Monday, 30 May 2011

Ringing the chicks and an update

Everything went well. The chicks were ringed and we left the tower an hour after
arrival. The local paper should have a big feature on the ringing in tomorrow. Pictures to follow on the blog..... and thanks to Ant and Martin for their professional services!
Chick ringing will take place this evening if we possibly can get it done now the rain has finally stopped, between 6-8pm.
So, if you see a rope and a pair of legs dangle into view on the web cams and the chicks disappear into a rucksack, hopefully between about 6.20 and 6.40pm, fear not!
It's all part of the plan....
The chicks will be just the right age to be ringed.
Any younger and the rings could slip off their legs, any bigger and we risk the chicks flapping out of the nest platform - whereas what they will do at this age is to crouch in the back of the gravel and stay quite still until handled.
They are put into a rucksack which is quickly lowered down to the nave roof below where the ringer is stationed. After ringing, the chicks are returned to the nest. The adult birds usually return to them within half an hour or so (often sooner) and life continues as if nothing had happened.
A full report on the ringing will appear here later in the evening. There will not be any video clips though this year, for the reasons explained in earlier posts.

My photo shows the very first chick to be colour ringed (001) - back in 2007. We did ring the chicks in 2006 but didn't have any colour rings then.
Now that we do, we give each bird a British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) ring on its right leg and an orange colour ring on its left - as you can see in the photo. The BTO ring has a unique number on it so that if the bird is found dead or injured, the finder can report the number back to the BTO.
The colour ring would enable us to identify the bird later if, for example, it were to start nesting at another site somewhere. The big, simple number (in this case 001) can been seen through a telescope - so we can be sure which bird it is without having to try to catch it |(virtually impossible with adult peregrines anyway!).
The colour and numbers (as opposed to letters) are unique to Derbyshire ringed peregrines. The fact that the ring is on the left leg means that the bird has come from the cathedral. Any other juvenile peregrine ringed elsewhere in Derbyshire will have the rings on the other legs - BTO on left, colour on right.
The ringer has ringed all the chicks at the cathedral since 2006. He is very experienced and has ringed many peregrines and other raptors in his time and there is absolutely no risk to the bird.
Ringing has given us so much vital information about birds since the national ringing scheme was started many years ago. For more information go to the BTO's website at .
With luck there will be a picture story in the Derby Evening Telegraph on Tuesday or perhaps Wednesday, depending.
Nick Brown (Derbyshire Wildlife Trust)

Ps Monday Event Update: Despite continual rain, we've had a busy day today with over 300 people coming to the cathedral for tower tours and to see Cathy. She behaved very well and everyone was delighted to see her. Big thanks to Colin for bringing her down! We managed about an hour of Watch Point duty around midday before the rain became harder once more....


Phoebe said...

I see the green rope hanging down.

I should watch out lads the falcon is waiting for you on the scrape, calling out and she doesn’t look too happy! She doesn’t want to move and her chicks are huddled fast against the back wall of the scrape. I hope your hard hats are firmly fixed.

Mary T said...

Glad you had a successful day. Sorry I couldn't be there to see Cathy. How exciting tonight to actually see the ringing of the chicks as it happened. Such a shame that last year's chicks couldn't be ringed but hopefully these four will survive and thrive. Well done team!

Mo and Pete Cole said...

Fantastic...that was priceless...well done Nick....x

Jane (Belper) said...

Well done to all the team at Derby - a speedy and fabulous job done. Hope you can let us know what you have identified from the bits in the scrape - that green leg a few days ago looked very interesting!
Many thanks to all involved. Sorry I didn't make the watch point today - it was a bit too wet for me!

Ren13 said...

Very glad all went well, except for the rain....
Wish I could have been there but Virginia is a bit too far.
Does anyone have the link or name for Colin's blog? I didn't think to bookmark it, and searching brought no joy since I can't remember the "name" he uses.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say that we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the cathedral this morning. It was lovely seeing Cathy and very interesting listening to Nick. Thank you everyone. Luke, Mum and Dad


just want to say a big"Thank you" to all involved in the Team. There seems to be more and more webcams all over the uk.I have enjoyed watching Derby for 4yrs.Glad you had a good day ringing the chicks

joan said...

Great to watch the ringing on Sunday from my appatrment window,
I am concerned that i have only seen one falcon since well before the ringing, is it normal for one of the birds to stay away so long?
Bill Ramshaw

Marnie said...

The green leg in the scrape could have been a greenshank - a member of the sandpiper family.

Jim said...

Any photos of cathy how she looks now thanks.

Anonymous said...

I was sorry to miss Cathy too, as I was in Newbury over the weekend. I did get a good view of a red kite flying over the A34, though!

Kate (Derby)