Wednesday, 19 May 2010

News Update and Position Statement


Update 20th May 11am: The ill chick has now died and has been partly fed to the other chicks. Please click the comments link at the bottom of this post to read a range of observations by webcam watchers around the world which recount this morning's events.
Update 21st May 8am: both chicks visible while doing a Radio Derby interview about them this morning - and both adults sunning themselves on the gargoyles above the nest too!

Digiscoped photo shows one of the chicks looking perky! Taken 7.30 a.m. UK time, 21st May.


The paragraph below is now out of date as you can see from the updates above:
The three peregrine chicks on the nest platform at Derby Cathedral are still alive at the time of writing. Many of you have been watching closely since a second chick became ill on Tuesday morning. Despite all our predictions, it is still alive and has received much careful attention and protection from the Falcon (adult female). Despite its tenacity, it does seems highly unlikely to survive for much longer.

Poorly Peregrine

Not surprisingly there have been many comments left on this blog discussing possible causes and the appropriateness or otherwise of any intervention by the Project Team. It has been a pleasure to read all these views and to appreciate the different perspectives on the subject, even if seeing the chick via our webcams has not recently been so pleasant. Just as with the injured bird last year, we have had to think most carefully about what action we would like to take (and indeed what action we are legally permitted to take.)

The bottom line is that we shall not be intervening nor, unfortunately, shall we be ringing the chicks this year. Read on for further explanation . ..

Despite appearances (and some illness amongst the Project Team and families) we have not been idle these last few days. We share many of the concerns expressed on this blog and in deciding what course of action to take we have consulted with many people: local falconry experts, local veterinary experts, a national urban peregrine expert, DEFRA, Natural England and even Derbyshire police.




Since the near extinction of peregrine falcons in the 1960s, the legal protection afforded to these birds in the UK is amongst the highest of any species. Any unlicenced disturbance whatsoever to a peregrine nest site is regarded as a most serious offence (even if carried out with the best of intentions). In essence, we cannot just decide to intervene as all those involved would be open to police investigation and possible prosecution for disturbing a Scheduled 1 species under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act. There have been a number of incidents in Derbyshire affecting birds of prey recently, and the police advise us that there would be every likelihood that pressure would be brought to bear for at least a full investigation of each of our roles in such an incident, if not a prosecution for an unlicenced disturbance to a Schedule I species occurring in Derby. We are pleased the police take such a view as it clearly demonstrates how wildlife crime in our area is now taken very seriously indeed.

So, taking the advice of DEFRA and Natural England's Licensing Unit in Bristol, we applied late on Monday night for special permission to remove what we thought would, by now, be a dead chick, and had planned on arranging for post-mortem analysis to be carried out for toxins and parasites. One local veterinary expert suggested that, if parasites were proven, treatment could be offered to the other chicks at the time of ringing later this week, and he even offered to attend. Not unreasonably, our application to Natural England was rejected today on two grounds:
a) that any intervention or treatment to the other chicks is considered to be inappropriate, and
b) that any corpse could be retrieved at the time of ringing, meaning only one short period of disturbance, rather than two.

As with all other aspects of this project, we rely very heavily on volunteer input, and this includes ringing. Yesterday we realised that for the first time since peregrines started breeding here in 2006 our two bird-ringers would be unable to find a mutually convenient evening during the very short window of opportunity available for this task. So we have regrettably had to cancel our plans to ring (or "band") the chicks in 2010.

So late this afternoon we resubmitted our licence request simply to retrieve the chick should it die, without offering any other intervention to the other chicks, and we now await a second response. For a department normally offering a 15-30 day response to licensing applications, Natural England has been brilliantly efficient, and we will fully support whatever decision the national experts make. As a Project Team consisting of three respected organisations we need to show that we uphold the law at all times in relation to UK wild bird protection, even if it differs from that in other countries. Yes, we realise it is unpleasant to see another creature suffer - be they predator or prey, but our hands are tied in what must be regarded as being in the best interests of wildlife conservation. And even if they were not tied, we would still be making roughly similar decisions, possibly going down only to shorten its anguish if we could, as it will clearly not survive to adulthood.

We have always said how Derby's peregrine webcams have made us all fortunate observers of wild creatures, and not wildlife managers. We hope this explanation does clarify the situation in which we find ourselves, and we recognise that some of you will feel very differently. Meanwhile, despite the chick's obvious anguish, many of us have surely been impressed to discover just how much care and attention a falcon can give to a chick when it is poorly in some way and is calling out in distress..

Nick M., Nick B, Tony G.
Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project

137 comments:

Tom Stephenson said...

Well said, mates. It is probably none of our business to be even looking in anyway! I feel as detached from this situation as it is possible to be, and - as you say - it is a privilege, not a right to be able to do so. Just thinka of all the other little dramas going on out there right now, which are not covered by CNN!

Anonymous said...

Here , here for th project team !!God bless you xx

Joy said...

I agree with all you say. the disappoinment of not ringing is that we will not be able to follow the othere chicks should they survive.

I believe that you take this job very seriously and we should agree with what you say.

It certainly does look as though the other chick will shortly die and maybe - I hope not - but the other two also if it is a parasitic disease and the daed chick is fed to the others. again this comes down to mother nature and let her take the course.

Can I personally thank the team for all you do and the resposibilty and seriousness which you undertake.

To the team can you please tell me why on most occasions I get the message 'There was an error processing this form. Please try again'.

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

@Joy I'm not sure I can help you on this, Joy. Do you have to rewrite the comment again, or does it eventually get through? Could you have mistyped/misread the letter code that you're asked to retype?
And does anyone else get an error message on posting a comment here?

(One little tip: If you experience problems posting comments, before you hit the "publish" button, press Control-A, then Control-C. This copies and pastes what you've drafted into the clipboard, so you can paste it back in again with Control-V afterwards, rather than having to retype it all again.)

