Monday, 17 May 2010

Of Life and Death

So, as many webcam watchers are well aware, a second chick now looks certain to die. From early this morning it was clear that one of the chicks was on its back, unable to right itself. The falcon (female parent)  did its best to shelter it from the sun, but made few moves to right it, though she was clearly concerned with it all day long. Despite kicking its legs vigorously every few minutes, the chick was not successful even in moving more than an inch or two.  Not surprisingly, many comments were left expressing concern over its welfare, asking about the cause and the solution. The realistic answer at this stage is that there is no solution - this is nature at work, and we must wait to see whether it regains the strength to recover, though this is not likely.

I had planned to find a form of words that highlighted how  privileged we are to be able to see nature at work and to highlight that, with this privilege, comes the need for us not to become overly attached or sentimental. All around us, everywhere we could look, nature is at work in its continuous life and death struggle for survival. But this comment left here earlier today probably does that job better far than I could, so we decided to reproduce most of it here:

"Although it's sad to see a chick not making it, and doubly so probably for the children watching, I feel we should be careful not to react as though they were human babies. This how the natural world is, and most of us living in towns and cities have to some extent become divorced from this reality. Don't get me wrong - I've invested a lot of my own time and hopes, like everyone else , in this pair and their chicks,  and I do feel the pain; but we shouldn't get sentimental . . . "

At around the time the picture below was captured earlier this evening *suggesting all three chicks were receiving at least some food) two of the Project Team met to discuss our course of action. The experts we have spoken to feel the problem probably lies with a "rearing issue", which itself has a number of possible causes.We're still investigating how best to proceed, and will do our best to keep you informed of progress. As we so often say here, these are truly wild creatures whose life and death struggles - along with those of their prey - are playing out countless times across the spring countryside right now and intervening is rarely an option..

17th May 2010 - 17.54.52 - Three were fed

We hope you may also understand that for each of us in the Team this Peregrine Project is not our main job - it's an added extra which we're happy to support, sometimes in work but more often than not in our own time. So forgive us if we aren't able to answer every question you may ask, or provide video clips of every moment - no matter how delightful or upsetting they may be. The comments and screen shots many of you are however posting are proving immensely helpful in letting others follow the daily life and death challenges faced by just one city's family of peregrines. And for that we're grateful.

139 comments:

Midge said...

We may be underestimating our Mother! She has done a sterling job all day protecting her weakling chick - it eventually righted itself and then fed. Nature can naturally be cruel, but we can only hope that it in this case it will be kind to our exceptional Mum. She has shown such tenderness towards her sickly chick that I hope and pray she will be rewarded for her diligence.

Midge said...

The little man is again being brooded by his mother. She seems to know that his siblings do hot need attention other than feeding. H0w I hope she fulls him throughl

Karen Anne said...

I respectfully disagree with the comment enclosed in the post. Every life is sacred.

KerrySuffolk said...

Dear project team,and all of you out there, I apologise now for the following dribble.

On behalf of us all I would like to thank the team for their efforts and I am sure we all greatly appreciate the time and effort they put in as well as working full time.

It is a privilage to be able to watch these birds and follow their lives and deaths, and although I understand it is not a good thing to interfere with the natural course of events I can't but help to be sad when things don't go as we hoped.

It is good for us to remember that life is not a certainty. I am just grateful for the chance to watch the story unfolding.

Thanks again to the team. Keep up the good work.

KerrySuffolk said...

PS. I know it is not usual to name the chicks as they are wild birds, but if the chick survives I shall always think of him/her as being called "Trouble" as he/she has caused enough of it today!

KerrySuffolk said...

PPS. Does anyone know what type of prey produced the long white feathers on the nest platform?

Midge said...

Yes, Karen life is sacred, but when it comes to wildlife we have absolutely no say as to the outcome of the births and deaths. I was heartbroken at the death of the first chick - I have followed these birds from day one. They have reared every one of their chicks successfully every year. To see one chcick die was awful, but to see another in trouble has been utteroy traumatic. What post it it that you so disagree with

Terri said...

I think Karen was referring to the comment reproduced in the original post, i.e. "Although it's sad to see a chick not making it, and doubly so probably for the children watching, I feel we should be careful not to react as though they were human babies. This how the natural world is, and most of us living in towns and cities have to some extent become divorced from this reality. Don't get me wrong - I've invested a lot of my own time and hopes, like everyone else , in this pair and their chicks, and I do feel the pain; but we shouldn't get sentimental . . . "

Last year we lost one of the juvies after it had flown the nest, and then there was Cathy (how's she doing by the way?) - I think we're all just a bit shocked about losing chicks in the scrape, you don't expect them to be in danger until they get to face the perils of the outside world.

I had a thought about the parent birds: how many years would you expect a peregrine pair to mate and rear healthy chicks? Would there be a point in their lives where birth defects might be an issue due to ageing parents (re. humans)?

Anonymous said...

@ Kerry,I agree every life is sacred but I think you are wrongly interpreting the post. The post is just stating that it is nature, although it is sometimes cruel.
As always it is the survival of the fittest and hopefully all the chicks will make it, fingers well and truly crossed!

Anonymous said...

@ Karen Anne
If all life is sacred, then God’s will be done? I’m not trying to making some pedantic theological point, just that I believe the team have got the sense right here. What we watch, although painful in our eyes, is nature in tooth and claw. First year mortality in peregrines is somewhere between 60 and 70%. So two surviving at this stage is still ahead of the game. Lets not forget that last year we had two of the four surviving to fly off into the wild (one dies – albeit with human decision, one only surviving by being taken ‘out of the wild’). And even then we don’t yet know if those two juvenile males made it through the year. As others have made the point, the technology allows us to view these birds as though we would if in a zoo or sanctuary, perhaps better than that. They nevertheless remain wild.

