Sunday, 10 June 2007

'Scope for Enjoyment

Watching the watchers watching the birds. Click image to enlarge.There was plenty of scope for enjoying views of Derby Cathedral's Peregrines today. Some 200 people came down to Cathedral Green to use the telescopes at the Wildlife Trust's "Peregrine Watch Point". It was a pleasure to meet some of you there and to hear how much many of you have enjoyed seeing the webcams and checking out this blog. Both adult birds spent much of the day near each other on the gargoyle ledge at the top of the tower. This let everyone clearly see the considerable difference in sizes of the two birds. Meanwhile, down on the tray, both growing birds exercised their wings from time to time, causing small clouds of white down to flurry around in the air. It won't be long before they lose it all as it was clear how rapidly their flight feathers are developing .

It was helpful to have full streaming video and sound in the nearby Silk Mill Museum - this attracted new visitors, both to the Museum and our Watch Point.

(Oh, there's a temporary glitch on Camera 1 which we'll fix on Monday morning - our apologies for this.)


Anonymous said...

As one of the people who viewed both the chicks and the parents, I found it really interesting to see them up close.

Project Member (DWT) said...

Glad you enjoyed it!
Thanks to our really excellent band of volunteers, we hope to run the Watch Point for another couple of weeks at least, ie until the chicks have fledged safely.
If anyone wants to help, a few new people would take the strain off some of our 'regulars'. Offers to

Anonymous said...

Before I had thought one of the chicks looked smaller with less feathers, but after the look at the Museum' monitor, it looks ok with perhaps a bit more white down to lose!
Thanks to all who have helped set this up (and run it). How about making more of a feature of the Derby Peregrines And could we put trackers on the birds so that we knew where they go away from Derby?


Anonymous said...

And as a follow up to John's question above, once the chicks start taking flight, what happens to them and their parents? Do the parents stay while the kids are given the boot?

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

We don't plan to put trackers on the birds, apart from the coloured rings, of course. In Britain the birds are not as migratory as they are in North America, and there would be a lot of costs and unecessary distrubance to the birds for little scientific return.
We welcome suggestions for how we could make "more of a feature of the Derby peregrines" - we had thought we'd made quite a feature of them already!

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

The parents will stay around the tower, as will the fledglings. They will be taught to hunt and catch prey. Last year's chicks stayed around the Cathedral right though until winter, with at least one remaining around this years nest and eggs into April 2007. (See video clip for blog entry dated April 6th 2007)

Jackie said...

Re making "more of a feature of the Derby peregrines" - live streaming would be great, maybe to libraries, schools, and the new 'Big Screen' that's going to be going up in the Market Place. A competition to design a Peregrine symbol for Derby, to go alongside the Derby ram? Peregrine watching could become a visitor attraction if featured on suitable tourist & events websites.

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

Some great ideas, Jackie. Thanks.
Just to let you know where we stand: we did consider live streaming this year, but would only have been able to give 30 users access at a time. We will look into the possibility for next year, but the costs are enormous.
We had a meeting today about next season, and we did say we would talk to the education authorities about their possible interest in live video into schools. But we'd not thought specifically about libraries - a good suggestion.
The "Big Screen" - well, yes our birds are going to feature on the giant screen that has just gone up in the Market Square. We decided not to go for live pictures, but that the BBC would show video highlights and perhaps some stills. (It's also technically easier to do.) Our Tourist Information Centre has just asked us for some more peregrine leaflets, as they've run out, but you do make a good point about ensuring we tell visitors to Derby about the bird watching opportunities. We do know that quite a few people have come to derby specifically to see the peregrines this year. But I'm not sure who would use a peregrine symbol in Derby - perhaps the answer is "Our Project!" - something we can consider for next season perhaps.
Please keep the ideas flowing.

Anonymous said...

There was a lot of wing-flapping going on at about 13:55 on 11th June. Are the chicks "flexing their muscles" as practice for flying?

Project Member (DWT) said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

Yes, indeed. Wing flapping will become a regular behaviour now.
In a few days we can expect the chicks to get more adventurous, climbing up onto the edge of the platform and spending more time looking at the great wide world around them.
This is all instinctive behaviour of course. We might like to think they are saying 'Blimey, have I really got to jump off here next week?' but in fact, their development is innate.
The chicks that are genetically programmed not to rush about and clamber 'over the edge' are the ones which survive and pass on their genes to the next generation.
The results of a long evolutionary process are here before your very eyes!