KerrySuffolk said...

Nick, Nick and Tony,

Thank you for the latest post. We are all grateful for your work.

I am glad that you are not going to intervene.

At present the chick, although possibly in distress, is tucked up with Mum and feels safe. Even if there was some chance of survival it would be wrong to cause it further distress by removing it from Mum.

It is sad to watch, but the team are doing the right thing.

Hopefully a better year next year.

It is good to see how quickly the other two now get around, won't be long till we start to see feathers!

Kath said...

I keep getting that error report as well. Then it will say password wrong. then it changes back to error report and so on.

To Anonymous - Don't patronise me. If I had a spina bifida child (and how do you know I haven't) I would definitely want interference. I would want all the help I could get. Same as this chick. It needs to be helped even if it means ending its suffering. You nor anyone else will change my mind. This is cruelty when we could do something. Regardless of police, DEFRA, experts and so on.

Phoebe said...

Thank you Team for explaining the most difficult situation. I am sorry to hear there has been illness within the Team and wish you all well. You have done a great job, as usual; Well Done!

It’s a shame that the ringing won't be happening this year, it would have been a good opportunity to check the youngsters. I hope the reply from Natural England is favourable then at least the sickly chick if diseased won't cause further harm to its siblings.

It does look like the other two chicks are helping the falcon to nurse the little one. I find the behaviour of our peregrine family quite fascinating and we are learning so much more about the psychology of peregrines.

Fingers crossed that Natural England give the go-ahead for removal of the chick.

@ Joy - I have no problem posting comments unless I type the letter code wrong, then it just gives another one and asks me to type it again.

Anonymous said...

Nick, Nick and Tony thank you for your dedication and commitment to the project which is so impressive. It has been a tremendous privilege to get this insight into nature at its best as well as saddest. It has been a tough time for you and so here is one who doesn't know you from Adam but who simmpy wants to say well done chaps and may you have some encouraging results eventually from the class of 2010!

Pax(Canada) said...

@ project members, thank you for your update, there was never any doubt in my mind that you would try to do anything you could, I know how much this project means to you, a shame you wont be able to ring the chicks.
I hope you and your families are now in better health.

Anonymous said...

Hello from Ohio, USA...I have been watching your chicks this year and in past years but have not commented for quite some time. I take heart from all the care and concern everyone has shown the falcon family. I know it is a bittersweet lesson we all are learning. If it is a small comfort, we have had many egg failures here in the middle of the US, and there is concern that the peregrines, though recovering, may be under stress from environmental pressures that are unfamiliar, as DDT is no longer used but other pesticides and poisons could be hampering their progress back from endangered/threatened as a species.
While heartbreaking, it is noteworthy that the female has taken almost tender care of the sickly little fellow, and the others have been seemingly gentle with it as well. The will to live is strong, very clearly - as it is clear these fierce and beautiful birds can also show care for a weak offspring/sibling.
My condolences to us all, this is quite sad in many ways. However your project team members have done an outstanding job - they deserve all credit for their hard work and dedication to this falcon family. Take care, everyone.
Jan in Dayton

Arjen Rodenhuis said...

Thank you for your clear explanation of the difficult situation which has arisen now.

RJ said...

Thank you team for the update and explanation. I’m with you all the way on intervention and was going to post earlier on the previous thread pointing out the legal constraints you would also have to consider; whether or not an intervention is ethical, the law is the law, be you ever so mighty. That doesn’t make the situation any easier for you and I for one appreciate the consideration you have undoubtedly, and demonstrably, gone through. The list of people you have taken the time (your own time at that) to seek advice from is testament to your concern. Well done.
RJ

Karen Anne said...

I hope the project team and family members who are ill get well soon.

I respectfully disagree with the comments in the previous thread saying that the chick would be handicapped if it were treated and survived. Since we don't know what's wrong with it, we have no way of knowing if it could make a full recovery or not.

Also, there is no way to know if this Mom's actions are unusual. We can't draw valid conclusions from a small sample.

Lastly, this is very painful for most of us, so like Kath may I also ask that the let nature take its path people refrain from being patronizing to those of us with different views. I am not anybody's "love," for example, on this list.

Gio said...

I think nature is giving us a very hard and also exceptional lesson. Though the little one is suffering (hope not so much, hope he's almost lethargic..) his mother is showing us what a peregrine parent can be. Once again she's great and once again every peregrine is unique. The sick chick is probably not going to survive, but the falcon will stay with him until the end. When a chick dies, as far as I know, his parents bring him away or feed the body to the remaining ones.
So, please, let it be.
If not interferring with life, why do it with death? I understand a desease could affect the other chicks, but I suppose it would already have happened, if so.
It's so important for the parents to deal their way with their kids, alive or dead!
Since you choosed you'll not intervene (I may not agree, but can understand), don't remove the corpse also because the law doesn't allow to treat the live chicks even if needed.
So let them be peregrines in their own peregrine way!

Thank you so much all and everyone, you are a great team indeed and your work and dedication are admirable!

Anonymous said...

I have been wondering for a little while whether it might be avian flu as the symptoms can be similar to those we are witnessing, such as sudden loss of energy, loss of coordination (this in particular), no appetite. Only by retrieval of the chick will we ever know what caused its ill health and possibly the death of the first chick. The two remaining chicks are far smaller than last year's chicks at the same age and are very lethargic in comparison. I hope if it is a virus they are now strong enough to withstand it.

Terry, Herts UK said...

Thanks to the project team for the detailed explanation & I add my support and respect to you for making some tough decisions.

I've been watching for much of tonight from about 1am. The falcon spent at least an hour on the ledge of scrape, preening herself and snatching periods of sleep. The chicks were huddled together with the sickly one sandwiched in the middle, out of sight. It's been a warm night.