Having, followed this site for a long time now, I feel the team continue to get it right, the avoidance of anthropomorphism being one singular and important feature.
RJ

Anonymous said...

I've just been carefully checking the webcams, and it does look like our poorly chick is still very much alive and quite active. It's still on its back, but legs are kicking out every so often, and Mum seems to be keeping it warm, which sounds hopeful.

Pax(Canada) said...

I was glad to hear the chick may be doing better, I too was saddened by the unfolding events, but we are watching nature and sometimes in nature as in life things go wrong but it is still a privilage to have a glimpse into their lives, and I thank the team for giving us that.

Phoebe said...

@ Anon 22:18 post on Watchpoint begins... thread (in case you don't see it) - I repeat, As far as we know this is the same pair that have been at the catherdal since the webcams were put up a few years ago, they do not leave the area all year round. The second chick is still alive and being fed even though it has a problem what is happening this year with the poorly chick is new to us all.

This is a very experienced pair of peregrines that have successfully reared chicks every year. The chicks are being fed regularly and are growing and from what I see they are doing a good job of rearing their young - how you can say they "don't seem to have their heart in it" is most odd. The other two chicks so far appear to be thriving. I have not seen a more attentive falcon given the situation before her. She is still at this moment tending to her poorly chick, she is not able to sleep a wink!

Karen Anne said...

It isn't my intention to cause dissension.

I am just saying that many people think the lives of animals are less valuable than the lives of humans, or that animal parents do not suffer emotionally when one of their children dies or when some other tragedy befalls them.

I disagree with that.

Karen Anne said...

The two healthy chicks were at the side of the nestbox, and Mom was again exerting great effort over the little one, but I couldn't see his condition.

Terry, Herts UK said...

The falcon is paying a lot of attention to the poorly eyas which is still alive but sprawled on its back.

Craig said...

I have been following the progress over the last few days and have been keeping my gob shut and my figures off the keyboard; for once over the past couple of months.

07:42 Been watching the camera for some minutes and neither parent is around, probably out for food, and the chick, which has been the subject of much debate, has ceased to move. Other two are moving and look well from here that's all that matters.

Craig said...

Correction to last message, the chick has finally decided to move, must have been asleep. Apologies, should have kept my figures off shouldn't I.

DH said...

Although I have watched rather less this year I have got the impression that the male is doing rather less than last year. Was the female more protective than last, presumably due to the cold? Did this result in the male 'losing interest', thus meaning that she had to spend longer away catching food? Obviously you can't say for sure but I wondered if others had the same impression and this may be a factor in the success rate this year.

Anonymous said...

Yes DH I have been thinking the same over the last few days, however looked in at the webcam this morning 08.45 to see both parents on the ledge.

Joy said...

to DH I can't help agreeing with your comments about feeds. Unfortunately I haven't looked as much this year but have passed comment at home that they don't seem to be having so many feeds.

does anyone know how long Peregrins live and how many years they produce.

As I watch two look fine but the little one is barely moving. Parent bird in attention tho.

KerrySuffolk said...

Mum feeding sick chick.

Terri said...

Mum seems to be spending most of her time shielding the sick chick from the sunlight. She's very devoted. I feel a bit sorry for the other two though, they're having trouble finding any shade. I think they would normally take it in turns to hide under/behind mum. I hope they don't bake.

Phoebe said...

@ DH - I disagree in fact from what I have seen the falcon has spent a lot of time caring for their chicks whilst the tiercel has been stocking the larder - we only see what the camera picks up, there is far more going on out of view. Every time I have seen the falcon off the scrape she has been either for a wing stretch or to collect food that the tiercel has brought in and she has to eat too! Just now the tiercel yet again landed on the scrape with food. In my opinion they have plenty of food.

Craig said...

@Joy

"does anyone know how long Peregrins live and how many years they produce."

Project Manager's Bible of Peregrines can probably give a good answer but here's what I found:

"Average life span in the wild: Up to 17 years"

Although I have come across variations but given that there are a lot of sub-species of Peregrine it makes sense. I should imagine that our birds will be in the 17 year region. I found this on the National Geographic website, extensively more can be found on Wiki:

"The Peregrine Falcon is sexually mature at the end of the first year of age but in healthy populations they breed after two to three years of age."

Wiki or NG don't give a precise answer to the question of how long they produce for but Wiki implies they breed every year for the rest of their lives.

"Within a breeding territory, a pair may have several nesting ledges; the number used by a pair can vary from one or two to seven in a 16 year period."

Wiki has a link to Derby Cathedral's webcams, nice.

John B (not the sloop) said...

Joy - Life expectancy for a wild Peregrine is about 5 or 6 years though they are capable of living well into their teens (17 or so). One tiercel I knew was fathering chicks at age 11 and, I suspect, could have gone on longer.

Phoebe said...

Although it may have looked like the poorly chick was being fed I don't think it was. I have posted a picture to the Derby Flickr pool showing the confusion. The poorly chick looks to have deteriorated this morning. The other two seem fit and healthy and one has retired to the shady corner on the other side of the scrape.

Pam said...

Funny how different people see things in completely opposite ways. I was thinking that Dad was doing a much better job stocking the larder this year than he did last year.
We cannot see him on the tower at the moment, but Mum is rarely gone for more than a couple of minutes to collect food for the youngsters, and it is plucked and ready for them when she fetches it. Even when she is gone for longer than a few minutes, it has only been for long enough for her to have a meal herself. I have seldom seen her gone for long enough to catch and pluck dinner!

My big worry has been that some poisoned prey was fed to the babies, and that is what is causing the problems.

