Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Thanks all round - and news of a TV programme

Now is the time to thank everyone who has helped to make this another successful year for the peregrines themselves and indeed for the peregrine project which works away behind the scenes all year round.
First, a big THANK YOU to everyone who has donated to the project (and donations are still coming in). The total so far is £2145, £1500 of which will be used to 'match fund' the lottery grant - giving them the evidence that we are not relying on them 100% for income but continuing to raise money ourselves. (Incidentally, this figure compares very favourably with that raised by other peregrine projects).
The three egg stage seems along time ago now.....

Second, a big THANK YOU to everyone who has come to a Watch Point, followed the web cams and the blog and sent in comments.
We are fast approaching 300,000 'hits' since January (and 900 comments), which, considering how many other web cams there are now in the UK and how many years the project has been running, are great achievements.
Grotesque or what? 

Thirdly, a really BIG THANK YOU to all our splendid Watch Point volunteers. They have worked very hard this summer under the organising hand of Ian Layton.
That over 2000 people were counted looking through the telescopes is a tribute to their hard work and determination not to let anyone passing by do so without having a look.
And fourthly, a big THANK YOU to everyone who has helped us behind the scenes.This includes many Cathedral staff and volunteers (especially John A and Jackie but also Kim and Irene and the vergers), staff in the city council IT team and SERCO and staff at Cathedral Quarter.
We have also had tremendous support from some teachers who have been helping us develop education resources for schools, people with contacts to groups and organisations supporting folk with physical and mental disabilities and people in minority communities.
Juvvie by Whycliffe
As several people have been saying, the birds are still appearing on camera quite regulalry  - and giving people pleasure every time they do.
DO stay with us, logging on from time to time to see what we have to say and with luck to see one of our birds.
The chicks just out of  the bag and ready to be ringed 
NOTE: those living in the East Midlands BBC broadcasting area will soon be able to see the 30 minute programme called URBAN JUNGLE which will feature scenes from the day we ringed the chicks.
The programme is now confirmed to be broadcast at 7.00 pm on Thursday 1st August on BBC 1 East Midlands. Folk living beyond the region may be able to watch it on i-player though this is not certain at the time of writing.

The Project Team (Nick M, Ian L, Tony G and Nick B)

Ps. We hope to have news about the peregrine that bears an orange ring and is nesting in Yorkshire. Thanks to local birder Nick Frazer for organising some local long-lensers to go and have a crack at getting a shot of the ring close up! Fingers crossed....

pps. Link to a recent peregrine rescue in Sheffield is:

PPps. Please note that we have stopped one of the feeds from the new wide angled camera since the lens is very mucky now - so we might as well save some money!


Green Class said...

We have enjoyed watching the pergrines this year.Hopefully they will have more chicks next year.We think the juvnils might have found there own homes now. We have been thinking of some good questines this year.
whay do the pergrins sit on the bilding with the leters?
if another pergran falkon who they dont now comes into there home woud they kill the chiks or tace the eggs?
why are the chicks white when they hatch?
why dos the mail some times feed the feemail?
why isnt ther a roof on the platform?
are the chicks comfy on the stones?
why do pergrins compeet to catch there pray?

nick said...

Hi Green Class: here are some answers to your questions which I hope are helpful:
The letters on the hotel provide good perches and perhaps, in cold weather, the lighting inside them gives them a bit of heat up through their feet!
From there they can see back to the cathedral and can keep a watch on what is going on. In the morning they get the sun to warm them up and later the letters are in the shade to cool them down!
Intruding peregrines won't either kill the chicks or damage the eggs. They might have a scrap with the resident adults though. Usually this takes place in the air near the tower.
I don't know why the chicks are white...possibly to deflect the heat of the sun? Certainly it makes them very obvious so it can't be to camouflage them!
The female does all the egg laying (of course!), is the one that sits on the eggs mostly and looks after the small chicks. So she has to be fed by the male because she can't go off and hunt for herself. It is a good 'division of labour' - a bit like dad mowing the lawn while mum cooks the dinner (or visa versa).
A roof on the platform would make it very hot in summer and would allow the remains of the prey to go rotten. probably it is better to have a good circulation of air. Obviously when it rains or snows hard, a roof might be a good idea but on balance we decided not to put a roof on.
We think the chicks are fine on the gravel...they certainly seem to do well don't they? On cliff ledges there could be soil, moss or stones on the they are quite adaptable.
The adults sometimes hunt cooperatively, that is the one bird helps the other to catch their they don't compete - rather they cooperate if anything.
Hope that helps you with your studies!

