Saturday, 17 May 2014

Death of a chick

Sadly one of our chicks died earlier today. This morning the falcon appeared to be sheltering all four birds from the heat of the morning sun, although some webcam watchers had already become concerned at the state of its health before that time. The remaining three chicks are feeding well. The chick that has died has been marked in the photo below (thanks to Kate for sharing this screenshot on Flickr).

This situation has occurred before at Derby, and can be distressing for some viewers to watch. There is little we can do - the dead bird may either be removed from the nest by the parents, although in one year we witnessed a dead chick being fed to the remaining eyasses, and this could happen again, of course. At that time we had long discussions on the legality or otherwise of removing the dead bird for analysis, but were told by the licencing authorities and by the police that they would take a dim view of us trying to do so outside of our scheduled abseil to ring the remaining chicks.



Quite why it died we will probably never know. But for now the remaining chicks look healthy and are feeding well. (UPDATE: At 5:45pm today the dead chick was removed from the nest by one of the parent birds.)
Thanks for everyone for reporting the news on both our Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as via our blog comments.

53 comments:

Joyce S said...

That is very sad news. Hope the others are OK - it's been very hot again today, like is was when two chicks died a couple of years ago

christine said...

What very sad News about one of our chicks! Hope the others will be ok! From Christine

Julia said...

So sad to just read this. Was it the smaller of the chicks ?

Dave H said...

Sorrow to hear that Nick. I did notice on the 12th that only 3 of the chicks seemed to be heads up eating vigorously. Hope the others do well

Kate said...

Phew!!!! Cam 4 shows empty scrape with Adult of far side...BUTTTT

Cam 3 shows three little fluff balls all curled up and snoozing under and out of range of the Cam.

Lets hope they all continue good health.

Abby-Lynn said...

Sad to see one of them go. But I did notice yesterday another one not doing real great. Red spot near its wing and father pecking at it as tho to fix it. Sure hope I'm wrong. This is my first time watching them.

Kate said...

Morning all
Everyone tucked up in the corner and just trying to escape Mums sheltering wings, so cannot see if all are OK.Welcome Abby,this is such a lovely scrape to watch with so much extra information form a wonderful Team, that share and help educate on these Birds.
I do hope there is nothing sinister in your noticing a red spot on another Bird, and hope there is no infection,but without analysis of the carcas, we will never know the cause of death.

Kate said...

All up and moving, though one of the two larger chicks, did not take any food at feeeding time, but I think this was left over of prey from second bird that was feeding out on the other end. Bird noe on the edge of scrape. and chicks huddled in the corner.

joanne said...

All three chicks look active and upright this morning, did notice the evening before the fourth click died that it seemed unable to stand - had watched it for some time, was not totally surprised to find it had died the next day - very sad. On a lighter note - the other chicks do have ridiculously big feet don't they!!

Helen said...

All three chicks have just had a very good feed supplied by the tiercel. The female was happy to leave him to it.

Sue Peregrino said...

So sad and sorry to hear this. But don't lose sight of the fact that if all peregrine falcons raised 4 young to adulthood every year, we'd soon be knee deep in peregrines. The 4th chick was nature's insurance policy, just in case. The statistics are that about 80% of peregrine young do not make it through their first year. We only started with one egg at Aylesbury, so how fortunate are you in Derby, remember to count your blessings. It's such sad news, but there is a silver lining in that you still have 3. And maybe we all need to remember sometimes that life isn't always a fairy tale and death is a natural part of the miracle of life. :)
I watched from Cathedral Green yesterday and the pair of adults were around the platform and were looking magnificent, incidentrally.

Anonymous said...

Both adults in shale scrape,along with I think the littlest chick.
Others tucked in far corner of scrape.

Anonymous said...

Whats going on at the nest, it looks as though the adults can't be bothered, now theres only two, but for how long.

Anonymous said...

There are still "3" live, healthy chicks !!!!

Jean said...