Craig said...

@PM

I'm sorry for asking I'm sure it's very presumptuous of me but has a date and time been set for the ringing of feet?

I ask becuase I know that it's done after 20 days (you've told us) but that's like a week away and my concern was that if it can be brought forward some perhaps the person ringing the feet could, in passing, help the little one up or give it a health checkup?

Sorry very rude I know; these are wild birds and events should take their course without further interference from Humans.
Don't forgive me... I'm not looking for any and I wouldn't forgive me.

Craig said...

For some reason I said 20 days is like next week; Just correcting myself it is infact late this week; I'm a few days behind, been very busy and working weekend didn't help. Still doesn't change the meaning of the last message.

Craig said...

@Pam: My big worry has been that some poisoned prey was fed to the babies, and that is what is causing the problems.

A big worry for Peregrines but Mum and Dad have surely been eating from the same source and they look fine. And the other two chicks when not hiding in the shade, as they are now, have looked fine.

Nick Brown (DWT) said...

re. ringing - no date arranged yet due to waiting to see if this chick dies or recovers and trying to minimise any disturbance. Will let you know when we do!
Nick B (DWT0

Phoebe said...

@ Pam - my thoughts on poison are the same. If the dead chick was fed to the others it may be possible that it was passed on. Hope not though.

Midge said...

Does anyone else think the little chick looks a bit stronger this morning? It may be wishful thinking (I've done a lot of that the past few days) but it is no longer on its back and does seem to be moving more.

Phoebe said...

I really thought the poorly chick had expired. I now see that it has been moving and the falcon is again protecting it.

Craig said...

10:37:35 Mum's off

Mum's been gone a while, one chick sitting on the old scrape in the corner shading, the other one flat on it's belly shading it's head against the side. Little poorly one no change.

10:50 Mum's back, no food.


@Nick Brown

Ty for reply, suppose your right wait and see first. As I said, very presumptuous.

Fiona Arrowsmith said...

I am so saddened to see this little life struggling, mum is so attentive, lets hope that a mothers love can work it's miracle in this instance

I think we were all spoilt last year with the peregrines, obviously it was tragic to lose one of them as we also lost Potter down in Worcester, but the rest of the chicks just seemed to thrive, even Cathy had her second chance at a good life and I often think of her and wonder how she is doing. It's just the very hard reality of mother nature, and even harder to watch.........No one likes to see suffering.

As i sit and type this i'm watching mummy sparrow in my garden feeding one of her little cheeky blighters, every cloud..........

Nick Brown (DWT) said...

Poisoning, whether accidental or deliberate, would probably have affected all chicks simultaneously since each food item is shared around among the chicks...so while this remains a possibility, at the moment we suspect that natural causes (disease, parasites etc) is the more likely cause of the problem.
Nick B (DWT)

Midge said...

Surely, if it had been poisoned prey, all the chicks would have been affected and probably the parents too. The chicks are all fed the same meal. I can't see this being the answer. Perhaps it is more likely that we have all been lulled into a false sense of security over the past three years by the success rate of this pair. Natural infant mortality occurs across the entire spectrum of wildlife. As much as I hate it we have to acknowledge it.

shellshearer said...

Can I just say something please...I don't want to cause upset or offend anyone...
My 2 daughters (12 & 13) myself and my hubby have been watching the goings on since before they hatched, and I'm sorry but you do get attached, our youngest daughter Katie and I sat up until 1.30 the night of the first hatching just to make sure they were ok....I understand that its upsetting, yes both Katie & I had a cry when the little chick died, but I think its teaching Katie that things happen for a reason and we can't help everything (as I trained to be a vet nurse before I had kids, she thinks everything can be saved) and animals do die. I think watching these beautiful birds will help children learn and not scar them.

hugs shell xx

Phoebe said...

@ Midge - I do think the poorly chick is not looking so distressed today and mum is still protecting it - it definitely had food, contrary to my initial thoughts. If it is parasites as was mentioned as a possibility in Nick Bs' post let's see if Mum is able to assist.

Mitch said...

Very sad to hear about the death of the first chick and now the second in trouble. I am wondering if there are problems this year due to the bad weather. Other webcams are reporting failed eggs and chick deaths. The Blue Tits in my garden laid 8 eggs but now only have 2 chicks (only 3 hatched). They are struggling to find insect prey for the chicks.

Fiona Arrowsmith said...

What an amazing mum........

Anonymous said...

It really is remarkable that the Peregrine is showing so much more attention to the sickly chick than the others. From my observations, in most other wild creatures (and domestic)the behaviour of the mother is to ignore any sickly offspring & exclude it from feeds etc. This makes it all the more poignant though, and makes one really wish the chick would recover, just for mums sake, she's been so good, bless her.

Midge said...

How refreshing Shell to read a post from such a sensible parent. Children should be shielded from danger but not the realities of life. Your children will grow up fully rounded individuals.

Of course, we all get emotionally involved with these beautiful birds. There is no harm in that. The problems occur when we try to attach human qualities to them. I congratulate you on your common sense and sensitivity.

Phoebe said...

If the problem with the chick is a Tick or Fleas could it be that the messing we see the falcon doing is actually picking them off?

Ticks would sap of strength from a small chick and so would fleas.

Phoebe said...

I think the poorly chick is trying to get to her feet and almost made it! This is amazing to watch.

Phoebe said...

I posted a pic to the Flickr pool showing the poorly chick almost on its feet! Incredible!

Karen Anne said...

Video of banding of the Providence, RI chicks at:

Video

I assume this is this year, the video just came up.

I think one of the chicks manages to get a bite in at about .50 The parent at the nestbox doesn't give an inch when the guys are there.

