Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Fledging approaches, donors & Watch Point reminder

Watch Points operate on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10.30 - 1.30 - so if you are within reach of Derby, do come down and see the birds for real! Unless (as it was today - 9th) it is raining - in which case there won't be one!
A quick note to thank recent donors who have contributed over £400 to the project. We are on track to get the income we need...but not there yet...so if you've been entranced by the birds but not donated yet, please consider doing so. The Trust office is open weekdays, 9-5pm. For details of how to donate please scroll down to the post below dated May 23rd.

As these two chicks are developing so quickly, it will only be a matter of a couple of weeks before they take their first flights. Ever since the project began five years ago, we have been aware that this is a very dangerous period for them. Unlike natural cliffs, the tower is narrow so when these youngsters make their first tentative flights, they circle round but often fail to make it back to the tower. Instead they crash into nearby trees, land on surrounding roofs or, failing that, come to ground.

In 2006, the first year the adults bred on the tower, one of the three chicks came crashing down to the ground - in fact, right onto the busy road behind the cathedral. Fortunately several people were watching and had the presence of mind to shepherd the bird off the road and into a nearby business carpark. It was a Saturday and the car park was empty.

Someone rang me up and I rushed down to town to see if I could capture the bird. Armed with thick gardening gloves and a net, I soon arrived to find a small crowd gathered, intensely watching the fledgling which ended up on top of a wheelie bin in the far corner of the car park.

I was able to catch the bird, a large female, and soon we had her safely in a cardboard box. We then trudged up the 189 steps to the top of the tower with the box calsped firmly in our hands. Opening the box, the fledgling soon took off across the roof, eventually hopping up onto the stonework and down onto a ledge. After some hours she made a second and more successful flight, ending up lower down on the tower.
In each subsequent year we have had to make rescues of at least one chick. In 2008, three of the four chicks came down to ground. One, a male and noticeably smaller in the hand than the 2006 female, was spotted outside a nearby pub early one morning. Again, I was alerted and managed to capture the bird - quite easily this time...




After the press photographers had taken their shots, we took him up to the top of the tower and released him directly onto the stonework. While the female flew round the tower screaming her disapproval, he sat there looking a bit non-plussed! Eventually, he too took to the air.









So, we can expect one if not both of this year's chicks to require rescuing.....time will tell!





Ever since the web cams were set up, several schools in the county have discovered that they make an excellent teaching resource. In particular, schools in Mickleover, South Normanton and Stretton Handley have made very good use of this free and accessible resource.

It's great that several Derbyshire schools have now set up thier own nest boxes with cameras inside them. The pictures from those cameras are brought together in one website (see below for the link).
Nikki Mahadevan, who teaches at one of the schools I mentioned above, writes:

Great Tits, House Sparrows, Blue Tits and Kestrels all feature in the
Derbyshire Schools Birdcam Project this year. Following on from a hard
winter and late spring, the nest box birds have had their fair share of
dramas. Some of the early broods failed and the young hatchlings have also had to contend with unseasonably high temperatures.


We've seen predation by great spotted woodpeckers and possibly starlings too.
In one box, House Sparrows are raising a brood having previously destroyed some
Great Tit eggs!


Although many of our chicks are expected to fledge by the end of this month, we are looking forward to the Kestrel eggs hatching early in June.



We wish these schools, both teachers and children, good luck with their endeavours!


Nick B (DWT)


Photo from Flickr - this one was taken on 31st May by Twwitcher to whom many thanks.

101 comments:

Ruth said...

My fingers are firmly crossed and I'm sending lots of moral support to the project team for the potentially challenging times ahead :-)

Joy said...

Thanks for all this updated information. The chicks are certainly developing their adult feathers and being left on their own much more.

The schools bird cams are fascinating and its great getting the youngsters involved. I have a grandchild at a local school with cams and he is very excited.

Lookin forward to fledging although it does get a bit tense

AnnieF. said...

An adult (falcon?) has brought them a snack but they're not mobbing her as yet.

Midge said...

Oooo, big wing stretches, but what scruffs the chicks look now! And how I wish they would move back to the other side of the platform where we can get a better view. Little monkeys.....

Midge said...

