Thursday, 14 May 2009

Schools and Webcams

Many local schools are avid watchers of Derby Cathedral's Peregrine Falcons, often watching the live webcam feed on their electronic whiteboards. Of course, most schools are blocked from viewing YouTube videos and blogs, which is probably a good thing bearing in mind some of the content we see. But many children do read this blog with their parents at home, and we welcome you all. (Perhaps grown-ups could bear this in mind when leaving comments that children might read? Technical terms can sometimes be a bit hard to follow)


Last year we reported that a number of schools across Derbyshire had installed nest boxes of their own, and had joined together to share images from their nest box cameras. It’s called the Derbyshire Schools Birdcam Project. This year even more have joined and all are now enjoying the opportunity to witness the nesting habits of birds at first hand.

Not every school has been lucky enough to have activity in their own boxes - that's nature for you. But they can all enjoy the successes of other schools through their project website and blog. Each school also has their own birdcam blog where children, parents and members of the community record their observations. All comments are moderated prior to publication online, of course.

Right now there is plenty to watch in the school boxes:
The first blue tit chicks hatched out over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend. This was followed by a succession of hatchings in other boxes including two great tit broods, with the final couple expected by this weekend. This year, the project schools are also enjoying images from a camera set up over a kestrel nest site at Povey Farm near Dronfield. Six eggs have been laid with the chicks due to hatch towards the end of this month."

Next week Derby Museum & Art Gallery welcomes the children from Brigg Infants on a school educational visit to trial run our new peregrine falcon teaching session. Here's some work they did based on our birds last year:





For schoolchildren it’s probably far more exciting to watch a blue tit feed a caterpillar to baby birds in their own school nest box than it is to watch peregrine falcons miles away up a Cathedral Tower. But all around us spring marches on, and very soon UK TV's annual "BBC Springwatch" will be starting. This is a two week opportunity for the whole country to stop what it's doing for one hour each evening and sit enthralled by some of the most amazing live views of UK nature that TV engineers can provide. Still not as good as your very own blue tits and peregrines, though!

________________________________________________
Here are some images uploaded by viewers to Flickr today.
First, a great compilation by showing how the chicks grow and develop so rapidly by rejsharp.

growing chicks

by rejsharp
Derby Peregrines 117

by Marski2009
14 may 09  tiercel and feral pigeon

65 comments:

wayne1984 said...

any predictions on the sex of the chicks???? my prediction is two of each

Karen Anne said...

What kind of bird laid nine eggs? Now I am wondering about average clutch sizes per bird type... I would think it would be hard to feed to fledging more than a few young. Maybe the young have a higher mortality rate in the birds that lay large clutches, and that;s why the clutches are large (chicken and egg problem.)

That nifty rejsharp photo is cut off is cut off on the right side in my browser, but I have already seen it on flicker.

Karen Anne said...

Here is an interesting photo I happened across on the web, of what peregrines' nests look like in the wild. I hope this doesn't violate the Derby info only request.

It looks pretty cozy for a bunch of gravel and stone.

click for photo

Helen said...

@Karen Anne - it was a Blue Tit that laid the nine eggs. They've started hatching this morning! But as you say there is quite a high mortality rate amongst them.

Anonymous said...

Pax Canada 3.05pm
what a wonderful program you have over there, and I know some of the children got involved after watching our falcons over the years. I am sure the children will enjoy their trip to learn about the falcons.
sorry saying our falcons sounds a bit possessive.

Anonymous said...

pax Canada,
looks like mumis really trying to shelter her chicks

Sue in Bucks said...

I may be "Sue in Bucks" but now I'm going to claim a special relationship with the school projects. I was delighted to see reference to Dronfield because that's where my husband lived nearly 50 years ago. He went to St Peter and St Paul's school in Eckington, Well done Dronfield having a really cool kestrel!!! What a fabulous project, well done all you lovely folk in Derbyshire. And kids, I don't know if you know it or not, but you are just so lucky with all the nice people who've set these schemes up for you. Enjoy your birds!!!

Phoebe said...

@ Sue
I agree it is so good to see the children being interested in wildlife, something I thought was left out of schools these days. Well dome to all concerned!

Roger (AT) said...

I love these school projects where the children can learn so much; the biology of birds, the technology of webcams, and a few hard facts of life when a chick or two does not make it. From such projects, a lifelong interest in wildlife may spring.

The birds in my garden sit on the nestboxes (safely out of reach of next-door's cat) and use them as tables when eating sunflower seeds, but do they even peep inside?

Latest views from the tray show the bedraggled falcon still shielding the youngsters from the rain. The weather forecast indicates that she has a damp day ahead.

Fiona Arrowsmith said...

@ Roger- You do get up mighty early!

Anyhoo, i can't stress enough how vital it is that children are nurtured with a love of nature from the very earliest moment. My sons school is watching the peregrines at Derby and they are fascinated. We live in quite an industrial area (the potteries) and not all children have the same access to such wonders. as a family ourselves we are always out and about on nature walks trying to spot different birds, animals and i love nothing more than being able to tell them what i can about the wonderful natural worls around us.
At my son and daughters young age they are full of questions and a thirst for knowledge and every day they ask about the peregrines and we watch them on the webcam. ( My two year old daughter keeps wanting me to draw one....... I won't give up the day job just yet!)
Well done Derbyshire schools for having such a wonderful project! I for one would love to see something similar here in Stoke-on-Trent.