They still have three live chicks and the parents are looking after them ! They can't be in 3 places at once now the chicks are more active !

Anonymous said...

That's great I was getting a bit worried, I saw the adult take the dead chick out yesterday, lets hope they don't have to repeat that scene very upsetting.

Kate said...

Ooops!!! Phew!!! where are they ???

It's ok they are hiding in the corner on the slate scrape.
Kate

Kate said...

Ooops!!! Phew!!! where are they ???

It's ok they are hiding in the corner on the slate scrape.
see flikr
Kate

Sue Peregrino said...

Anon, I didn't see the dead chick being taken away and realise how upsetting it must have been. But I'm sure the adults instinctively did the best thing in removing a potential source of infecting the remaining chicks.

Jean said...

All 3 chicks being fed at the moment on the slate side !! : )

Anonymous said...

Hi
Enjoying watching the peregrines, also watching Sheffield Uni and Norwich Cathederal peregrines, its interesting to watch different families and comparing their progress.

AnnieF. said...

All 3 chicks on view at 11.41 hrs., the largest huddled into the farthest corner, lhs, in the shade, but the smaller two in full sun in the middle. no sign of an adult - they must be sweltering and thirsty.

AnnieF. said...

Wouldn't you just know it? As soon as I'd posted that, both adults arrived, one each side of the nestbox, and proceeded to check on the chicks. One small one was being sheltered under the wing straight away.

Lorraine said...

13.46 - Largest chick still preferring the L/H side of scrape, whilst the two smaller remain within the slate side - Mum perched on the edge.

Linda said...

Well they've all had a good meal just now, the 2 bigger ones moved away to leave the little one being fed, but came back and they all seem fine.

Anonymous said...

I was in Derby on Saturday afternoon watching the Peregrines from the old cathedral green.....I was talking to a group of photography group that was with the derby telegraph doing a tower climb. I made sure I told them not to lean over the edge where the peregrines are nesting as its illegal....apparently they were told this also by the verger. When then did two or three of them once up there ignored what was ask and go ahead and look over.....the female falcon was going mad....and on the day one of the chicks died....that is all she needed as extra anxiety.....very cross at the derby telegraph photography group....I have written a strongly worded letter to them!

AnnieF. said...

@Anonymous: Reckless and indeed unforgivable behaviour by members of that group considering they'd been warned. Tower climbs should be banned while the peregrines' breeding season is on, full stop.

On a happier note, all 3 chicks are tucked down together in the back LHS corner of the scrape, with an adult on the ledge in front of them keeping guard.

Anonymous said...

wow, just looked at the peregrines at Nottingham and they are big!

Lorraine said...

Anon - I'd offer the details to a rival newspaper, who may take sneaky delight in exposing the breached welfare requirement of the Derby peregrines. It would also highlight the project immensely !

Good to see the remaining chicks are tolerating the sun, but won't relax until the smallest gains the ooomph! of the other two and can push itself forward more.

It must feel like an oven in the scrape at times. If only a cover could be devised for quick fitting across a corner? Practicality tells me this is not possible, but still... if only!

Sue Peregrino said...

The weather forecast I saw said that today (Monday 19/5) was to be the last "scorcher". Isn't it bizarre, soes anyone recall the issues we had last year at egg-laying time (the bitter east winds and snow!) Mind, it is wonderful to see the sun after the miserable wet winter we've endured.
Hope everyone who can get ther is all ready for the Watchpoints. They start on Saturday. We'll be on the Cathedral Green (and if any errant Derby Telegraph people stop by, they will be very welcome but will get a severe telling off from the watchpoint volunteers first)

Anne said...

I was very lucky to be on line this morning Tuesday 20/5 at 8.30 am when one of the peregrines arrived with a kill.
I was thrilled to be able to watch all three chicks having their breakfast. They all seem about the same size to me.

Thanks to all involved in providing such wonderful photography.

Anne of Allestree

Victoria Wilcox said...

