Our falcon chick grows in stature – and we welcome new spring arrivals to Brackenhurst

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Two little owl chicks are ringed at Brackenhurst

We have recently observed the peregrine chick becoming increasingly mobile and growing in confidence, spending more time out of the nest tray and on the building ledge. Being out of view of the camera clearly causes some concerns for viewers when they don’t spot it shuffle out of sight – and we feared the worst ourselves on Tuesday evening, after logging into the webcam on our return to the office to see an empty nest box.

The chick is also growing in stature, through the development of leg muscles and ligaments, allowing it to start walking on its feet instead of its haunches. Growth of pin feathers on the wing edges and body are sure signs of a developing healthy raptor, which is becoming more inquisitive with its surroundings each day. In the coming weeks we will witness wing stretching, flapping and small hops of flight to further develop the body muscles and bone structure required to assist with the rigours of raptor flight.

Obviously this is occurring up and down the country as broods begin to fledge, leave the nest and start their challenging lives within our cities and countryside. A recent blog has mentioned how important bird ringing is to allow us to study the life cycles and distribution of many avian species.

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The adult kestrel, found at the Brackenhurst campus

At NTU’s Brackenhurst campus, staff and students, along with the South Notts Ringing Group (SNRG) ring birds on the estate through the winter months and chicks during the nesting season. The SNRG encourages students to become involved in bird ringing through taster sessions during the winter, while providing vital information and results to the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) which will often be used in student studies.

Last week the SNRG was on site checking owl boxes once again, only to find one now being occupied by a female kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) and five chicks. It was found in the same box previously used by the tawny owl mentioned in an earlier blog. We also came across a little owl (Athene noctua) nest with two chicks in a tree.

The SNRG’s records show the kestrel to be two years old, having been previously ringed about half a mile away, on the estate, in February last year. Without ringing, this information would have been unknown.

Brackenhurst, home to the university’s School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Studies, provides an ideal setting for the study of wildlife, environmental conservation, agriculture and horticulture-based courses. For more information visit www.ntu.ac.uk/ares

Simon Taylor & Gemma Clark
Field & Environment Technicians
NTU’s Brackenhurst campus

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108 Responses to Our falcon chick grows in stature – and we welcome new spring arrivals to Brackenhurst

  1. Sarah S. says:

    Interesting about the kestrel in the owl box. In a dutch barn on our farm (Somerset) we have a Barn Owl in a box at one end and at the other end an owl box has likewise been taken over by a kestrel.
    I am stunned at the development of the plumage on the Peregrine chick, having not checked since Friday night.
    Fantastic! 🙂

    Like

  2. justme says:

    Parent literally landed on the ledge the “little un” darted out snatched the food from its parents mouth and ran back into the nest and sat on it! No please or thank you, bad table manners…..how grown up is he now?

    Like

  3. storm says:

    He is a handsome looking chick, if not a little …. scruffy. good luck to him and hopefully he will have a look and safe life. i have enjoyed watching survive the weather and to see him develop and grow has been very interesting. thank you to the team also for amazing camera work.
    now he’s trying to eat his parents foot….

    Like

  4. s dickins says:

    I am so sad that, having followed this story from egg-laying through the storm up to the naughty little chap we see chewing the cables, I am going to go on holiday on Thursday and am going to miss the finale! I am getting emails regarding new posts so PLEASE keep telling me the story!

    Like

  5. Sally says:

    I think the chick must be hungry. It was sat on the ledge pecking at the parent’s foot! Mum or Dad (not sure which one) disappeared instantly hopefully to find some food rather that in disgust!

    Like

  6. storm says:

    hes so funny with his running and flapping, bit scary tho

    Like

  7. Ann says:

    Team-you have excelled to day with some of the most fabulous footage I have ever seen. Thank you so much

    Like

  8. Sally says:

    He’s still looking a little wobbly on the ledge!

    Like

  9. justme says:

    He needs to take a step back away from the edge!!! He might not be concerned but i definitely am!!

    Like

  10. julie907 says:

    Very inquisitive.little dude isnt he

    Like

  11. PamUK says:

    Difficult to drag myself away from the computer and get out and about. The viewing has been amazing today and chick seems to be up to something new every few minutes, never a dull moment. This is the first time I have seen him on the ledge. It’s a good place for him to practise his flight skills, just like a miniature runway but I hope he does not take off yet awhile 🙂 He has been pecking furiously to get rid of those white fluffy feathers and they will soon all be gone.
    Thanks once more for your dedicated coverage NTU and NWT.

    Like

    • Pam Birley. says:

      I have tried many times to make a comment today and failed. Puzzling !
      Added a couple of pics to my Flickr peregrine coverage today including the wood pigeon giving him a staring match.

      Like

      • daventu says:

        Hi Pam – I’ve just found your comments in the spam box. Not sure why they have ended up in there, will post now

        Like

  12. s dickins says:

    16.58 poor little thing is too tired to stand up on the parapet any longer. He has had to sit down

    Like

  13. Pat says:

    He’s still sitting down at 17.30!

    Like

  14. Rob Wonder says:

    Screeching for dinner !!

    Like

  15. Ian Fretwell says:

    Eating dinner and screaming at the same time…,,,,, doesnt give mom enough time to get the food before hes / she snatching it out of her mouth…

    Like

  16. Sally says:

    What a noisy eater!

    Like

  17. Sally Tate says:

    I cant keep away from the webcam. Such a priviledge to get a glimpse into the lives of these magnificent creatures. Stunning photography. Thank you.

    Like

  18. Di says:

    Fantastic to see this chick developing so fast every day. We awaiting the birth of our 1st Osprey chick in Mid Wales.

    Like

  19. Shirley Stirland says:

    wow…doing a superb job with those feathers,,,watched him for a little while on ledge preening and looking good….not long now ..thankyou NTU for the peeps,my kids are hooked.(mum..have you seen where the chick is)…um..yes Jasss,he,s on the le
    dge \\\\\\\\\lmas

    Like

  20. Lynn says:

    He’s so tired he appears to be sleeping flat on his back!!

    Like

  21. Mo Cole says:

    Thank you to all for letting us see such a wonderful show for free….. he is such an entertaining little fellow going to really miss him when he takes flight…… x

    Like

  22. Mary T says:

    He’s worn out, bless him! Amazing camera work – thank you so much. Got a real soft spot for this little chap……….

    Like

  23. SueAtt says:

    Thankyou for the update from Brackenhurst and the great news that various chicks are doing fine. (would love to see the little owls) Good to hear that the nest box is being well used! Our chick has had a very busy day spending most of it on the ledge by himself. I just wish he had chosen to go back to the nest box and not to stay on the ledge for the night – don’t think I’ll get a wink of sleep myself worrying about him!

    Like

  24. betty_boo says:

    Parent came at 10.20 and told chick to get back in nest, so he went very reluctantly, but not for lone a few mins later he was back on the ledge sleeping .. woops hes gone , where is he the little so and so.. lol

    Like

  25. betty_boo says:

    Parent is close by keeping a watchful eye on the little one, i can sleep well now i know all is ok at the uni. What a day we have had.

    Like

  26. Ann says:

    I can see mum – but not chick-i know he’s there just can’t see him

    Like

  27. Pam says:

    I think he’d hungry – Parents aren’t feeding him like they used too. Just dropping the food now, and he’s not eating yet : /

    Also think he’s lonely

    Like

  28. Shirley Stirland says:

    5.38am parent just supplied a feed,chick scuttled off with it,definately not sharing!

    Like

  29. Steve says:

    Mum’s in the nest box looking forlorn. Where is the chick ?????????

    Like

  30. tommy says:

    Where is he??? was asleep 15mins ago in the nest came back and mums there but no chick!!

    Like

  31. tommy says:

    Phew! thanx Mr Camera Man i can go to work now i know hes safe 🙂 this is all getting to much never watched them before but im hooked also been watching the barn owls at the lost gardens of heligan 5 chicks there and the mothers done a runner! gripping stuff all round.