It's now 0515 and the healthy chicks are awake and quite lively. I can only catch small glimpses of the sickly one but he appears to be alive and the falcon is being very attentive once again.

Down by one of the corbels, I have just noticed another large bird which might be the tiercel. Difficult to be sure but it seems to have a yellow bill, so hopefully it's Dad, having stashed breakfast somewhere nearby.

Terry, Herts UK said...

0533 - 0538 camera time.
Thew falcon dragged the sickly chick away from the brood by her bill. Then, perched on the ledge facing inwards, she picked him up and dropped him several times. He looked dead but I can't be certain.

The camera stream then froze for at least 30 seconds, so the next thing I see is her back on the scrape in a brooding position with the healthy chicks looking on. I'm not sure if the chick is beneath her or she has dropped him over the edge.

0550
Oh dear. She was concealing him. Now very difficult without a live stream, to tell if she is still trying to revive him or preparing him as food. I hope not the latter, in case toxins are involved.

0602
This is so difficult. I believe the chick is dead but she just dragged him back and inbetween the two healthy chicks again.

Don't think I can watch any more for now. Have detached myself as much as I can in order to tell everyone what I've seen.

Terry, Herts UK said...

I am sorry to report that the falcon is indeed now feeding the dead chick to its siblings :/

God forbid, the others won't become ill.

Anonymous said...

wheres the tirecel gone not seen him for 3 days its now 630 am mom feedind second dead chick to others,sure to god those i going to get sick aswell,very worried about dad though totally out of character.

ゆうじ said...

I've just watched the mother bird dismantling the ill chick and gave to other two.
Then mother falcon held remaining part (lower half of the body and legs) and flew away, maybe to the cache.

Erica said...

Thank you, project team, for last night's interesting and thoughtful post.

Fiona Arrowsmith said...

The chick.....It's gone!??

Has it been 'removed' or has mum taken it away? I just hope that if mum has removed that it isn't fed to the others, i would hate for them to catch whatever it was.....

Secondly, respect to the team. We all sit here discussing the way forward and expressing, in some cases very strongly what we feel is the right thing to do however it must be even harder for those directly involved as they are the ones with the final descisions to make, no-one likes to see another life suffer, the team must have felt very torn in this instance and i hope 'team' that none of you feel too sad about all this.

It has been very sad to watch, thank the lord the little mite is at peace now. Mum can now get on with being the wonderful mum she is to the other babes.
It's amazing what we can learn from nature, it never ceases to amaze me, who would have thought we would have seen such tenderness and caring from this incredible creature, what an honor to be part of her life and her families over the years.

Down in Worcester the female hasn't produced a family this year but strangley her daughter, Bobbin has stayed within the territory and struck up a relationship with a new male. It's almost as if she has 'bequethed' the family nest on to her. They seem to all be getting on quite nicely!

High hopes then for next year then, Let the skies be filled with these beautiful wonders of the natural world.

Craig said...

7:00

Many thanks for the update and a final on your position. As Phoebe says "Fingers crossed that Natural England give the go-ahead for removal of the chick" and doubly so that it's nothing serious that will affect the other two.

At this time in the morning I can't see the poorly one. I presume it's under the other two chicks as mum stands on the ledge.

Gio said...

Can't see the sick chick anymore for last night and don't now.. Is it just me??
Both parents in the nest some minutes ago.
Perhaps did they already what needed?

Craig said...

07:20 Mum's still on the ledge one chick has moved, still can't see poorly one. Mum's come down from the ledge, chicks have moved, either I missed seeing the poorly one between chicks and mum moving or it's vanished. She could be sitting on/over it.

Definitely not under the Mum.

Erica said...

One of the eggs of the Loch of the Lowes osprey is about to hatch. The webcam picture is much clearer this year and the close-up excellent. You can see the egg move. this might cheer up some peregrine watchers.

Anonymous said...

A sad situation, but thank you to the project team for explaining the decision not to intervene and the reasons behind that. I have not watched the webcams as regularly this year as many other observers, but whenever I've looked in over the last few days, I've been amazed by the care the falcon was giving to the ill chick. It has been very uncomfortable to watch, but it has also shown us a new side to this family of birds.

Thank you to the project team for so carefully weighing up all the options. Your dedication is clear to see.

Liz, Derby

Craig said...

@Terry - Thank you for telling us that series of events. I found it hard to read, hope you're ok with what you saw.

Hope the remaining two chicks will be ok.

Joy said...

9.02 just logged on to find the little chick has passed on, a little disappointed to hear it has been fed to the others - only hope they don't become ill.

@ To the team regarding my problem of error, I haven't put in the code incorrectly on any of these occasions, I just press 'publish your comment' again.

Tom Stephenson said...

To the project member - last night I had several notifications that my post had failed, so maybe you received about 3 times and only posted it once? If so, thanks.

Re the ill chick - if, as has been reported, the adult has fed it to the other 2, then this should be a lesson to all the other observers who insist on comparing the maternal behaviour of the adult to human activity and emotions. Being a 'good mother' in the peregrine world obviously includes this practice, and the camera was not set up by the Disney Corporation...

Anonymous said...

So sad to hear the little one has died but at least its not suffering any more. Thats nature for you i suppose and happens all the time. Lets hope the other two thrive. Must say they do look well at the moment and fingers crossed they stay this way. Having read the teams report they took the right decision not to intervene and without them we would not have the pleasure of watching these magnificent birds.

Midge said...

Thank you Terry for your post. I congratulate you for having the stomach to watch what must have been a horrible thing to witness. The emotion came accross in the words.

In a strange way I am relieved. Perhaps now the exponents of intervention will calm down and let the overworked team get on with their job. I am very, very impressed by the way they have taken expert advice at every stage and shared that with us.