And as soon as I go back to camera, there they are on the other side being fed! Who says wishes don't come true.

AnnieF. said...

The youngsters are lazing about on the rhs, and there's a pool of blood/ remains of a meal on the lhs. Are they being taught to feed themselves now?

AnnieF. said...

There's an adult on the tower examining some prey, but I can't tell if it's new or what was already there.

KerrySuffolk said...

Dear Team,
Have just been looking at the post about the first flights of the chicks. I was wondering if it was possible to ring the birds if they are rescuded and need returning to the tower?
This could be done with minimal further intervention or stress than would already be occuring in rescuing the chick involved.
Do you get any feed back on any chicks ringed in previous years? It would be nice to know about it if you do.

AnnieF. said...

Both adults up on the tower, facing each other - one on the ledge, the other perched on the guttering. The youngsters are still slobbing about doing nothing much. Midge's "teenagers"!

AnnieF. said...

The falcon is serving their supper. I can't see what it is because her back's to the camera.

KerrySuffolk said...

I have to say the chicks are wonderfully camoflaged at the moment, they blend in really well with the poo encrusted side of the platform!

Nick B (DWT) said...

Kerry Suffolk: we've not had any feedback on any Derby-fledged birds so far. Seeing the leg of a peregrine isn't easy in the wild as you might imagine. Probably the only chance would be at a nest site somewhere including a bird returning to the nest from which it fledged.
The local guy who rings the chicks for us works full time so unless he was free and able to get down to the bird quickly we probably wouldn't be able to ring it before letting it go from the tower top....let's see what happens!
Nick B (DWT)

Pax (Canada) said...

8.13am, some wing flapping going on, and they have moved to the other side

Joy said...

Wow they are growing by the minute. As Midge says they are looking scruffy but this will soon go thinking back to the past.

Keeping everything crossed for them hope we don't have the same situation as last year with Cathy.

AnnieF. said...

The darker youngster is looking over the lhs ledge at a peregrine on a corbel below; the other is creeping towards the edge behind its sibling.

AnnieF. said...

They've both flopped down now, exhausted by their explorations. The lighter-coloured one is half-sprawled across the back of the other, with one leg splayed out.

AnnieF. said...

Now that one has got up and wandered over to the other side. Its sibling is still where it was but is looking across, as if trying to decide whether to follow.

AnnieF. said...

No, the lighter one has wandered back & appears to be prodding its sibling in the rear, causing a look of surprise/indignation.

AnnieF. said...

Looks like they're getting impatient for their tea - they are both pacing the rhs of the nestbox & glancing up hopefully.

AnnieF. said...

Now they're getting militant & have formed a picket-line at the front of the nestbox.

AnnieF. said...

The pair of them have just stood side-by-side on the lhs looking up, with their beaks open. I think they spotted an adult.

Alice said...

DISASTER!!
Just watching the chicks, one asleep and one wandering about then flicking to a diferent webpage for thirty seconds one has dissapeared! I really hope that it has not decided to take flight to early!! Hopefully i just can't see one and they are pressed together in the corner

KerrySuffolk said...

@Nick B, thanks for the info. If you had plans to ring any grounded birds you could guarentee they would fly perfectly first time and you wouldn't the chance anyway! So perhaps it's best that my suggestion probably wouldn't be possible anyway.

Nick B (DWT) said...

Alice: there are two chicks visible now (11pm). The front 'lip' of the platform is too high for chicks this age to fall out. Later they will stand on the edge but by then they will be fully feathered and have a pretty good sense of balance.
So far so good......
Nick B

zulu98 said...

Both chicks very active this morning with the bigger of the two "flapping" and "hopping" over the support bar in the scrape in preparation for inevitable fledging in a few weeks.

Anonymous said...

13.34 Lunch is up, I think. Anon

KerrySuffolk said...

Where have our fragile fluffy white chicks gone?
It's good to see them growing and looking so good.

Anonymous said...

10:30 the chicks get a wing-stretching lesson - photo on Flickr.
13:45
It looks like dad has just fed the chicks, then left them the prey to snack on later.
Joyce S in Derby

Steph (Canada) said...