    Like

    • Sarah S. says:

      Oh good grief, how can I possibly work with all this drama on the screen? (Heligan webcam, thanks for that 🙂 )

      Like

  32. Lynn says:

    Thanks for telling us about the Heligan webcam Tommy- I shall never get anything else done now!

    Like

  33. Julie Mott says:

    Wonderful to watch the chick feeding himself now ……. he is growing up so quickly. Beautiful birds. Been a privilege watching them – thank you to everyone for letting us be part of this.

    Like

  34. juli says:

    What a difference a week makes, I have been on holiday and when I went away he was still a fluffy chick, albeit with a few adult feathers poking their way through. Today when I logged on I thought initially I was looking at Mum or Dad, until I saw his fluffy legs!

    Like

    • Sarah S. says:

      My partner did the same Juli!

      He doesn’t watch all the time (as I do!) and this morning he was fretting about parent but no chick. I said; “That IS the chick!”

      Like

  35. Jan says:

    Our chick sure can flap!! Won’t be long 🙂

    Like

  36. Steve says:

    The little guy is on the ledge, spark out…..

    When I see him like this I reminded of a famous sketch………

    “This falcon is dead, bereft of life, he rests in peace, he’s shuffled off this mortal coil, it’s a stiff….”

    “He’s not dead, he’s just resting….” etc, etc.

    Like

  37. Jane Overton says:

    He looks exhausted – not sure whereabouts on the ledge he is but it’s a little concerning. Please let him be ok.

    Like

  38. Fiona says:

    I’m worried about him 😦

    Like

  39. The ups and downs of the falcons have had me enthralled ive laughed and cried i feel very privelaged to have been able to witness it all.Brilliant work by all concerned .

    Like

  40. Julie Mott says:

    He seems to have spent an awful lot of time lying down today …… hope he’s okay !

    Like

  41. Mo says:

    So am I. It would be nice to have some input from the Uni people or the wildlife people, to keep us updated. Is his behaviour normal, or not? Some of those people should know, going on all the experience of the past ten years. To me he looks as if he is fading. Is he being fed? Are his parents still looking after him? Is ANYONE looking after him?

    Like

    • Anne says:

      I’ve seen him fed twice Mo. The 1st time parent brought a small bird that the chick snatched off him/her, took it into the nest box & practiced feeding himself. A little later an adult brought a much larger meal & fed him till he could eat no more. He’s been sleeping it off since then!

      Like

  42. Belinda says:

    16:44 UK time I think he’s fine. He was lying like this around lunchtime and I was worried too but just as I was about to put something on the blog he stood up and was very lively pecking at a little bettle. I think he’s just resting.

    Like

  43. Diane says:

    He doesn’t look great, lying in a heap like that, but he looked rough earlier and then got up for a stretch, looking normal. Would be great if someone who knows about falcons could tell us whether it’s usual for them to lie down for so long and for the parents to be away for so long.

    Like

  44. Belinda says:

    I think we all need to calm down – myself included! I’m sure this is all normal. According to a post earlier today he was fed and he was quite lively earlier this afternoon. I think he will fledge in the next few days. I will be in in Nottm city tomorrow mid/late afternoon and might take my binoculars just in case! Although we might get a better view if we just glue ourselves to our computers! Unfortunately I have to work for the next 3 days! Just again and he’s stood up! 17:00

    Like

  45. Andy says:

    Rest assure, he/she is just fine……..peregrines along with a lot of other birds of prey are rather lazy when not hunting and eating, remember as well it is still a warm day, and to a degree its just like your pet puppy or kitten, it has its mad half hour, eat’s its dinner and then crashes out for an hour……but he/she is just fine.

    Like

  46. s dickins says:

    18.05 …been for a walk along the ledge and now feeding himself on dads takeaway delivery. Happy boy!

