When I first heard the rain start again last Monday night my heart sank and I couldn’t stop thinking about the falcon family. What a difference a week had made – it has been hard to see the struggle that the family have gone through this year when we had the joy of seeing last year’s four chicks doing so well and fully fledging the nest site.
Having the opportunity to see just what nature throws at our wildlife and the challenges they face has been heart-breaking, yet at the same time it has shown us what survival means to this pair of experienced peregrine falcons. It has prompted a number of people to ask why nothing could be done to help the birds.
Aside from the laws protecting the falcons and the huge distress stepping in could cause them, humans don’t have the right to interfere with nature. It reminds me of when I watch nature documentaries, when there is an injured baby calf or a weak leopard cub struggling to keep up with mum and exposed to predators or the elements. As much as I want the presenters of the programme to run over and sweep the struggling animal to safety, I know in reality we don’t have the right to do so in many cases. Nature is something we need to respect and sometimes that means leaving it to its own devices, whether we like it or not.
It’s been hard to watch the parents get further onslaughts from the elements, although nowhere near as bad as we had last Sunday.
The remaining chick has had a good amount of food and both parents have been taking it in turns to feed and keep it warm, while letting the other seek cover, take a rest, dry out and catch some more food. The determination of keeping this one chick alive seemed even more apparent when it appeared that the parents had a ‘tug of war’ over one catch, with Mr P fighting his corner, winning, and feeding the little chick as much as possible.
The journey with these amazing birds is still just at the beginning; let’s hope that with all their years’ experience as parents we have a happy ending. For now, we have one chick left that is looking stronger by the hour and mum and dad are working hard as a team to make sure that it gets the best possible chance.
NTU Environment Office