The camera club group tower climb was on Sunday not Saturday as one of your comments states.
Our group was unaccompanied by the verger on his choice but he was quite clear on instructions - we were not to go beyond the rope at the top and not to lean over under any circumstances. We followed that specific instruction and I am not aware of any member who disobeyed this must. I was present for the entire duration that any of them were present.
At one point a falcon was circling the tower and making a call so we stayed still where we were and watched from the Iron Gate side.
The Cathedral could easily have postponed the trip to another day - we would have been fine about that. They did not.
Your frustrations may be better directed at the Cathedral for allowing and encouraging us to go up there.
I am disappointed and upset that anyone on your blog would imagine for a moment that we would blatantly behave in a way that would aggravate the peregrine falcons, or disregard instructions, or go ahead with a pre-planned trip that we were NOT warned might be a bad idea in any shape or form.

Anonymous said...

Was it two or three? If you actually saw anyone looking over from the roped side you would know. Just an unnecessary trouble causer!

Anonymous said...

I am the person that wrote the entry about the photo group.....maybe things were taken out of context,i was told it happened by a good friend of mine, i myself did not witness anything,just passing on a statement from a friend that was down at the cathedral on whatever day,the person we are talking aboutis in early stages of alzheimers and gets confused very easily,sorry if any upset was caused,but it wasn't ment to. Peter. Derby

Victoria Wilcox said...

AnnieF, Lorraine and Sue Peregrino I would very much guide you now please to the comment just posted anonymously again (by Peter)- which explains the comment about our group he made previously....
Perhaps next time Peter you could benefit from following our example here at the Derby Telegraph and check your facts as carefully as possible before publishing something for all to see.
I accept your apology on behalf of the group but urge you to think about the consequences of posting libellous statements you do not know are fact.... on a website - that could affect the reputation of many lovely people who care as much for the birds as you do.

Linda said...

I've been watching the others at Nottingham, Norwich, Sheffield and Aylesbury. The Nottingham chicks, which are some weeks older than ours are huge. The Norwich ones are pretty big too, but the Sheffield ones don't seem to be growing as fast. That little Aylesbury one is big too. Nick- Sue when are ours going to be ringed? They seem to have settled down in the left side of the scrape again now. Just hope they keep well.

AnnieF. said...

@ Victoria Wilcox:
Thank you for pointing this out. I had no reason to suspect this post - I've never come across false information here before. I'm so sorry to have upset you by taking the comment by Anonymous (Peter) at face value.
Kind regards, AnnieF.

Phoebe said...

I am sorry to hear the news of the dead chick. Unfortunately my pc decided to give up last week. I have just had surgery and can only type for a short while, so I have missed everything for a few days.

Let's hope the remaining three chicks continue to do well.

I will try to watch as much as I can and get screengrabs.

AnnieF. said...

@Phoebe:
Welcome back, & I hope your recovery will be swift, painless and complete. Missed you!
Yes it was so sad to lose that chick, but the others all look quite perky. Let's hope they continue to thrive.

Phoebe said...

@AnnieF

Thanks for the welcome back. I have missed being here. There was a brief spell of heavy rain at Derby earlier. All looks well on the scrape. The chicks huddled in the corner.

I wonder what that grey flat looking thing is on the right side? Could be a wing maybe.

Sue Peregrino said...

I'm really excited that the Watchpoints start this coming Saturday 24th May. We volunteers will be on Cathedral Green with telescopes and binoculars to let interested visitors see the wonderful birds - and we never tell anyone off who takes the trouble to come and see us. We're only too pleased to welcome anyone who thinks the birds are as fabulous as we think they are :) I shall be coming up from the Aylesbury area where we just have the one fat chick as has been noted above. It was ringed on the 16th May and the ringer said it was a feistly little madam with a beak to be respected. The ringer declared it to be a female based on her weight (the sexual dimorphism is apparent from the start, so I'm told) Do come and see us, Derby Telegraph, maybe get some nice shots of the watchpoint.

Kate said...

Morning all
Yes Phoebe, we have missed you, I was just contemplating an e. mail to you,as is so unusual for you to be a way so long,without any comments or pics.
Always frustrating when computers play up, maybe it knew you were having surgery and was giving you support CHOL:):
The Flat grey thing on the slate side, I assumed is part of the furniture, as the chicks have been nestled up along there past few days.

linda said...

Is number 2 in trouble. all across on the far side of the scrape on it's own? Hope everything's ok.

Phoebe said...

Morning, thanks Kate!

The one on the left is moving and has shade from the falcon, but they all look very hot today. Fingers crossed the weather is set to be cooler after today. They will feel better.

Sue Peregrino said...

9:25am and it's correct that one chick is is the corner. Chicks often do tend to like to snuggle into corners though so hopefully it's not a bad sign. The female is sort of "mantling" it, presumably to shade it? It is moving from time to time. The other two chicks are noisy but perhaps they are hungrier?
Oh and PS, yes, welcome back Phoebe, we've missed you!

Green Class said...

Wen we watched the peregrine falcons this morning one of the chicks went in to the sun so the male grabed the chicks neck and pulled it under its wing.It was very funny wen we saw it. The male is looking after the chicks very well.Defantley wen he did that.

Lorraine said...

Busy time for me just now, with only quick look-in's and catch up's. Lots of posts to read -

Glad of the facts posted by Victoria that have appeased any miss-understanding and smoothed any ruffled feathers! No harm done and good camaraderie remains within the blog. We are so fiercely protective of the birds and anxiety over the deceased chick was still raw in everyone's minds. A gallant response by Peter to round and close the matter.

Hi Phoebe! a relief to know you are recuperating. Rest up and take things slowly. Hope you soon feel much stronger. x

Sue, I soooo wanted to come up to visit the green this year, but may not be able to make it whilst my dear old mum needs me on hand over the next few weeks, so it very much depends on if an opportunity arises. Don't forget to give us a wave on 24th!

Three chicks in the shade just now and all looks good.

Lorraine said...

I see the little one is holding it's own and managing to pinch quite a few mouthful's at feeding time going on just now. NOW I can relax into the joys to come!

Sue Peregrino said...

Just gone 6pm on 21/5/14 and "the ravenous three" have all just tucked in to supper, all looking very lively and alert. They then slumped into post dinner soporific stupor! I watched, seranaded by the cathedral carillion (if that's what it's called!)

Phoebe said...

Hi Lorraine & Sue, thanks for the welcome back! I am watching and notice how different the feeding sessions are now.... the chicks are helping themselves from the feeders beak, even snatching from each other at times. It won't be long until food is left for them to help themselves. All three look to be thriving and that little is so fiesty! It's good to be back watching. I have some screengrabs and will post them later.

@Sue, I still can't get to see your chick, the cams do not display. I hope it is doing well.

christine said...

Hi nick just wondered when the chicks r going to be ringed? From chrstine

Sue Peregrino said...

Hi Phoebe
Aylesbury can be accessed 3 ways. I'll tell you the Wildlife Trust website way, which is at http://www.bbowt.org.uk/node/17006 There are 2 views, sideways and overhead. It's not the Rolls Royce (no pun intended, although we aren't luck enough to have such fabulous partners like you!) of webcams but it does the job. We only have one chick (?adult fertility issues???) but my goodness, it's a whopper. It was ringed on Friday 16th and was a feisty madam with a fierce peck. It was judged to be a female at such a weigth being only 18 days old at that stage. It has a metal and darvic ring. The darvic is orange (like so many) and has black lettering "LD".
Christine - not sure if Nick is picking up blog comments just now, suggest you call DWT HQ and ask for the Peregrine Engagement Officer. There'll be a watchpoint as usual on Saturday which he'll be at but you may be too late to find out by then.

Phoebe said...
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