So we can expect them to prepare themselves for fledging by wing flapping and getting on the edge of the platform to feel the air and get their bearings.
While it is possible that one of them might accidentally get pushed off and be forced to fly early, the wing flapping stage can (and usually does) last for several days.
It will also happen that one or more juvenile will disappear from the platform, only to re-appear again some time later.
They begin to climb up at the back of the platform to positions invisible to our cameras.
Already several observers have struggled to see all four of them and have thought one must have fledged only for it to reappear minutes later.
Since 2006, we have had seven or eight of the juveniles come to ground on their maiden flight.
|This male came down in 2011. he was much easier to catch|
and handle than any of the females!
This morning I took a 'rescue' box, gardening gloves plus cloth (to throw over a fallen bird) down to the cathedral ready in case one does come to ground.
Two years ago none did. Last year only one did and here she is:
|This big female came down in 2015.....quite a handful!|
It is usually the heavier females that find it hard to maintain height on their first flights and end up on the ground, from which they can't get airborne again.
So, if you actually see a juvenile take to the air, please leave a comment on the blog. If you can see only three or fewer, keep watching because they may reappear from their hiding places!
Every year we expect to get many false alarms.....and I'm sure this year will be no exception.
As soon as we get news of one of the juveniles really fledging, we'll post the news here.
Wendy Bartter has kindly sent this speeded up video made today of the youngsters, for which, many thanks Wendy. (I see a grand prix was taking place on the streets below!)
Nick B (DWT)
Report on Watch Point 11th June:
After a fairly uneventful start yesterday's watch point proved to be quite exciting with lots of action from both the juvenile and adult birds throughout the latter part of the morning and early afternoon. The young birds could be seen vigorously flapping their wings, and peering over the edge of the platform. The white downy feathers that were present last week are now almost completely gone and their beautiful juvenile plumage could be clearly seen through the telescopes. On numerous occasions at least one of the juveniles spent time perched confidently on the edge of the platform.