Monday, 25 February 2008

News Flash - Ravens on the Tower!

News is coming in from Tony, the Head Verger at Derby Cathedral, to say that a pair of Ravens are fighting with our peregrines in the skies over Derby. (dateline Monday lunchtime -12.30pm GMT) It seems the Ravens are trying to bring nesting material to the south side of the tower, much to the consternation of the resident Peregrines who are trying to see them off. For those of you watching the blog in the Derby city centre area, you might wish to pop over and see if you can catch some of the action. We'll bring you a fuller update when we know more. Follow this link for more on Ravens. Check the comments to this post for the latest news from watchers in town.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi nick its Andy Simpson i have been with Tony since twelve and its now 1.30pm and the Ravens are still bringing nesting material back. The peregrines are trying there best to see them off but without success, also a pair of local crows have mobbed the Ravens, the Ravens seem to collecting nesting material from a large tree just down St Marys Gate. Im still at the cathedral now so i will keep you and everyone eles posted if anything eles happens. Its well worth a visit if you area in the city centre today. Andy

Anonymous said...

Would the ravens frighten the peregrines away, i didnt think you got ravens in towns.do the ravens want to nest on the cathedral for the same reason as the peregrines.

Project Member (Derby Cathedral) said...

Further to Andy's comment - by 2.30, when East Midlands Today (BBC Television News) turned up it was quiet on all fronts. The Ravens had gone and the Peregrines were basking in their victory! One was on the tray, one on the gargoyle above - both preening themselves. The Ravens had been determined to build a nest on a gargoyle on the south side of the tower and were bringing some quite big twigs in - however the area they wanted to use is only about 2 feet square and much too small for their needs!!
The aerobatics of the Peregrines were a sight to behold and I was so taken up with the thrill that I actually missed my lunch break!!
At one point both Peregines were diving at full speed towards the solid tower only to spin at the last moment with talons outstretched, in an attempt to knock the interlopers off their perch - it was quite awesome!!
Whether the Ravens come back, only time will tell - you will need to keep an eye on this blog.
On a better note - Ravens do not seem to like bells ringing, everytime the clock chimed they moved to the roof of a nearby building!! It was also worth watching some pigeons joining in the fight on the Peregrines side!!!
More news as and when.

Tony

Ash said...

This thread has demonstrated wonderfully the power of this blog..an excellent piece of reporting and the link to to the Ravens even meant that my knowledge was increased as well. Well done to all!

Nick Brown said...

Radio Derby should run a live piece about the ravens at 8.45am tomorrow, Tuesday.
Nick B

Nick Brown said...

Following many decades of absence from the county, ravens have spread back across Derbyshire in the last 10 years or so and have even been breeding not too far from Derby city for a number of years (due to continued persecution there is a need to keep their nest sites a secret).
The ravens coming into Derby were a surprise though since, as far as I know, there have not been any records of this species in the city in the last 50 years at least.
I guess the pair are young birds looking to set up a new territory and nest site and, as with the peregrines, the cathedral tower seems like a nice tall cliff!
An added attraction must be the cached prey left by the peregrines - ideal for scavengers like ravens!
Whether the ravens could ever get sufficient twigs to stay in place on one of the gargolyes I very much doubt and there are no other flat places or ledges apart from the inside of the top of the tower which would be a very unlikely place for a nest.
So, I would expect the ravens to look elsewhere in the city for their nest site soon but perhaps they'll make a few more attempts to lodge sticks (and rob the peregrines) before they give up.
It seems very unlikely that the ravens could dislodge the peregrines from the nest platform which the latter would surely defend with their lives....
Time will tell!
Nick B

Karen Anne said...

I hope someone got and will post a video, she said hopefully...

Obviously, you guys need to build a second cathedral :-)

Karen Anne said...

Or photos, I'll be happy with photos :-)

Nick Brown said...

Sorry, no one video'ed the skirmish yesterday (it took everyone by surprise including Head Verger Tony Grantham). Tony phoned me and I could hear the peregrine's cries in the background as he told me what was going on above his head!
No one took any photo's as far as I know...you'd need a powerful lens to get decent shots....perhaps we can be better organised should it happen again!
Obviously the ravens don't get near the platform so won't show on the web cams...it would be very worrying if they did of course!!
Nick B

Anonymous said...

I went down to the cathedral at 17:00 (yesterday) no signs of the Ravens just one peregrine (female) on the east side center gargoyle.
The score so far :
Peregrine 2 - Ravens 0

I wish I could have been there with the camera! maybe next time.

Jon Salloway.

Project Member (Derby Cathedral) said...

Just back from the Cathedral where there has been no skirmishes all day. The Ravens have not shown up although many people have!!I even put my camera, and long lens, in the car to try to satisfy Karen Anne's requests!! All to no avail - but, as they say, tomorrow is another day.

Tony G

Ash said...

I had a look through Ratcliffe's 'Peregrine Falcon' to see if ravens had ever been recorded as peregrine lunch but could find no trace..if the ravens do return we may be able to add to Ratcliffe's list. I did notice though that pigeons seem to be the most common prey; perhaps the fact that some of our pigeons were helping out the falcons in the Raven Wars indicated that they were hoping to influence the peregrines to take a more lenient approach when the hunting season starts in earnest. Somehow, I think this will be unlikely!