Check out the Hamilton, Ontario chicks....they were banded on 1st June and checked and weighed. The weight info etc is on the website and makes for interesting reading male vs female!!

http://falcons.hamiltonnature.org/

Anonymous said...

Had a look at the Ontario chick information. Thanks for the link. Females are always heavier than males but the one female is roughly 50 per cent heavier than any of the males. Interesting to note the earlier guess of three females, one male. I wonder what the Derby chicks are? One male, one female??? Have the team made an informed guess yet?

Tww

Midge said...

Goodness me, the chicks change overnight! The breast markings seem to have come out of nowhere. How very privelidged we all are to be able to watch this amazing spectacle year in year out.

Many, many thanks to all the team for making it happen.

Kath said...

Who pinched their white coats during the night?!! They change so quickly.

KerrySuffolk said...

The chicks seem to double in size every day at the moment!

They are both standing on the rhs of the platform at present, looking expectantly upwards. I think they are looking at the adult on the tower hoping for afternoon tea to be on it's way!

Demelza, New York said...

I cannot believe how big they've gotten. It's almost like someone is taking them out at night and putting in new chicks...
Does anyone else get nervous they will fall out of the nest?

Anonymous said...

It's 09.13 and one of the chicks (the more adult looking one) seems to be standing on the ledge whereas the other one is coweing in a corner. Anon

AnnieF. said...

It's 12.29 and almost exactly the same thing is happening as Anonymous reported at 9.13 this morning - except that an adult is on a corbel below and I'm worried the one on the ledge will try to fly down there!

Craig said...

12:40 Morning ya'll. My how the little tiny angels have turned into big demons of the sky. Wonderful colouring coming through.

One's standing near to the ledge, providing lots of pictures for the people at the watchpoint now doubt.

Lovely large wing streatches from the older.

Glad to read you're on course for making your budget. I hope you hit it.

12:43 Think that's the Tiercel below the box on the wall, not sure how long he's been there, I've just spotted him.

12:45 More wing streatching from the older, I think the other one is just trying to get some shuteye in the corner.

TTFN

Erica said...

I'm becoming nervous. It's only my second year of watching and I remember how awful it felt last year as they teetered on the edge.

KerrySuffolk said...

One chick on each side of the nest platform, and one adult on the corbel below the lhs of the nest platform. The fluff is disappearing rapidly.

AnnieF. said...

The falcon was dealing with prey on the tower, while the more developed youngster was perilously close to the lhs edge and the other was flapping its wings at a safer distance - before my computer closed the webpage and restarted irself. Does anyone else have this problem? It keeps happening to me but only on this website. Odd.

AnnieF. said...

Two very restless youngsters. I didn't see when they were last fed, but they seem to be hungry.

Mary T said...

These look like totally different birds! They are so big now and have changed so much in a few days. Came down to the watchpoint this morning but they were being very shy and I only saw one head peeping over the ledge and a bit of wing flapping going on. Never mind, better luck next weekend hopefully.

Nice to meet the people down at the watchpoint today and good to look through the scopes.

Anonymous said...

Watch Point Report for Saturday 5th June.
A hot and sunny start to the day meant that the chicks were tucked down at the back of the nest platform and out of our view. Tony the Head Verger checked the webcam and assured us they were both present and correct!!
Both adults were not anywhere to be seen (despite checking the usual places) for some time again we felt sheltering somewhere out of the sun. Mum flew in around 11am and quickly settled down near the chicks (again out of sight from the ground) only being seen just before noon when she suddenly appeared on the edge of the platform calling loudly as a buzzard passed high overhead. At around this time, the tiercel put in a brief appearance flying low overhead in the direction of Sadler Gate.
The lack of birds was reflected in the number of visitors staying to look at the telescopes.

However as the sun went off the platform, one of the chicks became clearly visible from the ground and the number of visitors grew to reflect this. Eventually we had good views of both chicks and mum flew out from the nest to perch on a ledge just below for over an hour with everyone enjoying great views of her and at least one of the chicks. She eventually left on a hunting trip just after we closed the watchpoint giving good views as she soared to gain height before flying over the city centre.

AnnieF. said...

Looks like they're discussing the weather!

Mary T said...

Has someone been up and put two different birds in the nest box since I last looked? They look so different and grown up now and the colour of the feathers looks lovely.