Craig said...

Karen Anne - thanks for the video very amusing to watch. It's dated yesterday and looks like they only have two chicks, my congrats to them and goodluck.

Phoebe said...

@ Karen Anne - great video, it shows the size of the chicks - not a small as one imagines!

Phoebe said...

14:17 - Mum with lunch!



Does the cam view of the left side of the scrape zoom out any more?

Midge said...

I don't believe what I've just seen. I really thought the little chick had died an hour ago and then there it was being fed just now. Obvioiusly still very week - one leg splayed out at right angles to its body but it did feed.

What a little fighter!

Pam said...

Thanks for the video link, Karen Anne. The size of these chicks always amazes me when I see them get ringed. They look absolutely enormous, compared to how we see them on the webcam!

Terry, Herts UK said...

It never ceases to amaze me how attentive the peregrines are towards their young. Without wishing to fall into the trap of attaching human emotions to these birds, I'm sure many of us have noticed that in recent days, whenever the falcon returns to the scrape, the first thing she does is to look at the sickly eyas. There's a look in her eyes of great concern I believe, in the same way that both adults seem to express their love, care & gentleness when feeding them all.

As others have said, the feeding this year seems more frequent than ever. The tiercel has in previous years been criticised for being a bit lazy but we only get to see what the webcams show us. I think both parents are doing a fantastic job this year, whether or not they are emotionally affected by the loss of one eyas and the struggle with another.

I respect the project team's decision not to intervene (AKA the "do-gooders", as some ill educated folk have called them). I imagine all of them at some stage or other must be sorely tempted to do so, as would anyone else who hates to witness any creature's suffering. However, we are watching the realities of a peregrine family's lives and particularly for the children watching, with the correct guidance, all that we see is of immense educational value in so many ways.

Mum hasn't given up on the sick eyas yet. Miracles happen. If he can be nursed towards adulthood, there are possibilities such as the one Cathy was afforded. Fingers crossed.

Nick Brown (DWT) said...

re. zooming in or out, the camera which looks towards the 'other' side of the nest platform, ie where the chikcs are currently, has no zoom facility.
Nick B (DWT)

KATIE said...

HAS ANYBODY SEEN DAD !!!!!!

Craig said...

16:13 Watching camera 2 Mrs. P. just walked over to the other side of the box to collect food. I believe the Mr. P. must have dropped off some, although I didn't see him, pitty.

Craig said...

16:25 Dinner appears to be over. Although the meal has been left in the corner. I admit I didn't give it my full attention, and didn't see her feed the poorly one.

@Katie, I haven't seen him but I've seen food appear out of no-where so I presume he's hiding somewhere and only comes along when no-one's watching the camera.

On another note, please don't shout. Ta.

Midge said...

Yes Katie. He was on guard on the left platform whilst Mum was away for a few minutes just before the last feed. Don't worry - he is providing well for his family. He plucks and prepares the prey then hands it to Mum off camera.

Anonymous said...

@Katie

I think the tiercel just delivered a prey item – The Falcon went out of shot, so I switched cameras and saw her grab the prey and head back to the other side. After a feed, the Falcon has stashed it in the corner. So I think he is doing his duty, we just can’t see him
RJ

Phoebe said...

Thanks Nick, I did mean the other side, sorry if I didn't exlpain it properly, I know that cam sooms in but wondered if it could zoom out futher than it is already to maybe give a wider view when the feeds are more towards the middle of the scrape.

I see food stored in the corner of the scrape - looks like I missed a feed, anyone got pictures of last feed?

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

@Phoebe
I'm afraid the "nest cam" is already zoomed out as far as it can go. I appreciate how frustrating it is not to be able to zoom in the other camera, and to have that metal strengthening strap in the way all the time. (We did take one off a couple of years ago, but felt it was best to retain the other one. And then we found that juveniles close to fledging do like to jump up and down to it, so all-in-all we decided to keep it in place.
We'd love to have a PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) camera, but their outdoor casings are just so huge we didn't feel one would ever be accepted by the authorities that granted us permission for the platform.

Gio said...

As you probably know, we do intervene when/if possible cause to monitor a nest, ring the chicks, in our opinion, it's already interefere with nature, so we do our best checking little ones and also adults when something bad happens to them. They are wild creature, but to watch via webcams their life and death is not that wild. Just a different way to think one can agree or not.
(Sorry for my not very fluent language..)
I absolutely don't tell that to cause upset or offend anyone.
In the US they do, in the Netherlands they don't and I respect every choice.
Please, be aware that what I'm saying is not to hurt or criticize, I respect and admire the Derby team and you all.
BTW of course we don't always succed and several times we cannot help and we lose them in spite of our efforts.
As shellshearer said, "animals do die" (as we human animals do) and we have to accept though unwilling and hardly getting used..
The falcon there is such a great mom!

@ Karen Ann. I agree with you, "every life is sacred", never could see any difference between a human and an animal suffering.

Katie said...

ok thanks all only asking bkus some prev comments thought that he hadnt been around for a while and i am unsure of the difference between the two i know the male is smaller.

@ Craig wasnt shouting forgot to take caps off not only that but i dont regard caps as shouting so didnt feel the need to correct.Please dont take things so personal.

also @ craig reading your posts about the posoining that would be a great shame if that was the case but wouldn t the chick have perished by now if that was the case also it really does look like the leg was injured long before the chick went down it was dragging the leg around. fingers crossed that poisoning isnt the case : )

AnnieF. said...

The little one appears to be moving after a fashion, and has its head up, very interested in the prospect of food which Mum is giving the other two at the moment. It's the rest of the carcass that was stashed in the corner.

AnnieF. said...