The last post from the team, which is totally comprehensive, and comprehensible, explains the position in law regarding peregrine falcons and I am sure that none of us would want any member of the team to become subject to police investigation or prosecution.

Lyn said...

Can anyone tell me? Is Mrs P behaviour normal, she seems to be trying to protect the area where the chick was lying. Earlier this morning she seemed very unhappy when one of the other chicks was trying to pass her as if her chick was still alive and she was trying to protect it. What a sad time for the Derby Peregrines, lets hope mum and dad go on to rear two healthy birds.

Anonymous said...

I thought the female must be sheltering the two remaining chicks from the sun but looking at the other side of the scrape they are both there, what's going on? Why isn't she fussing over them?

Karen Anne said...

If the chick has passed on, what is the Mom sheltering now, when the other two chicks are on the other side of the nest box?

We have seen no substantiated evidence (photos) that either chick was fed to its siblings, indeed the first chick seemed to be removed.

I don't think I or anyone else needs any "lessons" from superior beings about the welfare of "inferior" animals.

I don't notice any non-human animals ruining an entire ecosystem as humans have lately.

Anonymous said...

thanks all for your bloggs i havent i am unable to watch the cam whilst at work (comp wont allow)therefore was sad to find out vis the blogg the chick has now passed on.
i honestly dont think pisoning guys so dnt worry as you could clearly see that it was the chicks leg that was causing the probs as had it splayed out i am just glad like a prev blogger said that the chick is now at peace!

slumpy said...

What is the parent doing? It looks like she is still brooding. The other chicks on the other side all alone. Surely she should be brooding them.

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

Nick B. has just confirmed that the falcon is currently sunning herself in the morning warmth. (wings and tail feathers stretched open).
No need to worry.
Thanks very much for all the feedback, and for the early morning observations about the death of the chick. We'll update the blog later today.

Midge said...

Hi slumpy. Mum is not in a brooding position, she is resting and sunning herself. The chicks rarely want brooding now but when they do she obliges. She's had a hard time of it, bless her. Time for a bit of 'me' time?

Please take that chip off your shoulder Karen-Anne. No-one is having a go at you and this is not the right forum for angst. Everyone watching is on the side of the peregrines.

Lyn said...

Thank you for confirming all is well with mum, will still feel happier when we see her devoting her attentions to the two remaining chicks

Terry, Herts UK said...

Karen Anne - It's upsetting for everyone involved to various degrees but be assured that I can sadly verify with absolute certainty that the chick died in the early hours of this morning and was subsequently fed to the others.

Believe me, it was distressing to watch and as you will see from the timings of my posts, I felt it was vital that I was as sure as I could be about what I saw before posting the details in this blog.

I knew it would upset some people and in times like this, it's only natural to cling to some hope that what you're reading is untrue. I now see the death of the chick as a blessed release. He/she is no longer suffering & the devoted parents are now free to lavish their attention on the healthy chicks. I pray they stay that way.

One last thing. If the sick chick had all its mental faculties, one thing is certain: It cannot possibly have thought it was not loved.

karen said...

I have just got the news about the sick chick dying, im so sad, and a little worried that it haas been fed to the other chicks. I really hope that they dont get sick as well, heres hoping for some good news now xxx

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for this experience for us all to see. They are such beautiful birds . Some people are never happy and a bird is a bird and has rights too. They eat to live and live to eat and rear their young. End of .
A programme was on about hedgehogs being introduced in the hebrides by a so called do gooder which has nearly wiped out a whole bird population. Just leave nature alone and let it be . They are not human and can survive without us.
If you want to say things are cruel go down to the homeless centre and offer your time at the kitchens and see what human cruuelty is really like

Phoebe said...

Terry --- thank you for your detailed report on the chick, I was not able to watch this morning. I am sad but relieved to hear the chick has finally passed away and is out of its misery. I agree with your latest post the chick knew it was loved and cared for and in my eyes even from its siblings. Maybe now the whole family can get back to some sort of normality. The other two may have been held back some because of the ill chick, I don’t know. They do look small for their age compared to last year but I hope that now the parents can concentrate solely on them they will flourish.

The falcon left the scrape a while ago and the chicks were looking out and up and around, maybe watching her flying around.

Some have mentioned not seeing the tiercel of late; I am sure he is doing his duty up on the tower but we don’t have that view at the moment. I have seen him every day so far bringing food to the scrape, bar one day when I was unable to watch.

The chicks look like they are finding their voices today, wide open beaks – possibly calling out at mum!

Phoebe said...

Lunchtime for the chicks. It may be the tiercel feeding them but has his back to us - looks smaller then the falcon, not sure...

Phoebe said...

I'm almost certain it is the tiercel feeding the chicks, perhaps letting the falcon have a well earned rest.

Fiona Arrowsmith said...

@ Terry, Herts,

Your break down of events were so compelling. You must have found this so hard to watch, I tuned in very shortly after this mornings events unfolded and i'm very glad to say I missed them.

You are so very eloquent and the empathy comes across in your words, bless you.

BBC Radio Derby said...

Hi Folks - BBC Radio Derby would really like to speak to you about your reaction to the latest with the peregrine falcons. If you would like to take part in our Breakfast programme, please give us a call as soon as you can on 01332 375001, and ask for Pamela Gupta or Sally Swinfen.
Hope to hear from you. Thanks,
Marsha

Phoebe said...

Another feed, can't see if it's falcon or tiercel but the smaller of the two did not want to eat at first and sat away from the other but he has now gone in for his share.

It looks like the tiercel again much smaller than the falcon. Pics on flickr.

AnnieF. said...

@ TERRY, HERTS.

Thank you so much for providing us with the evidence we didn't really want but needed to have (if you see what I mean). May I echo everyone else's praise for the way you expressed what was happening? and thank you, too, for putting yourself through such a difficult experience for the sake of others.

@ NICK, NICK and TONY, DERBY TEAM

Just: Thanks. You are stars.

