Tuesday, 6 April 2021

One smart bird!

Please scroll down to the previous post to read about the recent news regarding eggs and about  incubation (which is now underway) and to see videos sent by Wendy Bartter in the comments section. Her latest video shows a change over:

These photos of our male, taken by Dave Farmer the other day, show him to be a stunning individual
as you can see for yourselves.

Note the usual view of its fanned tail, presumably while he was either stretching, preening or both.

Photo credit: gdfotos.co.uk 

                                                        Photo credit: gdfotos.co.uk 

And another video from Wendy showing the male preening himself while his other half does all the hard work! Thanks again Wendy......

The Project team

Monday, 29 March 2021

Four Eggs and Two Nest Cameras

Derby Cathedral's peregrine falcons now have four eggs - a complete clutch.
Incubation is already underway so there will be little activity until the eggs begin to hatch....just a few change overs of incubation duty with the male covering the eggs as best he can while the female nips off for a quick feed and preen. The female does 90% of the incubation.
This quite period lasts just over 30 days so we expect hatching towards the latter part of April.

And we also now have two live web cameras watching the nest. Click the 'Our webcams' tab to view these from any page of our blog. In due course, they will be re-located on Derby City Council's website.

Those of you who stuck with us whilst we lost internet connectivity during the last two breeding seasons will be aware that, in 2020, our old female falcon was usurped by a new bird (reported here). The mummified corpse of the old falcon was eventually retrieved (see here). 

At the time we believed this new pair bond had not resulted in eggs, but later study of video footage retrieved directly from the cameras suggested that at least one egg might have been laid on the 'far side' of the platform.. Either way, nothing came of this new bond. 

But 2021 is very different...  

We are grateful to Wendy Barter who has been assiduously watching our new webcameras and putting recordings from her monitor onto YouTube. Her latest video, taken 27th March and shown above,  reveals a changeover between the two peregrines and the full clutch of four four eggs (including one unusually pale one).

Wendy often posts links to these video sequences in comments at the bottom of the page, so do remember to check these for the latest updates from many viewers around the world.  You may wish to check our Twitter feed for more updates or see what photos and webcam screenshots others have posted on our dedicated Flickr page. (see also right side of this blog page for these and other links)

Meanwhile, a second camera is now live on the nest, giving a great view across the nest. (We are aware the camera clocks and names need adjusting, which we aim to fix soon via remote access.)

Unfortunately NEST CAM 2's audio capability is not supported by our web hosting company (despite them selling it to us!). But it does have the capability of being pan and tilted, so we'll be working to get this enabled for remote access by the Project Team.

It has been a long and complicated process to get to this stage and we are grateful to Tim Unwin from Derby City Council who finally managed to get the network connection re-established into the tower. You can read the frustrating saga of how the 2020 lockdown defeated us (see here and  here). Fortunately BT Open Reach came to our rescue earlier in 2021 providing the 'missing key' and enabling Tim to get to the cabling! 

Since its inception in 2006, the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project has been a highly successful partnership between the Cathedral, the City Council and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.
The cathedral birds arrived completely of their own accord but were encouraged to stay by means of an artificial nest pledge, have now reared over 35 peregrine chicks between them. We no longer have either the original male or female peregrine, yet the breeding site remains successful as you can see. It's pleasing that we can once again share the intimate lives of our birds with web cam watchers around the world.      


Saturday, 20 March 2021

Webcameras live again! And now four eggs!

Update Thursday 25th: while you can watch the first live stream above, a second camera view is now available - click on "Our webcams" tab to see both.  The text below has been modified to bring the news up to date.

Update Wednesday 24th March: the latest video made today by Wendy Bartter shows four eggs so we have a full clutch!    
Watch Wendy's video here:

After a two-year hiatus in connectivity, Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project is delighted (and quite relieved) to once again offer two public-facing webcam streams from the side of the city's oldest and most iconic building. The live audio/video stream times out after 10 minutes. To see both streams click on the web cam tab.

Derby Cathedral has been the home to a pair of breeding Peregrine Falcons since 2006. Since 2007 we have live-streamed our nest cameras on the pages of Derby City Council's website, and will be doing so again in 2021.  

We know that as of 17 March (when we had our first views of the nest) we had two eggs laid - but now we have four!
We welcome comments being left on the latest blog post on what viewers have seen so that others can appreciate the current happenings.

In due course, our webcams will relocate to the webpage of one of our Partners, Derby City Council, whose network we are using. Meanwhile, click the 'Our Webcams' tab from anywhere in this blog.   


Note: The live stream will not work in Internet Explorer as it no longer supports Adobe Flash. Some users report that Chrome resets after a few seconds. Edge, Firefox and Opera seem fine.  

Wendy Bartter has made a first video and it shows the female (minus a couple of her tail feathers) returning to the platform and settling down on however many eggs she now has....sadly just out of camera view:

Update Sunday 21st March: A second video created by Wendy Barter has revealed that we now have at least three eggs.

This project is managed by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.
It is a partnership project with Derby Cathedral, Cathedral Quarter and Derby City Council (who provide us with connectivity).
We are very grateful for the help and support we get from our partners, without whom the project could not function.
We are also grateful to the generous donors who have funded the project since its inception in 2006.
Should you wish to make a donation there is a Donate button to click on the right had side under 'Support Us'. Every donation will be acknowledged.
If you want to see or leave a comment, click 'comments' at the foot of every post.

Thursday, 18 March 2021


 As we worked behind the scenes to reconnect our web cameras for the 2021 season, we were surprised to be sent this screen grab from the IT team yesterday.  It shows we already have two eggs laid by our new female peregrine who usurped or replaced our old, experienced falcon last year.