And yes poor mum does look a bit soggy this morning, i'm sure she'll cope with a bit of the Great British weather!! :)

Fiona Arrowsmith said...

Just logging off as we're away for a child free weekend so i shall look forward to reading through the comments and looking at the pics on flickr on Sunday evening. I'm sure i'll see a big difference in chick size by then! I shall miss watching for a couple of days, it's enthralling! :)

Anonymous said...

Pax Canada 11.45pm
Yes the chicks look a little wet, its a long weekend here too and rain is forecast for us too, but then the west coast climate is similar to yours

Kishore said...

One of the chicks has just wandered off to the other side of the nest - mum kept an eye on it but she has now flown away and the chick is still on the other side.

Anonymous said...

Re my post last night 4 out of 5 nests feeding at the same time.

It was just an obsevation nothing implied by it the nests were one in netherlands 3 UK and one in San Francisco so not the same time zone I have been watching and studying peregrines for 45 years so I know it was just a fluke.

Phoebe said...

Mum gave a short feed at 08:45. Tiddler didnt't seem to want much and was at the back. Mum flown off now and all four chicks are huddled together.

Ann, Birmingham said...

@ Terry, Herts., UK
In case you really are interested in my writing, you can find my last article (April '09) on the ValeMail's website -
http://valemail.wordpress.com/
- by clicking on "WRITERS" at the top of the page. You'll be able to confirm for yourself my prior interest in peregrine falcons, from a reference in, I think, the first paragraph.

Phoebe said...

Feed time..

wayne1984 said...

i didnt see the feed????? i thought mum was going to but i do not think she had anything, i have to say that they all look very well. here is hoping all four fledge and suvive although i know that the possibility of this is not all that great.

Phoebe said...

another feed!

wayne1984 said...

i have seen that one ha ha ha, must of been me just missing the first one

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

Looks like the Jury's Inn crane is being dismantled today. They've bought in an even bigger, extendable crane to do the job.
If you thought abseiling off the tower looked precarious . . .

wayne1984 said...

right i think it is about time i braved the weather and got myself down to the green for a time.

Phoebe said...

Didn't see Tiddler get much this time either ??

Sue in Bucks said...

There was just a feed, and talk about every man for himself. All the big bruisers were up the front with a rather bemused "tiddler" at the back. I'm not sure if mum managed to give him some food or not (I was too preoccupied "Irfanning") He looks fine though, smaller than his big siblings, but growing fast too. Doing incredibly well considering that some of us were Doubting Thomas's and never even thought his egg was going to hatch!
I echo Roger's lament about the vacant nestbox - my local blue tits have yet to use the box we put up for them. This is year 3. To be fair, they thought about it this year - there was much popping in and out and inspecting, but no moving in. Maybe there's hope at second brood time? (if blue tits second brood? Maybe not as they have so many eggs) Karen Anne was surprised at a clutch of 9 eggs - I'd mention that our locan swan has just hatched 8 cygnets - and swan eggs are MASSIVE. What a huge investment in resorces that was for her.
Good watching today, fellow Derby watchers!

Roger (AT) said...

Tiercel? is watching the crane being dismantled - seen on puddingcam.

Phoebe said...

@ Roger

I thought it was mum on the pudding cam... Saw her fly off and then one appeared on the pudding cam.

Phoebe said...

she has a different stance and her tail looks longer.

Roger (AT) said...

@ Phoebe:
I am sure you are right! I can never tell. My suggestion of blue and pink ribbons got rejected - cannot think why :)

Phoebe said...

I need to go out soon I hope someone can get pix ?

Karen Anne said...

What is that thing in the pudding cam view? Is it as close as it looks, or is it part of the new crane?

Anonymous said...

I believe it may be a crane taking down the original crane that built the building. Hopefully the view will improve when both have been removed.

Julie said...

I love this site and the Peregrines and am now a very regular visitor but, as a relative newbie, can I ask what might be a very silly question - why is the right hand camera called the pudding cam? I keep expecting to see the male tucking into a jam roly poly!

Roger (AT) said...

@ Julie:

The story of the pudding cam is quite entertaining. Go the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project main page, and put pudding cam into search - under a section headed "mucky lens" you will find links the info.

Julie said...

Roger - thanks for that, but the search came back negative for that term. Tried searching for "mucky lens" as well but no joy.
Am I missing something or has it changed?

Kishore said...

Feed time - can't see what they're being fed on. Whatever it is its very small. I guess hunting would be difficult in this wet weather?

Kishore said...

@ Julie - its called a pud cam 'cos the camera looks like a xmas pudding.

Julie said...

Now why didn't I think of that! Thanks Kishore!

Phoebe said...

Who is that feeding the chicks it doesn't look like mum?