Anonymous said...

I can only spot one on the webcams - where's the other one hiding? Has someone jumped off the ledge whilst I've been out at the garden centre?!?

Mrs B

PS - peregrine seen hunting over Long Eaton (about 10 miles from Derby) several times on Thurs - could it be one of the cathedral birds?

Nick B (DWT) said...

Mrs B: they're both there.....don't worry!
The peregrine you saw over Long Eaton (which is about ? 10 miles away from Derby) could have been one of ours or equally, could have been a bird from Nottingham (where there is a pair) or it could have been an unmated or immature bird....who knows! It's impossible to tell...
As to telling which sex the chicks are - it's all guess work at the moment. Possibly two females or one of each - the less well developed bird could be a male - perhaps! Had we been able to ring and weigh them we could be sure what we have but without that it really is guesswork, especially as the two seem to be at different stages of development.
Nick B (DWT)

KerrySuffolk said...

They are getting very adventurous now, hoping on and off the edge of the nest platform.

Joy said...

Wow aren't they changing. One keeps getting on the ledge, rather frightening adn worrying in case it falls. The downy feathers have almost disappeared. 9.40a.m.

To the project team I still keep getting the message 'error processing this form' All I have to do each time is press the publish your comment button so I know I am not putting in the wrong details

Anonymous said...

The left webcam seems to have froze @ 10.22.20,Even so,The fledgling seems dead,Cant see the other sibling ? Im worried

Joy said...

To Anonymous - don't need to be worried they are looking very healthy.

Just tuned in again 3.27 and can see a load of feathers, looks like a pigeon. Has the adult brought it in alive for youngsters to kill or was it dead and they had to pluck it.

Anonymous said...

I don't know whether the fact that the Derby birds have only two chicks, but they are much better developed when compared with nests in London (4 or 5 chicks) and Clydeside (at least three chicks). Must be a good food supply in Derby

Cheers ......... BobofFife

Nick B (DWT) said...

Tonight (Monday's) BBC Springwatch programme featured a sequence showing five peregrine chicks being ringed near Bristol. The programme can be watched on iPlayer subsequently via the BBC Springwatch website.
Nick B (DWT)

Tom Stephenson said...

22.10, and I can't see any chicks or movement in the roost - are my eyes deceiving me?

Nick B (DWT) said...

They're there Tom - don't worry!
nick

Anonymous said...

@ Tom 22.34 looks like they have just woke up, they blend in very well to the ledge when they are sleeping.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is totally awesome. I have been watching this since the eggs were laid, and it is amazing to see how quickly the chicks have developed. I feel I know them......

Mo Cole said...

What a show for free....Yes I feel I know the chicks from laying, hatching, loss off and now fledging ...... PRICELESS xx

Joy said...

They're looking fantastic if a bit wet.

I find it funny the mark on the camera lense, when a bird is in front it looks as tho its in disguise like they do on the TV when they don't want you to recognise someone's face.10.27

AnnieF. said...

Two very bedraggled-looking youngsters! They must be very close to fledging now, their plumage, even wet, looks magnificent.

AnnieF. said...

@ Joy: You're not alone with that "error" message - I get it on my computer , and at the moment I'm 100 miles from home using my daughter's computer & the same thing's happening.

Andrew L said...

Keep looking at the webcam. They are certainly flapping around a lot today. Getting their wing muscles strengthened I guess. Though doubtless they will first fly when I am not around, it is something I would love to see :)

Demelza, New York said...

I cannot believe how big and beautiful they have gotten. They are flapping quite a bit today..One on each side now. No room for 2 to flap in the same space. I'll miss them when the fledge..

Anonymous said...

8.6.10

We are now 36 days on from the last hatching. Not knowing whether these chicks were the first to hatch makes it less easy to time, ie if these are the first two to hatch it would make them 38 days old. Fledging is roughly between 35 and 42 days. It cannot be long before we see the chicks take to the air.

Anonymous said...

I think it was 9th June that the first bird fledged last year and of course the first egg hatched on the 1st of June last year and this year too.

Midge said...