I don't think she fed it, though. The bigger ones are now cuddled up in the corner sleeping it off, and Mum is sitting over the little one.

KerrySuffolk said...

Still hanging on I see.

Craig - please keep posting as I rely on you to keep me up to date with the action when I've got things to do!

I was begining to think your boss had had words with you about your peregrin habit when you weren't about on the blog.

AnnieF. said...

Mum's giving the toddlers a snack, while the little one is still lying down, eyes open.

Midge said...

I am very much afraid that the battle is lost. No movement at feed time and no interest. Mum occasionally glanced at the chick to see if there was a response but this time did not attempt to feed it. I think she knows her efforts have not paid off. But her devotion has been wonderful to watch. I am gutted for her.apperac

Those with a weak stomach should not watch tomorrow!

KerrySuffolk said...

20:00
Chick still moving but looks weak.

AnnieF. said...

@ Midge: Yes, you're right. It's all over now, no more suffering thank heaven. Mum did everything in her power, and it was moving & humbling to watch.

AnnieF. said...

I never expected to see this - Mum with a wing around the little one, head to one side as if listening for signs of life. She's amazing.

KerrySuffolk said...

20:47
3rd chick still with us!Legs still moving.

Ann ( Canada ) said...

Well not had much time this year due to personal reasons. I am so shocked and upset at the latest news. This is indeed rather discouraging indeed. When dealing with nature it is sometimes very hard to take. I am constantly thinking about you all and wish I could spend more time on here. Let's hope the remaining chicks will survive and if not well so beit. Next year things may be a great deal better. Thank you team for all the hard work and dedication. Hopefully next time I check in there will be more possitive information.
Wish I could be there again this year. Love to you all xxx

Midge said...

You are right AnnieF. I have never, in my 62 years, seen such tender devotion from the mother of a sickly chick. To see it from a raptor is utterly amazing.

But on this subject I would urge all parents and schools not to watch too closely when barn owl chicks hatch. The parents lay too many eggs, 5 or 6, and can rarely provide enough food for them all. As they lay at roughly 2 day intervals the youngest chick can be up to 11 days behind the first to hatch. This means that the pecking order is huge. If food is scarce the eldest chicks simply look on the younger ones as their larder. As much as I believe in children being shown the realities of life, this is a step too far. One sibling being consumed by another is the stuff childrens nightmares are made of and should be X rated by parents. PLEASE.

Phoebe said...

Someone mentioned that the chicks look smaller this year compared to the same age last year.

Has anyone noticed that the adults look bigger this year than last year. The tiercel looks to have quite a 'tum' on him. I suppose it could be age but could it be a different tiercel to last year?

@ Project Team - thanks for the explanation on the camera zoom. I thought it might be at full zoon-out, because I am sure if it was possible you would have already adjusted it.

This little chick is still haning on and the falcon has not given up on her. I makes me wonder about their perception of life.

Mary T said...

Is the chick still alive? I thought I saw some movement just now.

Midge said...

I have never seen anything like this. Mum is still trying to brood a chick which has shown no signs of life for hours. This devotion must br unprecedented. If only that devotion could be rewarded!

AnnieF. said...

On the right-hand camera, top right corner: is that smoke billowing from 3 places in that corner building or is it just an optical illusion? The falcon looks rather disturbed.

Anonymous said...

I don't want to be too emotive, but she really seemed to display sorrow and mourning when the chick passed away:

http://img179.imageshack.us/img179/1306/chickdeath.jpg

Kath said...

Please will someone do something for the poor chick. If you are able to access the scrape for ringing purposes then why can't it be accessed for chick aid. Mother nature doesn't always apply. We view these peregrines by webcam so we have already overruled mother nature. We are able to help if necessary. I can't believe that everyone is content to just watch the suffering. Nature is sad but we can occasionally help. I believe the chick is in pain. Maybe broken something, maybe balance problems. Do something, please.

AnnieF. said...

It could be something fuzzy, draped across the lens, but it gives a really weird view. No Fire Brigade, so obviously something else.

Karen Anne said...

The chicks were alone when I looked, then a couple of minutes later Mom (or Dad?) came back and settled down in a somewhat awkward fashion over the one we are concerned about. He's under her back instead of her front.)

Every so often I see him move slightly or maybe it's the wind, I don't know.

Nick, you folks must be nearing a deadline where you have to band the chicks or they will be big enough to possibly fall from the platform when you go after them? Any idea when that is? What are you thinking about the youngest one if he is still alive then? Any hope of an exam to see if this is something fixable like a parasite?

Karen Anne said...

Mom has been working hard over the little one for some time. He's at her front now, but she isn't settling down. Mom and chick, we're holding good thoughts for you,

Karen Anne said...

Colin has photos of Cathy on Flicker.

Phoebe said...

I didn't think the chick had passed away just yet. The falcon is still protecting it and I can't tell if it is moving or not, sometimes when the falcon moves it moves the chick as well. I am sure I saw it move alone. The falcon is still bothered about her chick. If it had passed away surely she would not be protecting it? What is in her thoughts I wonder...

@ Ann - good to hear from you I hope all is well!

Anonymous said...

Sickly chick still very much alive at 2.45am. I've just observed it kicking furiously underneath Mum, who's sat over it asleep. I've still got my fingers (& toes) crossed for a miracle !!

Anonymous said...

Oh No ! Both camera's have just frozen at this most crucial time - hope they're working again before I get up in the morning.

Karen Anne said...

There seems to be some pinkness and dark discoloration (or darker feathers?) on the chick. I put a photo on flickr in case this is a clue as to what is wrong, or just a bad sign...

Fiona Arrowsmith said...

The little one seems in such an uncomfortable posistion this morning, it looks to still be moving.........

