Over the past 48 hours there has been a huge swell of interest in the plight of our peregrine family and we have responded to a series of queries from interested wildlife watchers. Two of the topics which keep coming up are: why doesn’t someone intervene and perhaps hand rear the chicks; the other relates to whether or not the birds need some form of additional shelter in the future.
In respect of the first question, whilst the sad decline of a number of the chicks due to the terrible weather over the weekend has made difficult viewing, the option of intervening hasn’t really been seriously considered by our conservation team for a number of reasons. Firstly, these are wild birds, nesting in a location of their own choice, and whilst we do have the privilege of watching the family’s progress or possible decline, we don’t feel it would be right to directly interfere with the brood. If we had tried to remove some of the chicks there would also have been the possibility that the adults may have abandoned the nest and any remaining healthy chicks.
Another key reason we haven’t intervened directly is that laws designed to prevent birds being targeted by egg collectors, thieves and people wanting to otherwise harm them mean that if we were to access the nest to remove the chicks we would almost certainly be committing a criminal offence under the terms of the Wildlife & Countryside Act.
With regard to the need for additional shelter in the future – whilst we will certainly consider all the options as part of the review we carry out each nesting season with Nottingham Trent University – the fact remains that the pair have reared a very large number of chicks in this exact location and have very rarely lost one, let alone more chicks in a season.
Another factor in the sad turn of events this year is the combination of a warm spell early in the year prompting the adults to lay their eggs early followed by the wettest April on record. Some of the chicks sadly seemed a little too young and fragile to cope.
Hopefully, in future years, with more seasonable weather, our family will continue to thrive.
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust