Thursday, 7 January 2010

Caaw - that's amazing!

After the last amazing year with 560,000 webcam hits, plus the trials and tribulations of not all our four young peregrines surviving, we kick off 2010 with some exciting news. Yes, ravens have returned to Derby!

At lunchtime today there was deep and loud caaw-ing coming from the top of Derby Cathedral's Tower. A pair of ravens were on the highest ledge, and making quite a racket, too. Looking for all the world like an extra-large crow with a rather thick bill, this bird had been seen in a nearby tree by Simon, one of Derby Museums' gallery staff earlier in the week.

Normally such a report might have been dismissed as unlikely, but we know that two years ago a pair of ravens did show some interest in nesting on the tower. They brought in sticks to the top ledge, but all fell to the ground below.

That was also the first time anyone had every seen ravens doing anything more than just flying over the city - so it was quite exciting. They returned briefly last year, though did not show quite so much enthusiasm as in 2008. As you would imagine, our peregrines were not too keen on them, and there was quite a bit of "inter-specific aggression" shown. We suggest that any one passing through Cathedral Quarter in Derby over the next few weeks keeps both an ear and an eye out for them.

The picture above shows the two ravens in the bottom left corner. They were propbably raiding the peregrines' cache of food as I found the head of a snipe on the ground, just below where they were located. The image was snapped on my pocket camera this lunchtime whilst on my way out of the Cathedral with some even more exciting news. But we'll be telling you about that later on. Watch this space!


Pax Canada said...

Oh you are keeping us guessing :)
while it was great news about the ravens I thought it was going to be the big news announcemant. :D

Ann ( Canada ) said...

Wonderful news indeed, just wondering though how that will affect the peregrines? Will they be able to get along? Hope this will not be a problem for either species. Lets hope for the best as it will be fantastic if it all works out and they can share the space.

Anonymous said...

Joyce S: Just driven past Jury's and could see a peregrine on the Y. 08:45, Friday 8th January 2010
Joyce S in Derby

Anonymous said...

it would want a webcam on sign of the hotel

Gio said...

Though ignoring ravens'behaviour, I know crows often harass peregrines who don't like it at all! Ravens also were propbably raiding the peregrines' cache of food, as you told.
Very doubtful they'll share the space. We'll probably see some fight, but at the end the peregrines will chase them. ;)

Phoebe said...

It's good to be back in Derbyshire the snow up north was horrendous. Ravens on the tower! Does that mean we might have a Raven-cam? Is it likely that the peregrine could feast on the newcomers?

I can't wait to hear the good news... when? the suspense is too much.

Happy new year to everyone!

Anonymous said...

What happened to Monday's blog? Did someone complain? Didn't they read "content may be upsetting"? or whatever.

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

@anonymous Am so grateful to you for commenting! I was adding a small bit to the Monday post in the light of earlier comments and must have clicked "save" rather than "publish" which pushed it back into an unpublished draft form.
Cheers for that.

Anonymous said...

I would expect the Ravens to take precedence in choosing their nest site. They are bigger and nest earlier. Both species nest in the Avon Gorge in Bristol. Although they nest within 2-300 yards of each other, they never nest on the same cliff face. In Feb 1995, the Ravens had already chosen a site on a cliff the Peregrines wanted. I watched them bombing the Ravens and trying to remove them. The Ravens were very blasé about it.

On the other hand, a Peregrine will see off a Buzzard with no difficulty. They just fly straight at them.