Wednesday, 30 January 2008


I wish I'd been near Derby Cathedral last Monday. Apparently around 3pm a pair of ravens arrived on the tower and started to feed on the cache of lapwing, teal and golden plover corpses that our peregrines had made. Feathers flew as they fed in turns on their free meals at the top of the Cathedral tower. Far larger than an ordinary black crow, these cousins of rooks and crows have, like peregrines, been increasing in numbers in recent years and are returning to their old haunts around crags and cliffs. But not for long here! When our adult peregrines returned to find the ravens on their "cliff", feathers nearly flew again. Apparently there was an almighty rumpus of calls and counter-calls, with the ravens caww-ing and the peregrines calling loudly as they screamed round the tower to clear these intruders from their home. Passers-by stopped in the street, put down their shopping, and loked up and watch the spectacle as the ravens were attacked again and again with mini-stoops by the peregrines until they eventually gave up and left the area.

We've seen our birds chase off other intruders like buzzards and other peregrines, but as far as we know, this is the first time that ravens have been seen here.
(With thanks to Andy Simpson for passing on his observations.)


Anonymous said...

I was one of the passer bys on monday, it was the first time i,d seen the peregrines and to get the raven/ peregrine expierence all at once was a real treat.Thankyou to the young man that was there and explained all that was going on to me, he also told me about this site, so this is my first visit but i,ll definately be back. Steve White Derby.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Derby Museum, you're not the only one wishing they'd been near the cathedral on Monday. Talk about Derby being lucky, peregrines and now ravens too (although "our birds" clearly do not share our delight) Poor peregrines, after all their hard work, their larder was raided. The only time I've ever seen ravens "in the flesh" is at the Tower of London where, the legend has it, if the ravens ever leave, the Tower will fall - so they are looked after very well and have their own Raven Master. You are so lucky, Mr Steve White, to live so near - I've only managed to get there once as I live all the way down in Buckinghamshire! If you become a "regular" here, you'll see we "bloggers" come from all over the world - you'll see we even have a "regular" from Hong Kong. Enjoy your lovely birds!
Sue Hetherington, Wendover Bucks

Anonymous said...

14.53p.m. (31/1) Just a beautiful sight of him/her? perched and looking just gorgeous!!

Anonymous said...

Just wondering if it ever snows in Derby? I havn't seen any from the cameras to date. Thanks, from a snowy Boston, Ma.

Project Member (Derby Museum) said...

Hi Boston. Derby calling!
Snow? It's that white stuff I used to remember from about 15 years ago, isn't it?
Well, actually we've had two snow falls this year - each lasting only a day. Our last snow was yesterday, and before that it was mid November, but in Derby on Saturday it was just a light dusting, although further north in the UK it did cause a few problems and power failures etc. (But we're just not used to it)
It's warming up again now, so we're hoping we can arrange an abseil in the next couple of weeks to check and sort out the platform.

Keep warm!