Saturday, 22 May 2010

Our global audience (and Freddie the Falcon flies in)

Watch Point early update: we welcomed Annette and Peter who'd come up from Kent specially to see the peregrines having watched them online and also several people over from Nottinghamshire too. Carol, also from Notts, very kindly donated £25 to the project since it had given her so much enjoyment and interest. Thanks Carol - good to meet you. The falcon perched below the platform giving everyone good views and the chicks occasionally appeared above the platform edge. I left at noon so further updates will follow from our volunteers.
You may have seen the Clustrmap on the left hand side of the blog but have you ever clicked on it? This enlarges the world map so you can see in detail where everyone reading this blog comes from. It doesn't count visitors to our webcams - this is done separately and those counts are much higher! The list of blog readers includes a remarkable 60 countries in every continent apart from Antarctica!

Here's the breakdown for May so far with number of visits for each country:

UK 24,212, USA 1405, Canada 382, Netherlands 233, France 172, Switzerland 143, Australia 140, Ireland 129, Belgium 89, Germany 84, Italy 77, Spain 68, Taiwan 58, Norway 52, Hong King 45, Isle of Man 29, Japan 28, Poland 28, Sweden 27, New Zealand 24, UAE 23, Denmark 20, Malta 20, Latvia 18, Czech Rep 17, Jersey 16, Hungary 12, Greece 10, Cyprus 8, Belarus 6, Thailand 5, Austria 5, Turkey 5, Cook Islands 4, Brazil 3, Guernsey 3, Saudi Arabia /Bulgaria/S. Africa /Singapore/Phillipines/Libya all 2 visits and Indonesia/India/Russia/Argentina/Korea/Bermuda/Zimbabwe/Ivory Coast/Croatia/Serbia/Barbados/Bangladesh/Sri Lanka/Luxembourg/Portugal/Pakistan and Malaysia all one visit.

That's quite a list isn't it? Welcome to everyone wherever you are! (Do say hello via our comments page if you're on the far side of the world on one of those little red dots - especially so if you're the person viewing from Cook Islands, way out in the Pacific. (Nick M. has long been intrigued by how regularly you visit us - but you've not yet said "hi" yet!)

Come on down!
For those closer to Derby City, in the hearty of the English Midlands, there's a Watch Point on Cathedral Green again today (Saturday, 10.30am to 1.30pm) and it is a glorious day here today. So if you live within reach, do come and visit us. Watchpoints will run every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from now on in good weather until mid June)

Want even more hot bird action? Well, Freddie the Falcon is making his debut in Derby's Market Square today, too. No, not an early fledging bird. Instead, Freddie the Falcon is the brand new human-sized mascot for Derbyshire County Cricket Club's team. More details here. Named in recognition of the part that peregrines now play in our City's culture, we're looking forward to him being unveiled later this morning. If anyone can get a snap of him and post it to our Flickr Pool, we'll get a picture up on our blog just as soon as we can. (Remember: Our Flickr Pool is only for photos relating to Derby Cathedral and its peregrines, but is a great way of sharing relevant images with other interested people.)

It will be hot for Freddie the Falcon and everyone else in Derby, for sure, today. No doubt our peregrine chicks will huddle in the shady corner of the platform until the sun goes off the East face of the cathedral tower around mid-day.

Some viewers will no doubt wonder why we haven't provided a roof for the platform to keep the rain and sun off the birds. Well, we were advised against it back in 2006. Most natural peregrine nests have no 'roof'. Some are on shaded north-facing cliffs of course while others face south so birds nesting 'in the wild' have to contend with a range of climatic conditions.
And it was suggested that an enclosed nest might allow a build up of decaying prey remains which might harbour disease -whereas with an open platform like ours, prey remains dry up quickly.

Certainly, although the chicks do get hot, they have survived all previous summers since 2006 and these have been both hot and wet this year's birds should be OK.

The falcon has been sun-bathing on the platform as many of you will have seen, exposing her preen gland at the base of her tail to the heat of the sun and opening up her feathers and wings to allow the sun in. You can see similar sunbathing on your garden lawn - blackbirds in particular do it and it is a normal part of the behaviour of many birds....and fascinating to watch.
Off for a wash?

One thing we don't know about our birds is where they go to bathe and drink. They must know some secret places along a local river or by a lake where they can come down and have a bathe and drink without being disturbed!

The insight we get with our web cams into the life of peregrines is allowing us to make new observations, as we have done this last week as we watched the falcon carefully tend her sickly youngster. But many more questions remain unanswered.

Nick B (Derbyshire Wildlife Trust)


Joy said...