I really am torn, to interfere with mother nature is maybe not the way forward but surely if this little life is destined not to make it, the miserry for both both mum and babe could be ended? It concerns me that although she is an amazing mum that if she spends too much time brooding a dying chick that the other two may suffer? oh I don't know, it's so very hard. I just hope that the poor little mite isn't in any pain.

Last year the team up at Loch garten made the difficult descision to provide EJ the Osprey and her little ones with fresh fish from Tesco! Dad had gone awol unfortunately due to being caught up in fishing line, which incidently he made a miraculous recovery from. Their intervention saved the lives of three wonderful birds........
so, is it right, or is it wrong??

It certainly seems to be a fighter!
I hope that this day will bring either the end of the suffering or obvious improvement in it's health.

Terry, Herts UK said...

I've been webcam watching intermittently since about 5am. No breakfast yet. Mum has been almost totally dedicating her time to the sickly chick who is still alive but not looking any better.

Pax(Canada) said...

@Kath, trust me the project team feel the sadness too, they have devoted so much of their time to these birds and as much as we would like to help them we have to remember they are creatures of the wild. If he web cams had never been placed this would still have happened, only we would not have been witness to it. We chose to glimpse into their world, and we have to take the good things that happen with the bad, we will see the remaining chicks thrive and fledge and take their place in the world.

Phoebe said...

The falcon has been protecting her chick all through the night and briefly standing on the edge for a leg stretch. The chick is still very much alive, and appears to be kicking again. Some photos on flickr from Karen anne and myself.

Phoebe said...

The chick has not moved for wuite s few mpmiutes now, not sure if it is sleeping or not...

Craig said...

07.37 Slight cloudy in Nottingham looks ready to clear up, lovely day. I should imagine that Derby is the same so a little repreave for Mum protecting kids from the sun.

The poorly Peregrine is still alive, moving his leg/wings.

The other two fluffballs are hiding behind mum, can only see the back end of one.

A lotta feathers in the nest, nice meal I take it.

08:12 Breakfast is being served.


@Katie noted, and I wasn't saying they were poisoned I was replying to Pam's comment perhaps the "" were missed off, my apologies. I'm inclined to go with more natural causes; parasites/unlucky genetics.
Not going to speculate further.

@Karen Anne "What are you thinking about the youngest one if he is still alive then? Any hope of an exam to see if this is something fixable like a parasite?"

Trying to think of how to put this without sounding too aggressive or defencive.
I like your optimism but up on that ledge I feel that there is not much they can do. I wouldn't suggest treatmenting 3 chicks for parasites without first getting them to a solid surface (tower top or ground) where you can control them (i.e. they aren't going to walk off the edge in panic) and look after them (give them a full checkover, how thick/fluffy are those downs? 101 places for a paracite to hide?) and you know that can't be done without too much interference and distress to both chicks and parents. The Derby Team (who do a great job in maintaining the box and cameras) I think have made it clear that these are wild birds and they will do what they can to not interfere, including holding off the ringing to wait and see. I respect that decision and agree with it, however hurtful it is.

As Nick Brown says: "re. ringing - no date arranged yet due to waiting to see if this chick dies or recovers and trying to minimise any disturbance."

Phoebe said...

Now there is food being served. The chick is moving and possibly feeding!

Phoebe said...

It looks to be curled up on its front with head underneath...

Joy said...

to Karen Anne - do you mean photos of Cathy from 6mths ago, as I cannot see anything of late.

Can't make out this morning if the little peregrin is still alive, can certainly see two lively chicks and possibly a third lying flat - oh yes it is still alive and looking better than yesterday. I do hope so 8.45a.m.

Anonymous said...

Have we lost the poor little one? does not seem to have moved for quite a while. Been watching for the last three days and things dont look any better. I know its nature and we should not interfere but when you are watching it so closely your heart bleeds and wish something could be done. The mothers utter devotion has been outstanding.

Gio said...

I think everybody is touched by Mom's behaviour with her little one dying or, as I suppose, already dead. I never saw what I'm seeing here.
Thank goodness the remaining two look well, so I think we can exclude any poison and contagious disease.
Now it's the moment to let this great, wonderful tender mother mourning her kid in peace and then dispose of the tiny body as she and the tiercel will decide.

KerrySuffolk said...

10:42
Third chick still seems to be moving, Mum still brooding it. The others are sheltering from the sun on the lhs of the platform.

AnnieF. said...

When you consider that the only resources available to the parents to nurse their sickly chick were the warmth of their bodies and the comfort of their closeness, it seems extraodinary in birds of any species that they have expended such effort. Normally nature dictates that precious time isn't wasted trying to care for a poorly one, but this has been turned on its head here. Have we a pair of unique parents? The two healthy ones don't seem to have suffered at all from neglect, despite so much attention being diverted to the third chick.
@Midge, I'm 66 and in all those years I've never witnessed such remarkable behaviour. It has been a rare privilege, but more importantly it has added another dimension to our understanding of raptors like these.

Fiona Arrowsmith said...

seems like the little one is finally at peace...
As i shed a tear I wonder how the falcon feels, do they know, do they grieve in their own kind of way? Surely to have seen such tenderness from this wonderful bird they must have some sort of feeling towards their young.

My sadness is more for her, nature at it's unfortunate worst :(

I hope that she can now focus on her two other babes and rear them succesfully, with such a wonderful mum they surely have every chance.

Fiona Arrowsmith said...

Oh my life!, it's just lifted it's little head, and i was so sure it was dead!

What a fighter!

chrisx said...

Just saw the little one lift its head briefly. I don't think Mum would stay with it if it was no longer with us. They haven't been poisoned have they?

Anonymous said...