Craig said...

14.45 Ma and Pa have been away from the chicks for some time.
Will this be a more frequent occurrence, given that the chicks are of a nice plump size, so that both adults can hunt?

Anonymous said...

it might jus be my paranoia but the chicks seeem to have there legs out like the now deceased chick did. they just in general look like they are going the same way.
other people opinions appreciated
i really hope it isnt pisoning folks
team if the other two start to go the same way can you PLEASE intervene ?

Midge said...

Hi guys. As there are breaks in the action now perhaps you would like to know that the barn owls on Beleef de Lente site now have 3 chicks with another due to hatch on Saturday and the Nuthatches are ready to fledge. PS who thinks up these weired words we have to type to post?

Anonymous said...

Do not intervene. As you have said before the law clearly states you cannot.
The chicks are fine and not laying on their backs, like the other were.
It is only by luck we are getting a rare glimpse of nature with a camera. I worked in a veterinary surgery and the birds most always died of human intervention. Please don't watch if you don't want to see it but it is nature and how lucky are we to view the reality of it all?

Midge said...

There's nothing wrong anonymous. These two are just gawky teenagers who usually have one leg stuck out whilst asleep. Not surprised you are neurotic after the past week!

Craig said...

I can't help but wonder, now that the poorly chick has passed away, will ringing take place on the remaining two chicks?

I was watching the feed and flickr and wondered what sex they were. And you've previously said that a determination would be made on ringing.

If I had to take a 100% uneducated guess I would put them both as female; given that they are soon to be the size of Dad at only a few weeks old and they are about the same size.

@Midge "PS who thinks up these weired words we have to type to post?"

No-one, they are randomly generated by the blog to make sure that you are human (or at least a living being) as opposed to a computer programme scanning and spamming the blogs.

AnnieF. said...

The weather is extremely humid, overcast but hot. No wonder these chicks want to spread themselves out a bit!

Anonymous said...

no i agree but heart says intervene head says not its one of those controvertial things you only know first hand that this is wrong from your experienece as at a vets but i do agree in saying not i suppose would only render them unable to live a natural life.
and the chick started of with its leg sticking out on its front before it got stuck on its back bit then i was so certain that it was a broken leg so i suppose only time will tell. i would love to be able not to watch but at the moment i cnt help but check up on thier progrss.
on a lighter note they will be fine !

Nick Brown (DWT) said...

Craig: yes, the parent birds will leave their chicks and go off much more now that the chicks are big. the female will start hunting again and not have to rely entirely on the male to provide food.
Last Friday I found the remains of a whimbrel (a wader) and a black tailed godwit (another wading bird) as well as moorhen. This is only the second time we've found remains of these two waders whereas moorhens are fairly regularly taken.
Up the tower this morning looking for any sign of the recently dead chick, all I could see was a complete lapwing on a south side gargoyle along with a little grebe.
No sign anywhere of the deceased chick as far as I couod see without disturbing the birds below me.
Craig: as explained in the post, we won't be ringing the chicks this year for several reasons. Additionally, if there's an outside chance they could be sick or become sick, we wouldn't have wanted to ring them anyway of course.
Nick B (DWT)

Ann ( Canada ) said...

Sad news indeed once again. However as most of us if not all agree that is nature. Hopefully the others will be ok. If not, well that is what it is all about. You can't win them all as they say.
Watching this kind of thing really helps put things into perspective. Also makes me realize how fragile life is and how we need to do what ever we can to improve what ever life and time is left on this earth. Every little thing helps no matter how small. We can all do something to put back a little of what we humans have taken away from. As a Mother and Grandmother my heart goes out to the birds, they have to be feeling the loss. My Grand daughter is in hospital right now, so I am feeling quite down. I hope the remaining chicks survive and that next year will be a much happier year. Thanks once again to all the team for their hard work and dedication. It must be so frustrating at times like this. Regards Ann XXX

Craig said...

@Nick B, I knew that would be the answer but you missed the more important something: what sex do you think they are? :)

(I was discretely, and mainly, trying to change the conversation from this ‘to intervene or not to intervene that is the question’, an intentional pun at Shakespeare, as it's been answered and some people may be taking the topic further than it needs to go)

Regards/

Midge said...

Thanks Craig - I am officially human! How long before someone trains a parrot to do it?

Craig said...

Midge, Shouldn't that be something with fingers in order to type?
An Ape or other primate? I have some suspicions on some blog members...

I'm bring rudely cheeky here, thank goodness it's almost time to go you'll be rid of me.

Anonymous said...

craig i think a boy and a girl hehe
i think one looks slightly bigger then the other but at this stage that could just be one likes food more place your bets now lol

Phoebe said...

The tiercel has been sat on the scrape ledge preening himself and watching his chicks. He is on guard while the falcon has some 'me time'.

Good to see him for longer than a food delivery!

Anonymous said...

you should have intervened (if only to remove the dead chick ) as if the chick had a disease & has now been fed to thee rest of the brood it will inevitably kill them all, & as for leaving nature to it's own devices you have all ready intervened in nature by building a fake ledge on the side of a cathedral , so you have responsibility to over see their welfare.( just my opinion & expecting the back lash ! ;-)

AnnieF. said...

The tiercel's still there, giving himself a pedicure. He really does look sleek & healthy. The chicks are still at the other end, wriggling about occasionally. They look very well too.

Phoebe said...

@ AnnieF - I agree the tiercel does look very sleek and healthy unlike the screenshot I got of him a few days ago where he was looking podgy!

Midge said...

@ Craig/ thank goodness for a bit of humour after all the drama. Know what you mean - still bloggers out there adventing intervention!

lsdfu;ighe;oji;o

That's from my cat..........

katie said...

yes he does look very nice i agree how can you tell which is which ?
i know he is smaller but you cant really tell size on the cam where as when i actually wnt to see them you could any tips ?

