Monday, 23 February 2009

Chichester Peregrines

Cathedral Peregrine. Photo of an adult female at derby cathedral by G. Whitmore.The peregrine falcons of Chichester Cathedral featured this weekend in one of our national newspapers. Just like those at Derby Cathedral, they arrived a few years ago (in fact before ours) and have succesfully nested, raised young, and have been observed by thousands of people at watchpoints like those organised by our own Derbyshire Wildlife Trust . It's fantastic when local people can come along and view these amazing birds for themselves, though it's just as wonderful that so many more can watch the birds courting, egg-laying, hatching and fledging via their computers wherever they are in the world.

Here in Derby we're hoping we may be able to upgrade our third web camera on top of the Cathedral tower in the near future so that our nighttime shots are as good as those from the two cameras mounted on the nest platform itself. If we can do this we should get an even better understanding of their nocturnal hunting habits.

Female peregrine inspecting Derby Cathedral's recently refurbished nest platfomrIrrespective of whether there are webcams and watchpoints on Britain's urban peregrines, the next few weeks will see an increase in courtship and mating activity prior to egg-laying at all sites in the northern hemisphere, and many will be ahead of our own pair.
If you're interested to keep up-to-date with what''s happening at these other peregrine sites, and maybe get a sense of how our own pair of peregrines in Derby is progressing, you may find a blog in Holland of interest. It watches and reports on progress at a wide range of nesting sites in Europe and North America, and reflects the amazing recovery of this species from the brink of extinction just forty or fifty years ago when there were less than 100 pairs of breeding peregrines in Britain..

Meanwhile, this quad view image was captured from our live video feed this lunchtime, with the male perhaps wondering who exactly is watching him!


Ash said...

Would it be possible, or even desirable, to fix radio tags to our peregrine chicks? And how much would such a project cost?

Anonymous said...

Pax Canada 12.41am
wonderful close up on the pudding cam, and another falcon on the scrape

Anonymous said...

I have friends in Chichester, so I've known about "their" peregrines since before "ours" arrived. I was interested to read that they, too, had an artificial nest box, as I'd always supposed that they used an existing ledge.

Kate in Derby

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

Ash asked about radio-tagging.
I've discussed this with Nick Brown and we agree that, whilst radio-tagging might yield interesting results on the movement and spread of juveniles out from the nest, it's just not something that we'd do ourselves. Any radio tagging scheme would have to be done as part of a properly structured and funded scientific study. The project team here don't have the expertise or resources to do this themsleves, and so would not consider it. The chicks are clearly ringed, so we may well hear if they set up home somewhere else.

We would love our project to contribute to scientific knowledge and would consider any approach made to us for serious research. One idea we think our project could potentially help with is the study of night-time hunting. If a university somewhere wanted to install thermal-imaging cameras to detect the temperature of prey brought back at night, this could confirm or deny assumptions that peregrines use city lights to take prey during the hours of darkness.
I hope this answer helps clarify our position. As for cost, I'm afraid I have no idea - but it wouldn't come cheap, I'm sure.
Nick M.

Karen Anne said...

I understand that radio tagging is necessary when a species is really really endangered, but I always cringe when I see a beautiful bird with a cumbersome transmitter attached to it. If I were the bird, I'd be pretty upset.

Peregrine on the nest box and one at the pudding cam ledge as I type.

Karen Anne said...

Two peregrines, companionably at the pudding cam.

LYNNE said...

1 Peregrine on Pud Cam

1 Peregrine on Nest Box Ledge

9.56 am