The others look ill also

Phoebe said...

@ Twwitcher and Craig - thanks for the screenshots, I have been out and missed the mornings events, though I set my screencaptures to automatic.

A simple question - is the behaviour of the falcon what would be expected under the circumstances?

It does seem to be going on for a long time, and she must have a reason for protecting her chick. Unlike other raptors the falcons do not fight for food or attack their siblings. They seem more civilised than any other, thoughts are running away with me...

Anonymous said...

they all look ill

Phoebe said...

I am beginning to think this chick has broken bones, it is still feeding and surviving - how much longer can go on...

karen said...

Hi everyone xx i have just been watching, and it looks like the sick chick is still alive!!!! The mother is being very attentive xx I really hope that she can get it through xx This is traumatic!! xx

Gio said...

No! The chick is still alive and Mom's always with him..
He's moving his weak head and opening often his eyes..

Anonymous said...

12 15 19 may
Poorly one seems to be moving a lot more at present. Keep our fingers crossed. Mum is so good

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to say this, but I think the poorly chick should be removed ASAP, so that the parents can concentrate on the other two. I know we are watching wildlife at work, but I feel it has now got to the stage where just watching events unfold is tantamount to torture.It cannot be in the interests of anyone to let this situation continue. If the chick dies & is then fed to the other two chicks then they in turn may get ill & die. It is distressing for all concerned, and I feel on this occasion, if we can intervene, we should. If it turns out the chick could be saved with treatment & live a life in captivity like cathy then so be it. On the other hand, if nothing can be done, I feel the results of a post mortem would at least identify the problem & would be useful information for the future. Hopefully, the peregrine family can then rear the remaining chicks to fledgling stage & beyond. The peregrine mum has done a wonderful job so far, but if the poorly chick were removed, she would not spend time looking for it, but be taken up rearing the other two healthy chicks.

Phoebe said...

I received a message from Derbyshire Sara(?) on my photo 'peeking over the edge' in the derby flickr pool saying "that is enough photos" has anyone else received the same??

Terry, Herts UK said...

Something that hasn't been mentioned much is how much the healthy chicks are being ignored now in favour of the sickly one, by the falcon.

She keeps an eye on what they're doing but doesn't seem to have time to brood them or give them much attention when it seems to me, they are asking for it.

Of course, these are mostly solitary creatures by nature and so perhaps they are getting very early lessons that they will mostly be alone for much of their lives but still, it's a rather sad sight to witness.

Erica said...

Back after a month away I was sad to read of the death of one chick and the sickness of another. I can't find any posts today so can someone please help and tell me what the situation is? I can see one chick moving in the left-hand tray and another, which seems not to be moving, in the right-hand tray. Is this one dead?

Erica said...

Looking agin I realise that the mother was obscuring a chick's body and that there are two live ones.

Craig said...

15:06 Mum's flew off.

Poorly Peregrine not looking very good, especially with his sibling standing next to him. He's quite small and thin with dirty downs. Sibling is big and fat with white downs.

15:10 She's back, no food.

Karen Anne said...

Phoebe,

I think "Derbyshire Sara" will just have to put up with the flickr photos, or not look at them :-) We are already over 1000 and continuing.

I appreciate the photos everyone uploads, because then I can see what has been happening while I've been away.

As to the other chicks, at least one of them was cuddled up with Mom within the past few hours, and all three chicks were together in that time frame also.

I am thinking the little one must be being feed to some degree or he would not still be surviving.

Craig, I may be remembering incorrectly from past years, but I thought at the time of banding, which is done before they are mobile enough to be in danger of going off the nestbox edge when caught, that the chicks were checked for health.

Fiona Arrowsmith said...

@ Terry, herts;

I have to kind of agree with you, it's worrying that the other two seem to not be getting the attention they want. She is clearly a dedicated mother but i worry that her concern over the dying babe may in turn be detrimental to the other two.

It's all very sad, as nature can often be.......
I'm sure we all feel with empathy for this little life, it's not so much about being sentimental but more about hope that things all go well. We all would have wanted to see all four chicks, thrive and flourish through to fledging. However where there is life, there is hope......

Anonymous said...

I want to thank the team for allowing us to see a glimpse of the reality of natural life and death however painful it is. It has been a privilege to be able to watch the story of the chick's life and death unfold and to watch the behaviour of the parents and siblings. I have learnt so much. And yes birds do 'grieve'. I had a pair of doves and one has died and the remaining dove is clearly 'grieving'. My hope and prayers are that the remaining two chicks survive to fly the scrape even though their survival means death to others.

Craig said...

15:44 Mum's off again.
There still seems to be movement from the little chick, but only very slight.

15:58 Still movement from him.

16:02 Little one has moved around a bit; perhaps was sleeping and woken up. Still no Mum.

16:16 Still no Mum.

Midge said...

Well! How much longer can our little chick hang on. Mum seems to have had to go and catch the 3.30pm feed herself and, because she was obscuring the little chick with her body, I cannot be sure that it fed. However she did appear to continue feeding either the chick, or herself, for a while after the other two had lost interest.

I am fairly sure that there is something wrong with at least one of the chicks legs. It always seems to be at a strange angle when it is upright.

Please people, don't keep asking the team to intervene. They are quite right - if the cams weren't there we would be blissfully unaware and Mother Nature would just take her course.

Because they are there we are privelidged to watch nature in action, albeit in its rawest sense. We simply have to accept what we see and what we have seen so far has been truly remarkable behaviour on the part of the parents.

Congratulations to the team on taking expert advice and then acting on it.

Julie said...