Pax(Canada) said...

Aw! come on people lets not bicker,its been a sad time and our emotions are in play but lets just watch and hopefuly see the other two chicks grow strong and fledge, were a group of people who have come together for the love of these birds.........peace everyone

AnnieF. said...

@ Phoebe: You've captured some superb screenshots, many of which showed exactly what I'd been describing - thanks for those.

One of the chicks is definitely keen on its dad!

Anonymous said...

Nick, Nick and Tony.

Many thanks for the latest post and update. Your work is much appreciated.
I didn't realise how much work goes on behind the scenes regarding the care of these beautiful birds.
It is great to see the 2 surviving chicks being so active and 'normal', long may it continue.
Once again, thank you.
Jane, Syston.

Ruthie said...

@Anon and others. I wonder why people keeping harping on about what should have happened. I think the team made it very clear what the law says about intervention and disturbance.
Adverse input could be regarded as incitement to break the law.

The team do a fantastic job making it possible for us to watch this amazing "reality show". We have to accept that as in human life things don't always go to plan.

Craig said...

@ Anon timed at 17:12 today.

I couldn't help but laugh (nice comment at the end too). Have you read the history of the project; I'm sure you have? The Peregrines where looking for a home to nest in/around the cathedral to begin with. DWT and others saw an opportunity to watch this beautiful bird in the wild without human interference.

Yes the nesting platform and cameras are made/maintained by humans but no-one parked the Peregines there and said "Nest!". They just got lucky. Peregrines mate for life and use the same nest every year. If the Peregrines had found another spot then we'd not be having this discussion. For which I, and I hope I'm not the only one, find your comments more argumentative than constructive. And we'd miss out on the cruel lessons of life.

These are in every way a wild birds. They have had no contact with any person. Their food is caught by means known only to Peregrines. No person has any responsibility for them or their wellbeing (however much we hate to watch another animal suffer don't you think we've interferred enough?).

If, god forbid (this coming from a non-believer), the other two chicks get ill and look set to die then I hope it's a quick painless and stressless death. We all know that however much we type these crys for interference no interferring will come. These things happen in nature whether we like it or not. If you don't like it then do what others do, bury your head in the television soaps.

Oh and read the blog subject, it mentions the legality of interference. Thank you to the Team for letting us all know this.

--- Hope the above reads ok, I have reread it and tweaked it a bit here and there; do correct me at any point.

Demelza, New York said...

Poor little things look hungry...Seems like forever since they had a feeding. I know it's not I'm at work and keep checking in so I could have missed it.

AnnieF. said...

I've been watching for about 30 minutes and the chick on the lhs nearest the ledge has been struggling to get up, but its right leg seems useless. I'm not convinced it's healthy. Sorry. Please contradict me if you see anything positive.

Joy said...

@ Anonymous

The Team hasn't interfered, I don't know whether you know but the Peregrins were there before they put the ledge up. I can sympathise with you regarding the dead chick, but unfortunately that's nature.

I am an avid nature lover and don't like to see animals birds etc in distress but we are humans and shouldn't interefere

Craig said...

AnnieF I've been watching that one as well, perhaps it's just tired. It was up and about earlier. Think positive; you know what they say about positive attitudes. But then I'm always positive about it going to rain but it never does... damn you Clouds!

Anonymous said...

This is all so sad :-(

I guess we have been spoilt the last few years by this marvellous pair of peregrines who has done so well to rear their chicks without to many problems.

I just hope the other two little ones survive.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the two remaining chicks look well at all. They seem to be lying down all the time which seems unusual rather than sitting up and huddling together.

I am very concerned for them.

Demelza, New York said...

I thought the same as Annie but until dad left they were both moving around fine.

Demelza, New York said...

I am getting nervous that they're not getting fed. This is my first time watching Falcons, would they ever be abandoned by their parents?

Terri said...

@katie... I've found that when you've been watching for long enough (months, years!) you get to see the falcon so much more than you see the tiercel (well certainly at this stage in the season anyway) that you get to know the shape of her head and her facial features, and then when the male pops up it's fairly obvious it's not her. That's how it is for me but probably not much help sorry :)

@ Anon 17:12...

I agree with Ruthie and Craig. It's not a matter of what the team should or shouldn't do, they've explained in great detail about the protection laws for this Scheduled 1 species of birds under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act - 'Any unlicenced disturbance whatsoever to a peregrine nest site is regarded as a most serious offence...' And they were in the process of applying to Natural England's Licensing Unit for special permission to remove the chick. As it turned out, it wouldn't have been possible to remove the corpse once the chick had died as mum made short shrift of it, so it was a futile effort anyway. Give them a break, nuff said.
(...and please don't be anonymous we're all friends here)

Midge said...

@ AnnieF. Had a good look Annie. I don't see anything that unduly concerns me. Both chicks are habitually 'untidy' when asleep. They have both been tramelling around the scrape all day without problems and sitting pertly when being fed. I think we are all a bit neurotic this year, and not without cause!

My biggest concern is the morning feed but hey ho - thats peregrine world....

Anonymous said...

There is delightful footage on this link of very tiny peregrine chicks feeding - you need to watch the entire, but short, clip.

http://huntlyperegrines.blogspot.com/

Tww

Pam said...

An hour or so ago Dad was sitting on the edge of the rhs, and one of the little ones was right in front of him ( a girl maybe ...flirting with her Dad?)
The other chick moved to that side to see what all the fuss was about and maybe to see if there was any food available, but soon went back to his sunbathing.
I don't think there is anything wrong with any legs.

Mary T said...

I do hope that the remaining two chicks will survive and be healthy. Fingers crossed for them. I think we are all looking at worse case scenarios now but hopefully they are tired, they're only babies and need to sleep. Also in Derby tonight it is very warm so they may be feeling the heat a bit.

