Monday, 31 March 2008

Egg No. 2

Derby webcam multi-image view. Click to enlargeA second egg was laid sometime early on Monday morning. Our male promptly sat on them until noon, leaving our female peregrine falcon high up on the projecting lead gutter on the top of Derby Cathedral's tower.

So on the right is the first picture we were able to capture but, over in Holland, Froona has been watching far harder! She beat us to it, getting the picture below up on her blog well before we did, and it was Karen Anne in the States who kindly told us that she'd posted it. So I've just stolen this picture from Froona's blog to show every else. What a crazy world it is - it just shows the network of peregrine enthusiasts who are avidly watching every moment of this year's peregrine breeding season in the Northern Hemisphere.
Many thanks also to those who left comments on the blog to report the appearance of this new arrival. Following a remark from one reader about how annoying it can be to have everyone's comments appearing in reverse order, we've now added a box in the left hand side-bar to let you see the five most recently added comments. Look under the "2008 Photo" and simply click on that comment to go direct to that blog entry and its feedback. Please let us know if you find this helpful. To leave a comment you will need to type in a series of code letters which is aimed at stopping spammers. You can aways email direct at

(New visitors to this blog may wish to read an overview of the peregrine project, or have their names added to our mailing list for major news items.)


Anonymous said...

Hurrah - this egg-laying is getting exciting again, like waiting for the fledging last year. If this makes it a crazy world then three huge cheers for craziness. In the UK, I understand there's a piece about urban peregrines in the newspaper "The Telegraph". It's left out Derby and my own beloved Aylesbury but never mind. As far as I'm concerned, Derby was the first and remains the jewel in the crown. You have a fabulous pair of peregrines and a smashing project. I'm just nipping out to buy myself that newspaper now.
(and I'm still blogging whilst at the Magistrates' Court .... but is IS my luch break, honestly!)
Sue, Wycombe Magistrates' Court & Wendover

Froona said...

Congratulations! A second egg.
The parent was picking up stones and started to lean forward. I was hoping to get a glimps of the second egg, and YESSS there it was. Catch and had it on camera.
Hope there will be a third one in 2days!!

Anonymous said...

Wow!! 2 eggs we have been watching since early march. well done !, the Derby project.this is our 1st time to blogg !!
Cherrill &David ,Kegworth

Anonymous said...

Pax B.C. Canada 3.36pm
There the eggs are all alone in the nest, but being watched over I am sure :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a great site. Found u last year and enjoying again this year, followed all through the winter months. Two eggs so far I can't wait to enjoy all the excitement of the chicks growing. Thank you all at Derby Cathedral. Janice. Bletchley UK

Anonymous said...

Somebody told me that owls always start incubating there eggs from the very first one to be laid, which is why most owl chicks are all different sizes, but our peregrines start at the end of laying,is this correct and if so what are we seing her do with the eggs she is on right now. Sorry to ask such a strange question. Steve White, Derby

Anonymous said...

Following on from Steves question, do you think the last egg(s) to be laid has a better chance of hatching than the first egg(s) purely because they're not left alone as much? (and get colder/fluctuate in temperature more)?

It seems as though she is sitting on the eggs more regularly now, in comparison to before the second egg was born. That's why I wondered.

Also, is there any evidence to suggest that birds in general know when an egg is a dud/unfertile?

all the weird questions are coming out today :)

Anonymous said...

Steve, you might find the answer to your incubation question on Froona's blog. There is a link on this Derbyblogspot page. If you go to the right hand side of her page and scroll down to 'incubation' there is a lot of information there. She is very well informed on all matters falcon. There is also excellent information on a US website called Animal Diversity at Michigan University Museum. If you Google that name and in the search box enter 'falco peregrinus' you will find much information. I am sorry I don't think I can link it here. Hope this helps. Veronica in Cornwall.

Stephanie said...

Just thought I'd let everyone involved in this project know the delight it caused today! I showed the web cam to my class of 5/6 year olds and they were mesmorised! We were lucky in that we got to see the eggs and both birds. The children were amazed that it was all happening as they were watching it, rather than it being a still photograph. We got lots of good discussion and they have been begging for the rest of the day to have another look! I've promised we would be checking back every so often!