We didn't think this new female had laid any eggs last year, until an eagle-eyed watcher commented that they could see a tiny  fraction of a white egg on the far side of the nest platform on one of our screen shots. But nothing came of it, nd we genuinely thought there had not been a breeding attempt.

But fast forward to 2021, and we knew we were racing against the season to get our internet connection restablished inside the Cathedral Tower. Last Friday, we plugged in the final cable to connect up the cameras to Derby City Council's network, prior to reconfiguring the cameras and assigning new IP addresses. At that time there was no sign of any egg-laying behaviour, though plenty of 'ee-chup, ee-chup' calling by the large falcon to the smaller, diminutive male.

Previously, Derby's peregrines have always laid much later than other peregrine nest cam projects. With a new female in the pair bonded, we now seem to be more normally timed.  But what has suirprised us is the one normally-coloured egg, and the second which appears almost pure white. Although peregrine falcon eggs to vary in colour, we've never seen this before at Derby, so will watch with interest over the next three days or so to see if other eggs are laid. Normally we've had a clutch of four eggs laid every single year, though three to four is generally expected for peregrines.

Finally, a word about our live webcameras: Well, these are on the way. An order was placed with Streamdays last night, and we hope to get this operational in the next 36 hours or so. It may take a little time to get the cameras placed on Derby City Council's website, but we'll endeavour to show them here, too.

As always, .. watch this space!

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Saturday, 13 March 2021

Getting our web cams back again

Thanks to a lot of hard work by Derby City Council and Nick Moyes, with luck we should have our web cams back live for everyone to see very shortly.....so please keep an eye on this blog for updates!
Nick checked the cables up in the tower yesterday and took these snapshots of the monitor screen that is up there. 

He said:
"Our falcon is making a lot of e-chupping calls on the nest platform, and the male peregrine visited briefly before flying off". This all indicates that the pair have bonded and will soon be mating.....

Meanwhile, Antony Pooles, who walks to work close by the cathedral, has seen the pair on the tower.

He said: "The Derby pair with an alfresco lunch! The male eventually got a share, timidly approaching the female who somewhat reluctantly let go, before flying of with the remains to one of his favourite feeding/caching spots." And he took this photo of them:

Nick Brown/
The Project Team

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Peregrine art and an update

Update 23 January: Antony Pooles, one of our Watch Point volunteers, passes the Cathedral regularly on foot on his way to work. Yesterday he send us this report:

"Today I witnessed a really nice interaction between the Cathedral pair and a Buzzard.

Both birds have been very faithful to the Cathedral of late and seem to be spending more time on it than on the Jury's  Inn signs (which is not surprising with breeding season just around the corner).
The female was on the tower this afternoon but I found the male on the tall, Chester Green police station aerial as I walked home along on the old Nottingham Road.
He was soon in flight towards Chaddesden and I presumed he was off hunting but in actual fact he had spotted a Buzzard drifting over from the Racecourse ground. 

The male was calling vociferously and began to stoop at the Buzzard and within a few seconds was joined by the female. For a couple of minutes the pair took turns in bombing the larger raptor who was forced to flip over and show his talons to the Peregrines on several occasions. 

The whole dogfight was brilliant to watch with the Buzzard eventually speeding back the way it had come, leaving the falcons to soar together for a short while. 

                                       A peregrine dives on a buzzard which has flipped
                                      over to defend itself. This photo was taken at Derby
                                         Cathedral several years 
ago by Jon Salloway.

While some Peregrines (such as the Exeter pair) will kill trespassing Buzzards, happily our pair were just content to show it who's boss this time!"


A really awful day here in Derbyshire today (14th January 2021)  - grey, cold and either wet or snowy depending how far north you were.

Lockdown prevents us going to see what the peregrines are doing but I suspect they would be hunkered down somewhere out of the prevailing weather.

So, maybe it's time to take a look at the work of a few wildlife artists who have painted or drawn peregrines.

Esther Tyson lives in the county though she spends a lot of time away painting in Scotland etc.
She is a prominent member of the wonderful Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA):
Introduction | Society of Wildlife Artists (swla.co.uk) 

Peregrine with large chick Esther Tyson

Peregrine with prey by Esther Tyson SWLA

To see more of Esther's work go to Esther Tyson ma rca 

For a very different style, here's an example of the work of Andrew Haslen showing a peregrine on a sea cliff

Peregrine by Andrew Haslen

There's more about Andrew here: SWLA – The Society of Wildlife Artists

And finally, an outstanding woodcut by Colin See-Paynton, an artist based in Wales showing a peregrine mantling over its prey:

And if you want to read possibly the best nature writing about this falcon then get hold of a copy of 

Meanwhile, despite the lockdown, we are making some progress re. connectivity of the Derby Cathedral webcams having finally discovered who has the key to the street furniture where the connectivity cables are housed......watch this space (again)......

The Project Team

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Displaying already

Antony Pooles, one of our Watch Point volunteers who passes the cathedral regularly, reports seeing some display between the pair on the cathedral tower a few days ago:

He wrote:
“There was  a nice bit of early pre-breeding interaction by the Derby pair this afternoon (Dec 19th) with some 'ee-chupping' from the female and bowing by both. All very promising for 2021!”

He reports that the new female in residence seems to be a feisty individual and that we may be in for an exciting breeding season. His photo above shows both adult birds on the top of the tower.

On the web cam front, we have renewed hope that serious attempts will be made by the city council’s IT unit to establish connectivity in January….fingers crossed on that!

Meanwhile, merry Solstice, festive greetings and let’s hope for a better New Year. 

Stay safe

The Project Team.