Been a very fed up puppy this week. Lots of probs with my laptop but hopefully son in law has finally fixed it. Only been able to catch glimpses of our birds at work. Very happy to see one of them feeding from prey brought in by the adults by itself.

How quickly they go from fluff balls to scruffy adolescents to sleek adults. We are nearly there and they are looking good. After this season I don't think any of us could take any more tragedies.

@ Dear AnnieF - thank you so much for filling in all the gaps my d---n computer has created. I hope we meet on this site for many years to come!

pax canada said...

5.04am a lot of flapping going on with one of them

Midge said...

My son has just texted me to say that he heard on the radio that one of "my falcons" had taken its maiden flight. Anyone see it?

Nikki said...

Thanks Nick for wishing the Derbyshire schools luck with their nest boxes, it certainly helped :) All our small bird chicks have now fledged with a respectable number of chicks in each brood and, unlike in previous years, no dead chicks left behind! Some of our House Sparrow pairs have even started preparations for their next broods.

We are not without things to watch though, the project's five Kestrel chicks hatched a couple of days a go and of course, we will all be on tenterhooks waiting for the Derby Peregrine youngsters to take their first flights - any minute now judging by all the wing flapping going on!!

Joyce S in Derby said...

The young birds are being very daring this morning. Hope the rain doesn't spoil the watchpoint today.

Pam said...

Could the team please show the video of last year's hapless youngster falling from the ledge to THIS year's cocky youngster who is flapping about on the ledge!

Erica said...

The last bird flew on the 12th June last year, according to the captions on my screen shots, and I have them all wondering whether to go on the 10th and they had certainly flown by the 11th. So any minute now.

Zulu98 said...

Forgive me for the names I have given the "chicks" but we found it easier to identify them! Just lately Perky Peregrine has been sitting on the ledge flapping and should fledge any day now. Pinky Peregrine is just a tad less adventurous leading us to believe that he/she is a bit younger than Perky.

We, as a family, would like to thank the Cathedral Staff, the team, the watchpoint people and of course fellow bloggers for making this experience so enjoyable, see you again next year - fingers crossed.

Brian said...

PEREGRINE WATCH ABANDONED
At 9:30am the decision was made to run today’s watch, well at the time it was still dry but cloudy. However by the time we reached the cathedral at 10:30am it was pouring down with rain, why do the weather forecasters get it right when you hope they won’t.

So we had 2 soggy chicks and 2 soggy watchers, with one parent on the ‘I’ of Jurys Inn and the other nicely tugged away in the arch of the large louvered window. Well the 2 soggy watchers thought the latter had made the best decision and abandoned the watch for the day.

There will more watches on Friday and Saturday, by the look of the chicks progress they could well fledge during the watch, so why not come down and see it for yourselves.

Andrew L said...

I was just wondering why they had suddenly given up all that flapping around. Then I read it. Rain! Glad it's not just us in London that has it!

Phoebe said...

I haven't been able to post for a while but I have been watching when I can. I can't believe how they have grown. They are looking very healthy indeed. At this moment in time it looks like it is very noisy up on the scrape, the juvies are squawking all the time and looking up at a parent on the top of the tower. I hope to be there to see them fledge on Friday if they don't go tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

One of the chick is living dangerously sitting on the ledge with its back to the 'wild blue yonder' of Derby! Anon

Terri said...

Aren't they just the most beautiful amazing birds you've ever seen? Anyway, have been quietly watching, and promise to send in a donation just as soon as my birthday cheque has cleared... Fingers crossed for successful fledging.X

Craig said...

Morning ya'll sorry I've not been around, internet has been out for a few days following a thunderstorm.


17:42
My how they have grown, wonderful.

Two hiding in next to the wall column, looks like the Tiercel (could be wrong) on the tower.

ttfn

KerrySuffolk said...

Just nearly had a heart attack! Thought one of them had flown but on closer inspection one was perched on the edge and the other was burying it's head in the corner of the nest platform and looked like it was saying "Me? Afraid of heights? Must be some other bird you are thinking of. Just excuse me if I don't go near the edge of the platform!!!!"

Craig said...

19:46 The falcon has landed in the nest box, no food.
19:47 She's flown off and gone back to the tower.

Midge said...

