too.
Thanks to everyone who posted a message in the comments - it's good to have such instant feedback from everyone, and it's clear there will be interest and activity for some considerable time yet.
Post-script: At 12:50pm Dad brought in a dead bird - almost certainly a pigeon - for our juvenile, who pounced upon it.
When will the juvenile get "adult" feathers? - probably in a couple of years when she's grown up a bit more and ready to pair up.

24 comments:

Min said...

Its always a nice surprise to see 'someone' there sometimes when I look in. She looked huge today though! Glad all is well and she isn't hurt in anyway.

Anonymous said...

You already have said, but when do the youngsters get their adult plumage. It's quite obvious now the difference between her and her Mum.

Anna, Ripley

Anonymous said...

12.51 I see dinner has arrived. Everything comes to those who wait!

Anna, Ripley

Anonymous said...

12:50pm BST and one of the birds is having lunch on the ledge - can't quite see the plumage but is it one of the girls?

Liz, Derby

Anonymous said...

Juvenile feeding on prey item on the gravel nest site at 15.38 BST.

Anonymous said...

can anyone make out what bird is she having for tea ? clive , matlock

Anonymous said...

It could be a House Martin by the shape of the wings and tail. I always have a tinge of sadness when I can identify the prey - then you're faced with the reality that they are killing other beautiful birds.

Anna, Ripley

Anonymous said...

to anna, ripley
i agree it is sad to think of a beautiful bird such as the house martin being killed, but this is not a malice killing from a brat with an air rifle, bored and bunking off school, this is merely survival and inkeeping with the food chain, in the same way we eat larger birds like chicken, goose, even pheasant, which is one of the most beautiful birds in this country.
the peregrines are lucky to have such feasts available to them and live with such carefree lives. especially considering the politics us humans have to adhere to!

Anonymous said...

That's food for thought! I understand what you are saying, and I am only too aware of the 'cruelty' of nature. In fact at least the Peregrines prey are killed instantly, so hopefully totally unaware they are being hunted ........ unlike the fox, I better not go on.

Thanks for your response.

Anna, Ripley

Anonymous said...

Hello from Dayton -
I know it's sometimes very sad to see the falcons have taken a songbird. Last year one of our falcons lunched on a beautiful bluebird, and they are rare to see in my area. Still, there is some cold comfort to realize that peregrines have a high mortality rate as youngsters, so there can never be too many of them eating our songbird friends. Also, they eat almost all of the birds they take, leaving (usually) only the head and feet. Sadly, the Canadian Peregrine Foundation has a new concern that the USA will be allowed to "harvest" peregrines that venture south thru the USA. Yet another unspeakable idea put forth by the politicians and their minions in this country! I can't even speak about politics in a coherent way any longer, but the irrationality of wantonly destroying wildlife and habitat is beyond sad and shameful.
It's at least very sweet seeing your little girl enjoying her rest on the nest ledge, then having a nice snack even tho it's fairly nasty to actually watch. Escapism is wonderful!

Anonymous said...

i'm not too sure that it is a house martin it seems too big, perhaps it's a young pigeon,
did anyone see it before it was carnaged???

Anonymous said...

Thanks to everyone for all the work that has been done for 'our' falcons!
I was wondering, do you know where last year's chicks are now?

Karen Anne said...

Hi, Dayton,

Do you have more info about the apparent "harvesting" of peregrines in the U.S.? It is news to me, and there is such interest in the peregrines here that it seems very unlikely. Of course, with the Bush administration minions, anything is possible, but I would assume Congress would do something to prevent it.

Anonymous said...

19.24 Mum's at the box, looking somewhat bedraggled.

Anna, Ripley

Sue H, Wendover said...

Oh yes, so she is. She's not half as bedraggled as me though - it's absolutely sheeting down in not so sunny Bucks! I'm off to the Hampton Court Flower Show tomorrow - oh joy. It simply couldn't be more different to this time last year when we were having freak heat waves. I think the birds look as if they're coping with it all a lot better than us humans.
Sue H
(PS I've been sooooooooo busy at Wycombe Magistrates, there's been no web-camming for me there!!! I'm just so jealous of "lazy" peregrines, wish I could lounge about a nestbox all day)

Anonymous said...

Karen Anne-
I found this info. from the Canadian Peregrine Foundation, www.peregrine-foundation.ca/
There is a bolded "Attention!" block which leads you to a pdf file. At this time it is proposed legislation and will most likely effect migratory falcons from Canada. It appears hunters in the states bordering the great lakes would be allowed to take them, contrary to laws in both countries. All peregrines who are not paired off migrate freely from Canada all the way to South America, it is believed. They're called "wandering falcon" for good reason!
Hope this information is helpful to you, I'm certainly writing yet another letter of concern to my elected representatives.
So sorry to hijack the Derby blog, hope we can be forgiven.