Are there any watch points planned for this weekend Team?

AnnieF. said...

Almost an hour later and that chick is in the same position. It moved the leg while I was watching but only briefly and not far. Its toes seem ok, it has flexed them.

AnnieF. said...

It just sat up for about 15 seconds, then flopped down again.
The other one is upright and seems fine.

AnnieF. said...

The one I was anxious about is now huddled in the right-hand corner (Feed 1 Camera) next to its sibling.

Anonymous said...

19.34pm Foooood !!! pigeon and the little ones are both keen to be fed and up and alert . All good

Terri said...

The two remaining chicks look nice and healthy to me. Please can we have some more live video, maybe of them feeding or wandering round the scrape. It might be light relief for us to see them waddling about with those big comedy feet.

Erica said...

They got to their feeet pretty quickly when that prey arrived, didn't they?

Midge said...

There now Annie, did you see that pair move when supper flew in? They are absolutely fine. They are just a pair of very untidy sleepers - always have been.

AnnieF. said...

The falcon has brought food and one of them's feeding but I can't see the other clearly because the falcon's in the way.

AnnieF. said...

Yes, she's feeding the other one! The meal looks like a fattish bird with long wing-feathers.

Pam said...

Incidentally ... I don't think they look hungry at all. At feeding time they are still showing the good manners that Mum taught them, and patiently wait their turn.

Craig said...

19:34 Pigeon is on the menu served by Mum, no need to worry AnnieF she looks fine, certainly sitting up and has been moving.

19:50 Dinner is over.

Trying to look for Pigeon legs to see if it ringed, just cause I thought it would be fun :) Didn't see one.

I have to admit that Peregrine webcam 'sticker' is in the way a little. Don't do anything now ofcourse, but perhaps when they have fledged and you have a spare hour or two maybe reduce it's size.

karen said...

Both chicks have just had a good meal, and both are upright and look healthy!! Lets hope this continues and makes up for the sad loss of the other 2 chicks xxx I agree with the Anon person who said that, should the others get sick and god forbid..die, that post mortems should be carried out to try and find the problem. Hopefully that wont happen now xx My fingers are firmly crossed for these little ones xxxx

AnnieF. said...

I'm very relieved & pleased to report that both chicks are active and perky after their meal. The falcon flew off with the remains, presumably to stash or cache.

KerrySuffolk said...

Re where abouts of dead chick.

I logged on earlier today at around 11:30 and 14:30, on one occasion (sorry I can't remember which)the plucked body of the dead chick with it's legs sticking out from the rear was clearly visible on the front corner of the rhs of the scrape. It had gone by tea time.

I was saddened along with the rest of you by it's death, but I still think the team did the right thing even though the pressure put on them was huge.

Well done again team, thanks again from all of us out here.

Re the sex of the chicks - need you ask? They are survivors! They must be female, afer all females are the stronger sex, we just act weak and feeble to wrap the boys round our little fingers!

Sorry about the sexist comment, I am only joking!

AnnieF. said...

I feel so much better about them now, everything looks fine. Thank you all for your heartening comments; I should know at my age not to jump to conclusions but this has been such a dreadful week. Things are definitely looking up!

AnnieF. said...

The tiercel's standing guard over the sleeping chicks - he's on the ledge next to them.

Anonymous said...

10.26 - are the two chicks ok?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Annie, can see the two of them now flooped out and relaxed

Anonymous said...

Have to say I do miss the tower cam and the comings and goings of dad.

Phoebe said...

@ Proect Team --- Have you been watching the tower cam whilst we have the the two scrape views and is there any interesting footage?

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

@phoebe/anonymous
Sorry you miss the tower cam, but obviously the main action has been down on both halves of the nest platform.
Whilst working away on my computer today, I have had the so-called "quad-view" running in the background, but little of great interest has been visible at the top. The male was on the tower for some time whilst the falcon was sunning herself mid-morning, but perhaps the most unusual was the male suddenly taking off in an agitated state and with a very loud alarm call this morning. It turned out a helicopter had flown very low over the city centre and disturbed the birds.

There was also a rather super sunset visible this evening, too!

Unfortunately we don't have access to the video recordings without going into the cathedral tower, so it's not possible to review the footage without making a special trip there, which is not always possible.

We'll probably keep the camera settings as they are, then switch one back to quad view once the young have fledged from the nest, for then they often frequent the top of the tower.

slumpy said...

@Kerrysuffolk
I know you are joking, but,what was the sex of the two juveniles last year that made it into the wild.
Women drivers and all that.

Phoebe said...

Thanks Team for the info on the tower cam. I was interested to know that the tiercel was up there on duty. Yes I miss the sunsets from that view though I get some good ones at home. It is at night that we often see the tiercel hugging the cam - I miss that. Tonight he is watching over his kids and looking very relaxed. I wonder where the falcon is tonight?

Penfold said...

6am and the chicks are awaiting a feed I reckon...they're up and about with no adult around (unless up above)

Pax(Canada) said...

Mum has arrived,but no food yet

John Lamper said...

I've been following the project from the early days from deepest Dorset.

The 50% mortality this season is worrying and the experts will obviously have considered all the likely causes. I seem to recall that it was thought that the nest platform could get away with less attention this season. Could there have been a build up of anything from the previous year in the scrape material etc?

Has anything parasitic been dormant as a result of the harsh winter and has now become active?

Should the platform have been cleaned out as a matter of routine and sterilized? Perhaps too easy to say, given the winter we had!

I agree that non-intervention is the only policy to pursue and the remaining 2 chicks are looking good from where I am. Once they have fledged, it should pretty well be a case of 'job done'.

Phoebe said...

Dad just delivered breakfast! Pic on flickr of the delivery

Phoebe said...

Dad just delivered food! It was just a small boney looking piece. Pic on flickr.