Nick B said...

Lorraine - we really liked your poem and hope we can quote it elsewhere? Please email us at to confirm.
Nick B

Green Class said...

thank you for telling us the anses to our questens. we have leaned a lot about peregrines. we enjoyed writing questens and coments on the blog. some of our favourite memores are when the chicks hatched. we were exitod. the chics were small to begin with but thay sone grow.

nick said...

Glad you enjoyed our birds Green Class. Hope you (and all the other school children who have been watching the web cams and reading the blog) have a good summer holiday!

nick said...

Oh...and the teachers too of course!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what great news about the donations! The webcams don't happen by magic so I'm really pleased to hear that there's money in the kitty to run another year. I know that there are strict rules on use of the HLF money and not all of the work you do counts as "inclusive" Presumably, the £1,500 goes into the HLF "pigeonhole" (if I can call it that!!) and all excess goes into parts of the peregrine project that are not "inclusive" (such as schools and special groups)?
I was pondering the question of "why white down" and I wonder if it's because baby birds have to grow down and then a first set of feathers in a big hurry. Maybe it takes time and trouble to introduce pigment into the feathers. When the chicks moult the down, the first set of feathers aren't fully coloured.
Juveniles are browner than the blue of mature adults.
I'm out of the East Midlands BBC area and hope Urban Jungle will indeed be on iplayer. Whatever, I hope somebody records the programme for posterity or puts it on this site's YouTube. I have a feeling that the programme will send you a pre-copy? Perhaps they will allow it to be put on this website?

christine said...

Webcam stream 2 has frozen! From Christine

Lorraine said...

Hello Sue,

I've done some research into why the chicks have white down and thought you may find the following as interesting as I did:
According to the NCBI ( National Centre for Biotechnology Information )It seems that the genetic code that is contained within an embryonic feather bulb holds various other important instruction, one being associated with immunity. The info on the research is all very complex and not written in layman's terms, but from what I could gather, it has led me to believe that perhaps pigmentation only occurs after the establishment of other more vital factors related to the chicks immunity are established.
Another fascinating insight into the developing embryo, was the action of a large muscle in the chicks neck which suddenly contracts, bringing the head up from it's foetal position, thus allowing the pipping tooth to contact the shell wall. This is triggered when the oxygen within the shell runs out.

All fascinating and miraculous stuff going on inside the shell whilst we were all watching for the first sign of a crack appearing on that first laid egg !!

I was up early this morning and when I tuned into the cam I was delighted to see the adult female in the scrape at 5.30am She was attempting to make a hollow in the gravel, as if she was contemplating another nest ! She didn't stay long and did some head bobbing before flying off to investigate whatever it was she had sighted. None of the chicks were present through the previous night.

I also hope we get to see a copy of the East Midlands Urban Jungle coverage on the website.


Phoebe said...

2 During this thunderstorm we are having it looks like a juvie in the scrape feeding!

Phoebe said...

the '2' was me trying not to be a robot!!

Lorraine said...


With darted wings she dropped to earth
And found herself astounded,
By the weightless passage through the air
In which she was surrounded.

Her target getting ever near
To impact in the Sky,
The pigeon never felt the fear
Nor knew the falcons eye.

An independence marked the day
And with initiation done,
The falcon coveted her prey
And shared it's flesh with none.

Phoebe said...

Oh Lorraine yet another brilliant poem. keep them coming!

17:30 A juvie on the stonework at the top whilst another juvie plucks prey in the scrape.

Lorraine said...


Its all kicking off in the scrape. Think Mum is present on one side and a noisy Juvie on the other with a fresh catch ( poss brought by the parent ) with another on the tower !! So nice to see them all.