    Like

  47. Mo says:

    I have just had a thought … perhaps the observers at the Uni are REALLY watching human anxiety behaviour and this Peregrine family is only a decoy!

    Seriously, I’m really glad to see the little guy is lively again, though.

    Like

  48. Grabbing at whatever he’s eating! I think he gets a bit inert because of the heat and he just siestas a lot of the time (I don’t blame him)> Looks pretty strong and healthy to me, I’m convinced he’s going to be OK.

    Like

  49. Christine says:

    If you look at the Chichester CathedralPerigrine webcam, there are four chicks slightly older than our Nottingham ‘terror’, you will see that they are all ‘flumped out’ too – it will be the heat, I’ve just worked the last 5 days getting in and out of my car and I am definitely ‘flumped’ so know how they feel !!

    Like

  50. shezzy says:

    I cant see any birds!!!Camera is pointing at an empty space on the floor. Have I missed the little one taking their first flight?

    Like

    • shezzy says:

      Oh there he/she is. Not sure they like the ring on his ankle. Having a pick at it. What a difference a day makes. Cant believe how big and grown up he/she looks today.

      Like

  51. s dickins says:

    anyone who is of an age might like this. He is up on the ledge, asleep, at 20.16. It just made me laugh, thinking of him blown off this mountain with the wind

    Meet On The Ledge
    (Richard Thompson)

    We used to say that come the day
    We’d all be making songs
    Or finding better words
    These ideas never lasted long
    The way is up along the road
    The air is growing thin
    Too many friends who tried
    Blown off this mountain with the wind

    Meet on the ledge, we’re gonna meet on the ledge
    When my time is up I’m gonna see all my friends
    Meet on the ledge, we’re gonna meet on the ledge
    If you really mean it, it all comes round again

    And now I see I’m all alone
    But that’s the only way to be
    You’ll have your chance again
    Then you can do the work for me.

    Meet on the ledge, we’re gonna meet on the ledge
    When my time is up I’m gonna see all my friends
    Meet on the ledge, we’re gonna meet on the ledge
    If you really mean it, it all comes round again.

    Meet on the ledge, we’re gonna meet on the ledge
    When my time is up I’m gonna see all my friends
    Meet on the ledge, we’re gonna meet on the ledge
    If you really mean it, it all comes round again…

    Like

  52. When he/she lies flat on the ledge during the day and pushes his/her feet out, it is to dissipate the heat. It is obviously getting very warm up there.

    Like

  53. Its about midnight and here I am peering into my PC falcon watching! I think he is in the nest and there’s an adult perched on the edge of the ledge keeping him safe!

    Like

  54. tommy says:

    The suicidal pigeon keeps making an apperance he really is on borrowed time!!

    Like

  55. Sarah S. says:

    Is “fledge” short for “fall off the ledge”?

    😀

    Like

  56. malc says:

    hi tommy i am sure that pigeons time was up at about 7.45 this morning the pigeon came back on the ledge right at the far end went round the corner and at that moment one of the parent falcons swooped in, 5 mins later the falcon came in with a pigeon what a fantastic moment dident actualy see the kill but quiet sure it was the pigeon on borrowed time
    malc

    Like

  57. storm says:

    now this could be interesting………..

    Like

  58. Mo Cole says:

    Don’t believe what I have just seen….. Travis has just turned round and gone to sleep and the pigion is still taking in the the views…. lol

    Like

  59. Steve says:

    Well, would you look at this…. Mum, Jr and ……….

    10 mins later and the silly bird is still there!!!

    Like

    • Sarah S. says:

      That’s incredible. Thanks for that Steve, I keep hearing about this pigeon but I’ve not seen it yet.

      Like

    • Anne says:

      great pic Steve, thank you

      Like

    • Ann says:

      Steve-what an amazing screen shot-if there was a prize for best shot you would get it.

      Like

      • Steve says:

        I was quite lucky to catch it as all three birds were in shot together for only a few seconds. What amazed me, apart from the wisdom of that pigeon, was the relative sizes of the birds. The pigeon is further away form the camera than the falcons and yet it looks larger. I imagine that a fully grown pigeon must be quite a challenge.

        Like

  60. Betty Bedgegood says:

    Pigeon is back, and watching him closely

    Like

  61. storm says:

    he is standing quiet proud this morning

    Like

  62. storm says:

    not so cute when he starts on his parents feet…..
    how can pictures be taken from this footage? i tried the print screen button but nothing happens, what am i missing?

    Like

    • Anne says:

      press control & print screen together, then Word, then rt click, paste, & you should have your pic

      Like

    • Anne says:

      That is so annoying. Sometimes I have to repeat it a couple of times before I get a picture (& then I miss the shot I really wanted!) but I expect you have tried that. Wish I knew more about technology but I’m clueless. These instructions were posted by someone a couple of weeks ago & I’m lucky that they worked for me.

      Like

      • SW says:

        I haven’t been able to make the control/print screen etc. work either, but luckily on this Acer laptop there’s a ‘Snipping Tool’ which is v effective.

        Like

  63. SueAtt says:

    Well I never – Mum was standing on the ledge and then decided to join chick in the nest box, but little’un didn’t like the intrusion at all and saw her off in no uncertain terms! Mum is now back on the ledge! Maybe he decided that she should only be allowed in if she had brought food – which she hadn’t! 😦

    Like

  64. storm says:

    was parent seeing off an intruder then?

    Like

  65. SueAtt says:

    He’s allowed Mum into the nest box now – bless her, she’s hot and wanting to cool down.

    Like

  66. Lots of lovely comments – much amusement after that awful weekend!. I think he’s feeling the heat just now though!

    Like

  67. MrsJ28 says:

    Ahhh he’s nearly grown into his feet now. Won’t be long until he’s off. 😦

    Like

  68. lorraine says:

    i cant believe the pigeon shot! maybe he has struck up some sort of a deal along the lines of ” you stand there an lure in more pigeons and we will spare you?”

    Like

    • Sally Tate says:

      That was so funny! Pidgeon comes round the corner, sees two peregrines and thinks .. OMG Im in trouble now!

      Like

  69. Christine says:

    Oh blimey !! It’s being very comical along the ledge but I’m sure it is thinking seriously about making the leap into the unknown – what are we all going to do ?

    Like

  70. simon says:

    Our pleasure! Always happy to keep you all informed about Brackenhurst!

    Like

  71. Ann says:

    I can see the team searching for the chick-its gone around the corner at the far end of the ledge

    Like

  72. SW says:

    Did ‘Perry’ go round the corner at the far end?

    Like

  73. Dalton says:

    Young’un took a walk about around the corner of the building @ 15:11, so was out of sight for a few minutes, poor camera man couldn’t find him anywhere! Back now and flopped down for another rest!

    Like

  74. sueperegrino says:

    Events happening faster than I can get logged in – phew, thought monster had gone, think you did too, camara operator!

    Like

  75. Ann says:

    He’s gone back round the ledge again

    Like

  76. SueAtt says:

    Looks like he’s decided to settle down for a nights sleep at the far end of the ledge – maybe the pigeon’s just around the corner to keep him company! lol.

    Like

  77. Ann says:

    He does look like a solitary figure at the end of the ledge-I think mum has come over to keep a distant eye on him

    Like

  78. Can’t see any Falcons this am ?

    Like

  79. Can ignore this just seen all three !!

    Like

  80. Pam Birley says:

    Small feed just delivered. Junior snatched and plucked and took it to his box.

    Like

  81. Pam Birley says:

    I was unable to message yesterday, tried several times but message would not be accepted. I added pigeon pics. This morning chick poddled right down the other end of the ledge. He certainly has a long runway on the building. I think he will go quite soon now, so not a lot will get done today. Wildlife webcams can take over your life it seems.

    Aawww !!!

    Like

  82. derek denovellis says:

    i am watching the falcons today at 1009am and there are 3 falcons 1 on the nest and 2 on the ledge,could the third one be storm

    Like

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