Phoebe said...

This is a nice feed the chicks are sat in a semi-circle - very orderly!

Phoebe said...

I think it was um feeding th chicks, she is now sitting on the edge of the scrape and keeps shaking the rain off her, she is very wet!!

Phoebe said...

Someone is zooming in on the nest cam i think to see what is in the scrape

wayne1984 said...

Hi everyone, i am back and very wet, but just a quick report of my sigtings i witnessed today, the male was sat in one of the circular holes at the top of the archway above the nest, {keeping out of the rain unlike me} and mum was sat with the chicks, just before i left mum flew off but i lost her behind the cathedral. i did not stay too long due to the weather. can any of the project team advise if the watch point is still going ahead tomorrow as the weather forcast is not good.

wayne1984 said...

feed time again!!! they are getting a good feed today which is good.

Kishore said...

Feed time

John B (not the sloop) said...

Seeing as the Jurys Inn hotel chain is now getting uninterrupted free advertising from the pudding cam I reckon they ought to be contributing towards the costs of future productions.

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

@phoebe Nothing in the scrape - but the zooming in was me inside the cathedral tower this lunchtime checking the camera was working OK. There have been times when it seems to stick. Have cpatured a nice video of a chick wandering around the nest, so will post this later tonight or tomorrow.

@watyne @everyone The Watchpoint on Saturday is intended to go ahead, despite uncertain weather conditions. Clearly, if its raining solidly all morning its unlikely then to run, but intermittent showers won't stop us. If the weather seems really bad, check the latest blog comments, as our stalwart volunteers have agreed to leave a message here should they feel it is not worth coming in to Derby to try and set things up.

BTW: Pudding cam is now showing the Jurys Inn crane now half dismantled.

Phoebe said...

Just had the biggest thunderbolt here in Ashbourne it's heading to Derby City!

Phoebe said...

got a snapshot of male diving - then appears in next shot with prey and is plucking it! will put on Flickr.

Anonymous said...

pax Canada 9.27am
mum just finished feeding the chicks

Phoebe said...

Aw I missed it!

Ann ( Canada ) said...

Well I just joined this Flickr thingy. Just have try and figure out hot to send my photo's to it. Any help PLEASE would be appreciated. You all already know how thick I am. Got the croping sorted though. Feel so bad for the bird in the rain, but we all need a shower I suppose. SIMPLE step by step instructions would be very much appreciated. Thanks a million.

Terri said...

I went over to Derby today to have lunch with some old pals in Chaddeston. Unfortunately I didn't have time to drive past the cathedral, it was just a flying visit, but it felt nice to be in Derby again anyway. I'm pleased to say that my pals (who are not 'bird' people) knew all about the peregrines due to local news, press, etc. and said that they are very well known Derby celebs these days!

Nikki M said...

This year at Stretton Handley Primary School, our Infant class has been watching our nesting great tits live with sound on our classroom whiteboard, whilst the computer has been uploading images to the project website for parents to see. The children have seen how much hard work the adult birds put into building a nest, laying and incubating the eggs and finally keeping a brood of chicks warm and well fed. Our first chick hatched during registration time on Monday morning, much to the delight of the watching children and adults. We have all learned so much from just observing the birds at such close quarters. We've even discovered that the adult birds remove poo (faecal sacs) from the chicks after they feed and even eat it during the first couple of days after hatching!

Phoebe said...

Tiercel just flown in with another catch!

Phoebe said...

Feed time...

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

@Ann (Canada)
We posted some basic instruction on one of our our blog entries for 29th April 2009.
Follow this link: http://is.gd/AdYk

Flickr also has lots of help pages of its own which sahould guide you through each step in more detail.

wayne1984 said...

told you that the male is comming good didnt i, whats that three cathed today alone that followed the two that he had yesterday plus any others that we dont know about. good times.

wayne1984 said...

just added some pictures onto flikr site for first time,
i would like to take this opertunity to ask colin what the life expectancy for adult peregrines is if possible

Phoebe aka Marski said...

@ Wayne - You're right I have just put pix on Flickr of stooping caught on pud-cam then plucking!

wayne1984 said...

i have added some of the ones i have taken, not got to the ones of the male catching prey yet but getting there

wayne1984 said...

right i think i am going to get an early night, hope to see you all tomorrow at the watch point.

Ann ( Canada ) said...

Thanks for the information will check on the blog entries of that date. Much appreciated.

maidment said...

i understand youer feelings on watching wild birds but to be fooled by rspb into donateing funds to distroy the rest of bird population is wrong can anyone off you tell me why the rspb distroyed the eagleowl in bristol dispite public anger that they were going to it seems the rspb is the biggest scam this country has today

Anonymous said...

I believe that the racing pigeon being eaten was one of mine, when you tag the young birds could you please retrieve the ring for me and let me know the ring number so that i can confirm that it was was mine!!!

Hope you are enjoying watching my birds being ripped to pieces.

nikkidev said...

It's being very exciting watching the Derbyshire Schools Birdcam Project kestelcam this morning, with 3 chicks hatching. Great news for the start of term tomorrow.