Thank you to the team for everything you do, these comments are very helpful and interesting.

One thing I would like to ask, would it be very expensive to have an oongoing video/screening or what the correct terminology is for the Peregrins. I have found it very interesting watching some other sites where movement is on going. Just a query certainly not a complaint.

Mum appreared with some food for chicks, Dad lower down and whilst writing this both adults have flown off. One chick looks as though its crying for food but obviously I can't hear it. Mum now back with something.

AnnieF. said...

Only just logged on in the last 10 minutes but seen both chicks in the back corner, lhs, with Mum in front of them. One squeezed past her,"ran"(!)to the other side, then hurried back to the corner. All this time Mum had her beak open as if calling, and was looking across to the other side, but I couldn't see anything out of the ordinary.
One things for sure - those chicks are pretty healthy!

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

Although the falcon may look like she's calling, most of the time she's simply got her beak open in order to cool down a bit in this hot sunshine. Panting is a common way for birds to loose heat.

The latest blog post has just been updated with news of Freddie The Falcon's arrival in Derby later this morning.

Pam said...

Thank you for restoring the multi-view. I have really missed seeing the comings and goings on the tower.
All is looking well in Mrs P's house this morning.

Michele said...

Thank you so very much for allowing the world to see this amazing journey. I started viewing this site after learning about the Buffalo, NY falcons who are nesting at the University of Buffalo, South Campus. (The video that updates every 10 seconds has had some problems.) Chicks hatched there the first week in May.

There is a live streaming video of a nest in Boise, Idaho. Chicks have not hatched yet though.

It has been a true pleasure and a great learning experience watching the Derby Falcons, all the way from Dunkirk, NY in Chautauqua County. We are the most southernwest county in New York State, quite a distance from New York City!

Thank you again!

Michele said...

Hello from Dunkirk, New York. Located in Chautauqua County, the furthest southwest county in New York State, quite a distance from New York City.

Thank you for all the information, video, and multiple views! I began checking this site when the falcon cam located at the University of Buffalo experienced technical problems.

There is a live streaming video of a nest in Boise, Idaho. The eggs should be hatching during the latter part of this week.

Thank You Again!!!

KerrySuffolk said...

Thank you for todays post, very interesting.

Hello to the rest if the world!

I was interested to find that the big red dot in Suffolk was not just me watching lots! A very big hello to all you watchers in Suffolk.

Both chicks looking hot but well.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for the update and welcome to all the global viewers. How fantastic !!!
I logged in to see one of the chicks stretching and was delighted to see dark feathers appearing on the tips of the wings.
Thankyou for everyone concerned and to the bloggers for giving out extra little details . S x

KerrySuffolk said...

Thanks for going back to the multi view setting on the webcam.

Jean said...

Thanks for all the teams hard work over the last few days. It could not have been easy for you all.

I have been wondering what the chicks drink or do they get their water fron their food? Can anyone enlighten me.

Thanks Jean

Craig said...

Morning, thanks for the triple view, we can see Mum sitting on the tower.

In relation to your map is that counting the number of individual IP addresses that come onto the Blog or just the number of hit (e.g. If I was to come on once in the morning, twice in the afternoon and once in the evening, that would be 4 hits; whereas it would be 1 IP address (or two if i'm working))?


AnnieF. said...

@ Project Member: Thanks for the info. about birds panting.

I think it's the falcon which is perching on the pipe/guttering that's jutting out (tower cam)and stretching her wings. The youngsters seem quite relaxed.

Craig said...

17:35 Supper is served (Pigeon), by Mum I think that is; I thought it was Dad on the tower who was plucking it. I must have been mistaken. Unless they swopped.

AnnieF. said...

Tea-time! I think it's the tiercel feeding them this time.

Midge said...

Goodness, haven't the blogs changed since the demise of the last chick! How about it we ask the team how much it would cost to update to a live camera and all of us, who have enjoyed/agonised over this pair of peregrines during the past two weeks donated enough money to enable them to update.

I, personally, have never experienced in my 62 years anything like what I have experienced on this site. I am humbled and utterly privelidged to have been witness to the unprecedented devotion of the female falcon to the sickly chick. We have all learned so much, including the team, about the wild life of our bird behaviour.

I am asking you, all, on behalf of the team, to give them the resources to improve their facilties. If you have been with this site from day one you will know how much they have progressed to date. Lets help them progress even further.

Give us a link to donate my loves, I am sure that my fellow devotees will respond. I certainly will - you are worth your weight in gold.

Delia M said...