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

The bird on the platform is definitely not a house martin. It's far too big, and I'm sure it's one of our local pigeons. It took all afternoon for the juvenile to deal with it.
Regarding peregrines taking other species, this is, after all, a natural process, and we all accept it as such. I've been involved in setting up Derby's first bird reserve a couple of miles away. When last year we saw it flying overhead and stooping vertically down at great speed to take our sand martins from an artificial nest bank we'd built, we were deligthed to see it hunting there. We wanted the sand martins, but we also wanted the peregrines, and it was good they were going to help feed such a beautiful bird and its family.

helenhoward said...

seems I have missed all the excitement over what was thought to be an injured member of the family. Thank heavens she is well now!!
I was quite shocked to see the large carcass on the web cam, it is almost stripped of all its meat!! It almost looks like the left overs from xmas dinner!!
It is 2029 and there is a bird on the edge of the box again.
I also think it is sad that the birds have to kill but as I tell my son when we are watching the tiger attack the zebra etc they cant just pop to mc donalds when ever they are peckish!!At least they dont kill for the sake of it like the human race!!

helenhoward said...

with our seeing niave or oversentimental i was really sh0cked to read from the derby project member that they would do very little should any of the birds get injured or become ill. Surely they would try and rescue it and get it to a bird sanctuary etc!!
2100 and the nest is empty so hopefully all "our family" are ok!!

Karen Anne said...

Thanks Dayton, unbelievable.

I also feel sad about the prey birds. I wish all creatures, including humans, were vegetarians.

Anonymous said...

sorry karen i love all birds but to see a falcon hunting in the wild is stunning .its nature at its best.a bit sad yes but i would not miss the hunt for all the world. only my opinion clive, matlock

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

Hi Helen and everyone

Whilst standing by my remark that "we would not wish to intervene" if something happened to the young peregrines, this isn't quite the same thing as saying that we would do nothing at all, under any circumstances.

I think I can speak for all the partners when I say that we would always wish to take a non-interventionist approach. They are not our birds and we are simply watching a natural process here, not managing a species as in a zoo. That said, of course we wouldn't stand idly by if one of our birds fell to the ground and couldn't fly, or have some other problem we could deal with. It was for that reason that we were on standby with gauntlets, boxes and mobile phones during fledging week, ready to drop everything at a moment's notice to rescue a downed bird. But to abseil down to a nest ledge to take a bird to a sanctuary when, chances are, it would recover in its own good time, would be unwise, possibly illegal, and certainly not in the bird's best interests. I believe there is a huge mortality amongst young peregrines, and losses are inevitable. Were we able to do something to help a bird, we clearly would. But balances have to be struck between welfare and interference. I apologise if this sounds patronising - it's not meant to be - I just thought I should explain how I view it.
May I give a story to illustrate the dangers of interfering to quickly?
There was a recent instance of a young fledgling bird of prey being found on the ground in a UK town by a member of the public, who rang the RSPCA. An officer from an adjacent town came out, "rescued" it, and took it many miles away to his own home in yet another town. He then rang a wildlife sanctuary on the other side of Britain to arrange its delivery the following day. Luckily, that sanctuary got alarmed, and made contact with who it thought were the people overseeing that nest site. It turned out not to be from that nest, nor indeed that town, and a huge effort then ensued to find out where on earth it had come from. The bird had to be returned to the original town and released, over a day after it
fledged. Had it simply been watched over and left in peace, or moved out of danger and taken back to its nest site, the problem would have been a minor one. I have no idea of the outcome in this story - and that's the worry. One can mean well, but so easily do the wrong thing. So I hope you would support our wish to be non-interventionist but, having given up six months of our lives to watch these birds, I hope you are assured that we have their best interests at heart, and not be at all shocked by our approach.

helenhoward said...

thanks for that reassurance I guess spelled out like that it does make sense. I mean the public is always told by the RSPCA should we find a chick or indeed any wild life supposingly abondoned we are suppose to leave it and watch from a distance in case parents come back etc and yes I guess i agree that mortality through injury or illness is just part of the natural process and it is natures way of keeping the numbers balanced.
AS i said at the time I was being over sensitive!!
Once again many thanks for all what you and indeed the other team members under tske. If we could swap jobs for the day I would be right st the front of the queue

Anonymous said...

As someone who has stood on the green holding my breath both this year and last when they fledged. ready to get someone to pick up a bird (I've seen the beak and claws!!)I have to agree that I would be concerned at removing a sick bird mainly because any recovery would be at risk in a different environment. Imagine how people who are kidnapped feel. She would not understand we were trying to help.