My son was obviously wrong. No maiden flight today and, if I was a ganbler I would say Saturday. Not QUITE fully fledged yet but Oh so close.

Another two beautfiul birds to grace out countrydsi. H0w privedlieged are we to witness this miractle of nauture.uhqe0w11

Steph (Canada) said...

Can't believe how they've grown!! I've watched the peregrines for about 4 years and each year it amazes me how quickly they change.

Beautiful plumage!!! (sorry Python fans!!)

The kids will soon be leaving home.....

Anonymous said...

Has one of the chicks taken off for the first flight? Anon

RJ said...

Watching last night and the two were lying side by side. From that it looked to me as if one was clearly bigger than the other, and I think the one that has slightly more down showing still, so the younger. I also think that’s the one who’s not yet got the hang of the ledge, which would make sense – a couple of days makes a difference I suppose. So the younger is a female and the older a male? Looking at the older one, the one who does perch, it has still quite a bit of down compared to the photos of previous year’s rescued, so a couple more days before the off. I don’t suppose the rain encourages flight either. Saturday’s forecast for Derby looks ok, so maybe that’s the day?
RJ

Mo Cole said...

Think they have had a lay in this morning (can't blame them with the weather) they have had me quite worried xx

Anonymous said...

I reviewed the video clips of the first chick to fly the next (accidentally) last year and also the following clip where one chick looks as though he/she is about to leap over the edge and changes its mind. Very amusing.

For those who may have missed them the clips are the second and third from the end on the 2009 Video list or, optionally, copy and paste the following link into your browser bar and you will find them near the bottom of the list of videos:-

http://derbyperegrines.blogspot.com/2009/01/video-clips-2009.html

Tww

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post re video clips. I didn't know they were there. Really interesting. Weather in Derby looks awful the last few days. I keep returning to look at the webcam expecting one to have gone. Good luck birdies

AnnieF. said...

Relieved to see they didn't fledge while I was on the train home, but I think Midge is right - it could be Saturday. I hope they do it while the Watchpoint is on. The weather forecast is a bit more cheerful for the weekend.

Midge said...

They wouldn't dare fledge whilst you are not around Annie!

I think one may go a couple of days before the other judging from the plumage. However, they have been pretty sedentary today whereas I would have expected a lot of flapping going on if one was planning to make its maiden flight tomorrow. Glad I didn't place a bet!

AnnieF. said...

Mum's brought tea. Can't see what it is yet, but the youngsters are very keen.

AnnieF. said...

She's feeding them! Typical teenagers, letting Mum do it all.

AnnieF. said...

She's flown to the tower with the remains of the prey, & it looks as if she's cached it in the guttering.

Craig said...

18:18 Feeding time, brought in by the Tiercel, I think; not quite sure. Nope I'm wrong, it's the Falcon, I'm sure... somewhat.
It's hard to tell when all you see is the back.

Can't ID the food, some white feathery thing.

What lovely breast feathers the Juvies have.

18:35 Food has just flown.

KerrySuffolk said...

Lots of wing flapping and standing bravely on the edge of the nest platform by the larger of the two babies.

AnnieF. said...

Can anyone identify that white-and-black shape on the tower? It's been there for some time, quite still, and I can't make out if it's prey or someone's scarf!

Midge said...

Opposige RJ - the larger is probably the female. Big budgie ladies over small budgie males in the peregrine world. Not altogether clear yet though as the smaller bird hatched later than the larger one (much more fluff still in evidence). Little bird could still catch up with big bird. All the drama meant the birds were'nt ringed this year. Time will tell.

RJ said...

@midge, 21.45 – yes, the larger is the female, I think that’s what I said? Larger yet younger?

Phoebe said...

I see the youngsters are giving a good show for the watchpoint today. The falcon is on the corbel below the scrape. I wonder if they will fly? It is getting warmer and sunny now so they may try.

I will not be able to be there today unfortunately but will watch the cams as much as I can. Hope the watchpont goes well!

Anonymous said...

Both birds are looking adventurous this morning although only one is perched on the ledge but they both look as though they are ready for flight. Anon

Midge said...

RJ - the females are quite a bit bigger than the males. Not obvious unless they are together. It is quite possible that a large female is younger than her smaller brother