Nick Brown said...

Loads of questions! Here's a few quick answers:
By starting incubation right away, owls produce young of different ages. This is an adaptation to a fluctuating food supply (vole and mice numbers are well known to cycle from abundant one year to scarce the next). Often the smaller chicks die (or are eaten by their bigger siblings) and the brood size is reduced to match the food supply.
Peregrines by comparison have a much more reliable food supply and usually rear all their 4 (even occasionally 5) young. So synchronised hatching makes sense.
The reason the peregrines are covering the first and second eggs is to keep them warm (during what has been a cold snap of weather). Serious incubation - when she gets right down and opens up her hot 'brood patch' on the eggs -won't happen until at least the third and probably the fourth egg is laid.
The last egg is often a bit smaller than the first three, so probably is slightly less likely to produce a strong youngster than the others.
Some birds sit on addled or infertile eggs for weeks after the 'expected' hatching date. However, if say two of the four eggs hatch, the parents will start feeding these immediately while continuing to brood the other two eggs (and the small chicks). This happened last year on the cathedral. Gradually they just ignore the unhatched/dud eggs and focus their attentions on the two chicks.
As Veronica says: check out Froona's website for further information on these things.
Nick B

Anna of Ripley said...

All very interesting stuff - why is it us humans need to know every last minutiae of everything. Thanks so much for all your explanations ...... and questions, which I sit here and wonder about.
I'm in awe of our Peregrine family - it all comes so naturally to them.

Looking forward to another egg!

Anna of Ripley

Anonymous said...

I guess if we didn't naturally want to know every last minutiae, there probably wouldn't be so many webcams up there in the first place :)

Thanks alot Nick, and the rest of the team, fantastic!

Karen Anne said...

With the peregrine Dads doing some of the incubating, do they have brood patches?

Nick Brown said...

As far as I know they do have brood patches but being smaller have difficulty covering the eggs as well as the she's the main incubator and only allows him short spells on the eggs! Us hopeless men eh?
Nick B

Anonymous said...

Great stuff,as ever.Are R.S.P.B.officially involved? "AND" there is another pair not far away!


Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

I answer to "ringer" - no, we're quite unusual here in Derby in that ours is one of very few serious webcam projects where the RSPB is not involved. In a way we're proud that its a partnership between a local authority Museum, a county Wildlife Trust and a Cathedral. (Some might even say that's why it's so good - but I wouldn't dare, of course). Last year, Bill Oddie on UK TV suggested in a rather odd sort of way that we'd somehow followed the lead of the RSPB in putting up webcams. They have a national "Aren't Birds Brilliant Campaign" - which is a great strapline. We just think that "Peregrines are Perfect" is somehow more apt for Derby. Perhaps we should start using it.
You can always check out the RSPB's webcams at this address:
There will be a small piece in The Birmingham Post tomorrow (Wednesday) about our project, as they now have peregrines in a couple of Birmingham sites and are keen to see them used as part of their city's "tourism offer" in much the same way that ours have become in Derby - albeit rather accidentally. (But even better is when we hear of 5/6 year olds being mesmerised by seeing the birds on camera or in real life - now that really makes it all worthwhile.)
Nick M.

Anonymous said...

Hey Nick without you "useless" men,
we would not be watching this, you and your cohorts are the ones who got the nest up there and the ones who look after it, my hat is off to all of you who give your time to this labour of love :):)

Pax B.C. Canada 7.28pm

Anonymous said...

Pax B.C. 2.09am
Wow a third egg!

Anna of Ripley said...

Just logged on and what did I see - THREE EGGS - Yipee. Well done Mum.

Anna Ripley

Anonymous said...

I think the third egg may have been laid arround 8:30am this morning. I logged on and mum looked like she was laying but she sat down immediately afterwards and would've give us a peek! Thank you so much to all the team working on this project. Without dedicated folks like you we would never be able to see such rivetting stuff, I haven't watched TV in days!!!
Angie, Derby