I know that this is almost irrelevant now, but I can't help thinking that the problem with the sick chick stems back to the behaviour that some of us witnessed on Sunday when Mum was "play fighting" or whatever with the chick. At that time I thought one of it's legs was being held out in a funny way so I don't know if it was injured then? Without having a peregrine mindset I doubt we will ever know what it was all about. But it is amazing it has survived this long with an illness or injury, just proves how hard wild creatures can fight for life. Very hard to watch, but it is a dose of reality for us all and I hope makes us appreciate how easy we have it!

Anonymous said...

I think that nature has to take its course and what will be will be. I have been watching this site for the 2nd year running now and have got quite attached. Makes me feel very sad though everytime I go to view the cams :o( Am praying the chick recovers

Craig said...

@Karen Anne saying "I may be remembering incorrectly from past years, but I thought at the time of banding, which is done before they are mobile enough to be in danger of going off the nestbox edge when caught, that the chicks were checked for health."

Seems easy enough to give them a health check at branding on the ledge - isn't that just going to be a visual only check though? do correct me if wrong, but what I saw suggested when you said "fixable" was treatment and you can't just treat them for something you don't know that they may or may not have, it could make things worse.
What I was meaning is that you would need to take them away from the nest to a vet who can give them a proper checkover and knows what to look for, where to look for it and hope that they have the proper equipment/antibiotics/other in order to do the job there and then. That just can't be done hanging down to a ledge surely?
Somthing like giving them an health check on the ledge to find out what they have, putting them back and leaving to get the right treatment and then going back down to collect/treat them is just too disruptive to chick and parent.

Hope that's a little clarification on where I was coming from in addition to what was said.

@Midge, "Please people, don't keep asking the team to intervene. They are quite right - if the cams weren't there we would be blissfully unaware and Mother Nature would just take her course."
I agree, however annoying and painful it is it's the right course. I am guilty of enquired about intervening but I know it's the right choice to let nature proceed.

Terri said...

Siblings are cuddling up to sick chick in the absence of mum who's gone off to have a well earned break (or maybe preparing supper).
I honestly can't see this chick getting any better. It's a lot smaller than the other two and looks to be virtually wasting away. Really sad, I think we should put it out of its misery but at the same time I totally understand that we can't interfere. What a horrible situation. Nature is really cruel.

AnnieF. said...

I can't see all that clearly but it does seem that Mum is at least offering food to the little one!

Phoebe said...

@ derbyshire Sara - please accept my apologies for I think I may have misread your comment - I believe you saying words that the falcons could be saying. So sorry :)

This is a nailbiting time for us all.

AnnieF. said...

The little one is clearly visible, lying with its eyes closed just in front of the adult, which is standing guard over it.

Kath said...

I'm fed up with hearing about how cruel nature can be. We all know. They have wildlife rescue centres that 'interfere' with wildlife. I've taken wild injured creatures to a local rescue centre where they have been saved and returned to the wild. Is this wrong then? All I ask is that you 'interfere' with nature and help, one way or another, that chick that is so obviously suffering. This lack of action because 'experts' say you shouldn't interfere is now not applicable. What happened to human compassion. I give up.

Terry, Herts UK said...

A bit short notice but there's a feature on peregrines in this evening's "Springwatch City Living" on BBC2.

Probably available on iPlayer soon, too.

Midge said...

ps. The other two are now 'teenagers'. Just like my teenage grandchildren they go off into their own space and only return to Mum when they want feeding. If they do want a cuddle her wing goes round them instantly. They are not being neglected at all - to the extent that when Mum left the scrapte for prolonged periods thisafternoon those two went into a huddle with the little chick and appeared to 'parent' it.

Why they want to stick their heads into corners of the scrape covered in poop is beyong me. No sense of smell?

Midge said...

Thanks Terry - now taping it as we speak. Too preoccupied with our peregrines to watch anything live at the moment!

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

Just to say we'll be publishing a new blog post later this evening with an explanation of our position on intervention, and also to say that we do appreciate everyone's comments and views on the subject.

Karen Anne said...

Julie,

I have seen the Mom doing that activity more than once. I think that rather than playing, she has been trying to right the chick's position. Of course, maybe that resulted in damage to its leg.

Kath,

I totally understand your feelings about this. If it were me, I'd be up there retrieving the chick this minute. (Watch a woman looking 70 in the eye climb those stairs, would I make it :-)

But, as you know, there is a different ethos that some people have about not interfering with nature. I would interfere all over the place, but I understand that my and your view is not universal, any more than everyone subscribes to vegetarianism.

I can only say that I respect the fact that the team, which does an enormous amount of work, often unpaid, has a viewpoint different from mine, and I'm grateful for the work that they do.

Midge said...

Kath my love, since I was a small child everyone brought their sick and injured animals to me. I have done my best to rear everything from a chaffinch chick, a baby rabbit to a badger cub with a lot of success. It doesn't alter the fact that this chick is not viable. If it (by some miracle survives) it will be disabled. The totally interesting part of this saga is what the parents birds will do. Will they stay at the scrape and try to contintue feeding it, which I suspect they might by their current behaviour, which is utterly unprecendented, or will they eventually give up on a lost cause and abandon it. No one in the birding world has any experience of anything like this so the coming days are completely into the unknown.

Having a wild creature in trouble brought to you is very different from seeing one in trouble and activeley interfereing in the natural course of events. This little chick is one third of the size of its siblings and in obvious trouble - not a natural survivor. This is nature Honey but I still hope that it survives!

Love your concern. Love Midge

Anonymous said...

Whilst I can totally understand why some would want to intervene and 'do' something for this ailing chick,can I put it another way and ask "if you had a spina bifida child and thought you knew what was best for that child, would you want anyone else interfering??" I know I wouldn't - please leave Mrs P to deal with things in her own way