Can anyone explain,Why feral pigeons in Derby wear registration bands on their legs ?, Can't help but notice seeing the evidence at feeding time

Midge said...

Hello, fellow falcon followers, I really expected an immediate response to my last post. Come on, we need to put our money where our mouths are. Cough up. NOW (well when the team tell us how) but then DO IT. The team have done the most fantastic job over the past four years - we can help make their job easier. Lets do it!

Jean said...

I agree with Midge.
We should all donate to this worth while project.
A link would be an easier way to donate than the existing method. It is much easier to click on a button and I think that this would increase the number of donations

Terry, Herts UK said...

Craig - I think Nick explained the hit counter some time ago. It only counts visits to the diary page and if you return within the hour, that will count as only 1 hit. If you were to visit 4 times in one day, providing you left at least an hours between visits, that would count as 4 hits.

I expect a lot of people like me bookmark the webcam page and often visit several times a day. Only when you open the diary page will a hit be counted.

I think that's correct. Cheers

Terry, Herts UK said...

Midge - I agree with your sentiments but as I understand it, this project is literally run on a shoestring! It's not just a question of installing cameras and upgrading file servers. Streamdays who bring us the webcam feeds already do so very generously for free, I believe.

To bring a continuous live feed to us would require a major upgrade to the project's communications infrastructure hardware. Then there would be the ongoing costs of maintaining it.

What the project needs imho is a major sponsor but that seems unlikely in these difficult economic times. I imagine also that any sponsor would have to be agreed with Derby Council as deemed suitable and non-political, seeing as they are quite heavily involved too. For example, would the council be willing to be associated with say, a major bank or hotel chain when they also have to deal objectively with planning applications etc from the same?

Pax (Canada) said...

Mum and Dad on the tower cam chicks sleeping below at 2.02am

the project team said...

Delia M:
what you've seen is the ring on a domesticated pigeon, and we all know peregrines take them from time to time. This is very frustrating for pigeon breeders to see, and we understand that. Peregrine falcons and other birds of prey like sparrowhawks are just one of many natural factors likely to cause losses of pigeons. As you know, from a species point of view, there's no difference between domesticated racing pigeons and the pigeons we see in our cities - all are descendants of the wild rock dove which can be found on cliffs at the coast.
They have not been differentiated in our prey lists because if you just find a feather, you can't tell whether it's a feral or domestic pigeon and, indeed some feral pigeons are failed racers anyway.
Peregrines catch many birds other than pigeons and so far in Derby we have found the remains of over 50 different species of birds. They include duck, many wading birds, thrushes and blackbirds, gulls, crows and magpies, water birds like little grebes and water rails, small birds like swifts and finches etc.
Just recently, the birds have taken a whimbrel and a black tailed godwit - both wading birds, a moorhen and a lapwing to name but a few.
So, with such a wide food spectrum, they only take a few of any one species and therefore do not have a major impact on any of them.
The project team

Anonymous said...

With respect to financial support, doesn't the RSPB help fund this type of project? I have a feeling that Chichester is RSPB funded but I could be wrong.

AnnieF. said...

About 10 mins. ago both parents were in the nestbox lhs together, one (I'm pretty sure it was the tiercel) attempting to satisfy 2 hungry youngsters, the other supervising or just watching, before it took off.
It's going to be another scorcher today!

Craig said...

Not sure if my last post was sent the post bugged; it went something like:

@ Terry, Herts

Many thanks, I don't have them on bookmarks, I have them set to homepage.

@ Delia M said...
"Can anyone explain,Why feral pigeons in Derby wear registration bands on their legs ?, Can't help but notice seeing the evidence at feeding time"

Pigeons, as you know have been bred for millenia for a lot of reason ranging from religious, racing and carrier.

Pigeons, as far as my knowledge is aware (and feel free to insult my knowledge, it's a good way to learn), aren't like your Dog or Cat. They aren't very loyal to anyone.

However, they are very loyal to Food and where there is plenty of nice food Pigeons will be there.

So the Pigeons you see in the streets of Derby or somewhere have been bred by someone but have found something more interesting and left OR they have been released.

(hope this one posts - if my last one was posted delete this one)

Craig said...

I see that my message to Delia M has been answered by the Project Team; I must have missed that sorry.

Tom Stephenson said...

I've just a question about absent adults on the post above this one, but I have now seen AnnieF's post about feeding time, 10 minutes ago, so question answered. Thanks.

Pax(Canada) said...

really time it's 12.05am here :-)

bigtuk said...

{would love to find a link to the streaming video.It must be in there somewher but I cannot find it and I've been looking believe me.Put me out of my misery please.