Wednesday, 15 June 2011
All In A Flap
So, with fledging imminent, we have alerted Derbyshire Police and the RSPCA Control Centre. They both now have all our mobile phone numbers, so Nick Brown, Tony Grantham and I will be on standby in case one or more of our birds doesn't quite make it into the air and a member of the public finds one on the ground and reports it to the authorities.
Past experience suggests that the more birds we have on the platform, the more likely it is for one or more of them not to make it into the air on their first attempt. This is presumably because they do not have so much room to exercise and strengthen their wing bones and muscles. It was for that reason that a year or two ago we fitted a "grip strip" to the platform's front lip in order to give the birds more purchase with their talons. If they can hold on better, they can exercise their wings more effectively and thus become stronger fliers when the time comes.
Whilst we generally have a policy of non-interference with these wild birds, it nevertheless seems wholly appropriate to attempt to rescue a downed bird from the busy city streets and to give it a second chance of flying by returning it to the top of the cathedral's tower. We would not encourage anyone to approach too closely if they do find a bird on the ground. Their talons are amazingly sharp and powerful, and if they're somewhere safe and away from disturbance and immediate danger, it's far better best just to leave it there until we can arrive with the Cathedral door key and the necessary equipment to safely transfer it back to the top again.
I'd like to reiterate an earlier comment I made, expressing gratitude to Nick Brown for doing so much for the project recently - a lot of it behind the scenes stuff, especially the coordination of the watchpoints on Cathedral Green. Although our peregrines do have a world-wide audience, most viewers come from the Derby and Midlands area, and many come in person to the watchpoints on Cathedral Green, here in the heart of our city. We know that some of you like to combine a shopping trip to Derby with a chance to come and see the peregrines for yourself - and this makes eminent sense. There on watchpoint days you'll meet some of the Trust's team of keen volunteers that Nick organises, and who give their time so willingly to "man" the telescopes and share the excitement of watching peregrines in real life with all who come there.
And whilst thanks are being offered, I'd like to acknowledge everyone who has responded to the call on the previous post to donate to the Peregrine Project and give contributions to ensure its success and future development in these uncertain times. Do keep it coming!
Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project Team.