As I stood watching our remaining chick ‘Storm’ feeding alongside his parents high on the Newton building yesterday, I reflected on what a uniquely exhilarating and testing time everyone involved in this year’s project has had over the last four months.
When I say ‘everyone involved’, I mean the whole team at Nottingham Trent University who have done an amazing job trying to keep the family in view on the wonderful cameras, as well as those responsible for writing blog entries and responding to more than 2,000 blog comments.
I also mean my colleagues at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, who have helped to answer some of the more difficult questions posed by our army of interested watchers. In addition to the teams at both NTU and my NWT colleagues, I mean the countless thousands of people who have been gripped by the story of Storm, his parents, and the siblings that sadly didn’t survive.
When we re-launched the web cam just 16 weeks ago we were hopeful that improvements to the camera set up – giving us arguably the best wildlife web cam in the UK, with its amazing city centre views and pin sharp images of wild peregrines – would lead to an increase in web traffic. We had no idea just how popular the camera would be this year or just what a story would unfold before our eyes.
As soon as it was launched it was extremely popular – the warm spring meant that the adults were visible straight away and the HD quality and roving zoom meant great pictures from day one.
However, as the weeks passed and the weather turned, the level of interest reached unexpected highs. Before the chicks had even hatched we were approaching the quarter of a million views we achieved last year. To date, the sad story of the three chicks that died, followed by the uplifting efforts of the adult birds in trying to ensure their remaining chick survived, has generated almost 700,000 views.
This accompanying blog – launched to give us the ability to provide a more detailed commentary on the birds’ behaviour and to generate dialogue between the team and our watchers – has so far received more than 200,000 views. This is a spectacular level of interest which none of us could have foreseen.
As Storm has spent less and less time in view of the camera, questions have turned to messages of support, and on behalf of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and our colleagues at Nottingham Trent University, I’d like to thank everyone for their extremely kind words.
There have been some testing times over the last few months and it has been an enlightening experience for everyone involved. The support we have received from viewers in 99 different countries makes it all worthwhile.
The naming competition proved extremely popular and we are delighted to announce that the winner, Jill Cox from Berkshire, has been sent her peregrine falcon toy.
With Storm spending less and less time in view of the cameras, preferring instead to practice flying between the ledges and the top of the building, it is likely that the camera will be turned off at the end of next week – but watch this space for news of other web cams coming up on the Ecoweb site - including a camera on a blue tit nest to be launched this month. For anyone that’s interested we have a live feed from a camera on a reed warbler nest at our Attenborough Nature Reserve.
If Storm is still around, there will also be a final ‘live’ Wildlife in the City Raptor Watch event next Tuesday. Click here to register your interest in attending.
So, as the falcon project draws to a close for another year, I would just like to reassure everyone that we are already planning for next year and to thank you once again for your interest and encouragement – it means a lot.
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust