Overnight thinking: how could we melt the snow to give our birds a chance of laying eggs onto the gravel and not onto a bed of cold snow and ice? There was concern that laying onto ice and incubating in that position might result in eggs not staying viable. There were, after all, only two options for them, and both were snow-filled.
Brainwave: since an abseil down was out of the question today (far too windy and also bitterly cold) what about lowering a hot water bottle (HWB) from the top of the tower - or even releasing some hot water directly onto the snow in the nest?
|Nick M dangles a HWB from the top of the tower|
|Said HWB in situ, melting the snow...|
The media were informed (and rather liked the story) - there was a short piece on BBC TV East Midlands Today this evening, and Nick went in to Radio Derby to explain why we had taken this rather unusual course of action.
We realise we normally take a stance of not intervening too much, and always ensure we have pursued both the legalities and the practicalities of the actions we take. So not everyone has felt this was the right course of action to take today, but we can assure everyone that the birds were not disturbed in any way, nor even called out once, which did surprise us. It may turn out that our efforts were in vain after all. Later this evening our falcon appears to have returned to the still snow-bound, right hand side of the nest ledge after a brief foray into the defrosted bit.
So, as egg-laying time gets ever nearer we'll simply watch and wait now to see which part of the nest ledge she finally chooses. And hope that it turns out to be OK after all.
Nick B and Nick M (DWT)