Phoebe said...

They look very hot up there.

Phoebe said...

The falcon looks really uncomfortable in this morning heat and the poor chicks with their fluffy down must be baking. my house faced the same direction as the scrape and it's very hot indeed.

AnnieF. said...

I think it's the falcon, perched on a corbel below the scrape where the youngsters are cuddled up in the shadiest corner. It's so hot today!

AnnieF. said...

The youngsters look as if they're grumbling to each other about the lateness of lunch!

AnnieF. said...

They could be calling out - they've moved nearer to the edge, beaks open in unison, and Mum keeps looking up & around.

Anonymous said...

Reasonable feed at 2pm. Both chicks active.

Anonymous said...

I sometimes find the comments on this diary truly amazing, and lately i have regarding the "poor young ones" that have died. Its very sad to see them succumb the way they have, but how come no one ever gives any thought to their prey, and the way they are torn apart?

I watch this webcam on a daily basis, and i feel sorry for any prey bought to the nest, but at the end of the day that is nature, "a life for a life" as they say.

I love all birds and as much as i hate seeing the poor birds being bought in for a snack, i know it is for good reason.

So i say to those that say poor this and that.............Get a grip lol!!

.... and there should never be any human intervention, that is not nature, that is interference, that is what got this bird to the high protected status it is today.

Anonymous said...

Just came in to check on the two little ones and was delighted to see them looking well and having a good old preen! I am keeping everything crossed that they stay healthy.

Terry, Herts UK said...

Brief feed at 3pm by the tiercel. Chicks look great and Mr P is looking sleek and magnificent today.

He left them a tiny morsel or two to sort out between themselves.

They look so comical at this stage with their oversize claws but it won't be long before these 'ugly ducklings' start their feathers and grow into beautiful adults... God willing. :)

For those abroad, a hot weekend is predicted here so don't be surprised to see the chicks 'pancaked' & seeking shade where they can find it.

Phoebe said...

I think they are in school now, mum is feeding them but not without drawing the food further and further away to entice them to feed for themselves and keeping them just a little hungry will encourage them. Eating the food in front of them is a lesson.

They are looking so much bigger now!

Anonymous said...

Chicks having good fee at 1522. They seem to be quite alert and active - especially as it is so warm in Derby today. Hope these two survive. Pam - Derby

AnnieF. said...

Tea's ready - come and get it!

Kath said...

Two two chicks now look like miniature snowmen in a heatwave!

Craig said...

@Anon 14:45

Thank you so much, that truely made me laugh and I needed that.

@ "but how come no one ever gives any thought to their prey, and the way they are torn apart?"

I always give a thought to the pray, as does everyone here I should imagine - FOOD!
Will the vegetarian Peregrine please raise it's wing? Precisely you don't get a veggie Perries (Peregrines). They are carnivores. They kill and eat to live (hope the bold comes out). As for the way it's "torn apart" I ask you to teach a Peregrine to use a knife and fork.

@ "I love all birds and as much as i hate seeing the poor birds being bought in for a snack, i know it is for good reason."

Did you just use the words "poor birds"???? hehe

If you know it's for a good reason then this comment is void. I too love the little birdies, including Pigeons, which I take the micky out of a lot (I admire their inner-city survival, it's brilliant), but I have absolutely no problem with a bird of pray killing them or any other animal for dinner/snack. It's not like, hmmm lets see, Humans who kill for Sport! (don't continue this subject Craigy, calm calm).

@ "So i say to those that say poor this and that.............Get a grip lol!!"

I believe you're missing the point, the chick died as a result of something other than by another bird of pray/scavenger; e.g. parasite/disease/goodness-knows-what. You love birds, and I bet you hate to see them suffer. the 'poor' chick was on it's back for days. It's anguish was something we don't want to see. It's upsetting.

@ ".... and there should never be any human intervention, that is not nature, that is interference, that is what got this bird to the high protected status it is today."

Well said. here here.

Oh and other thing, please don't post Anonymously I've always posted with my user ID/name/whatever. Be proud of your comments and views. If you're looking to offend/upset/create an argument or just express a different view/opinion which isn't looked favourably on then do so with a name; don't hide, it's demeaning.

-------------------------------
@KerrySuffolk - re chicks being female - don't apologise for the truth! You know it, we know it. :)

Craig said...

@Terry, Herts

Many thanks for the Springwatch - 2010 - City Living with Simon King information, I found it very interesting.

Still available on BBC iPlayer.

AnnieF. said...

Supper-time. They didn't get much more than a couple of nibbles for tea, but this looks slightly more substantial.

AnnieF. said...

I think it's the tiercel doing the feeding. He seems to have a white circular mark on his right shoulder.

AnnieF. said...

Ignore my "white mark" comment, I'm seeing things .....must be the heat!

AnnieF. said...

Still being fed but it seems like the falcon doing the honours. I think either I've missed a changeover while looking at the Flickr pics, or I was mistaken earlier.

Midge said...

For the first time this season have not been able to watch today. Thankyou to everyone who has posted, especially AnnieF, for keeping me up to speed. Confident we will have two feldglings this year.

Reading back, I clocked the opinion of experts consulted after the first chick died that it was probably a 'nuturing problem'. I bought into at the time but after the events of the past week I think even they will concede that this pair of falcons have no problems regarding nurture. I don't think any of us could believe the devotion to the second sick chick. Unprecedented!

One chick needed assistance hatching, unusual enough to see parent do so, ergo weak from the start. I suspect the second was also congenitally weak. It happens in every species on earth. Unfortunately we have seen it twice this year in the same family of peregrines but, with their previous record, I think we have all just been given a wake up call to what really happens in the wild.

Eagerly await further updates from the team.

Anonymous said...

How many birds has the falcon killed to feed its chicks? Does anyone keep count?