‘Hearts in mouths’ time for our peregrine followers

dfs

Any moment now: our chick is almost ready for his first aerial foray

Visitors to our falcon cam and blog have certainly been through the mill in recent weeks. Following the heart rending events of April which saw three of our chicks perish, those that have watched our remaining chick flourish so far are now waiting anxiously for the moment he finally leaves the ledge for his maiden flight.

If we assume that our sole survivor was amongst the first to have hatched this year, he would now be old enough to be thinking about his first aerial foray. Over the past week or so he has been spending more and more time away from the nest tray, walking along the ledge and flapping his wings – strengthening and testing them out.

As a result we have received many calls and emails in the past few days from worried viewers who thought he’d gone over the edge – but so far, he has usually turned up somewhere further along the ledge.

At some point he will step, leap, jump or even fall off the ledge, and hopefully he’ll either soar into the skies with a successful flight or at the very least, his wings will be effective enough to break his fall if he doesn’t quite get the hang of flying at his first attempt.

Over the past few years a number of chicks have landed rather unceremoniously on the streets below the nest site – but thankfully they are usually none the worse for wear and one of our conservation team pops out and returns them to the ledge.

Rescuing the chick from the ground and placing it back in the nest is very different to intervening when the chicks were suffering after the storms, because our intention is to return it to give the parents a chance of completing rearing it. Had we removed the chicks after the storms, they would no longer have been wild birds.

It will certainly be a while before our famous chick will be reaching speeds of over 120 miles per hour in the pursuit of prey, but once he takes to the skies and his juvenile feathers make way for the more characteristic peregrine plumage he’ll look more and more like his parents.

Once he’s mastered the art of flying he’ll still be dependent upon his parents for a while, so hopefully we’ll be able to enjoy the exploits of the chick for at least a little longer before he departs for pastures new.

Once he does fledge and breaks away from his parents it is likely that he’ll stay within about 60 miles and hopefully he’ll lead a long and productive life. However, as events have shown us so far this year, success in the natural world can never be taken for granted. In some parts of the UK the success rate of breeding falcons is as low as one chick raised every two years, which serves as a reminder of just how successful our Newton building pair have been to date.

Erin McDaid
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

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79 Responses to ‘Hearts in mouths’ time for our peregrine followers

  1. Lesley says:

    Oh my goodness I could not believe what I was seeing, chick running along the edge looking almost ready to take flight! Exciting or what!!!

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  2. Julie Mott says:

    This has been the most wonderful experience to watch …… joy at their successful hatching, sadness at the loss of three of them, palpitations and near heart failure at his recent exploits and now anticipation and trepidation at his forthcoming fledging. Thank you to everyone for allowing an insight into the lives of these beautiful birds of prey.

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  3. SueAtt says:

    My heart was in my mouth just a few moments ago when our chick ventured off along the ledge in the other direction (thankfully followed by the camera – many thanks for that). He was very close to the edge and looked as if he was about to launch himself – I called out “OMG” – but he changed his mind and went running back in the other direction towards mum or dad, and laid down. I think the thought of it scared him as much as it did me!! 😮

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  4. Thank you Erin for your words of comfort! I do hope he doesn’t crash land too badly and its good to know rescue is at hand if needed.

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  5. PS, Many thanks to daventu as well and all the others involved.

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  6. Lesley says:

    Phew didn’t miss anything exciting. Been doing housework and keep popping back to have a look at computer! I would love to know what is going through the chick’s head at the moment. Very high up and not sure what to do – I feel so nervous but excited at being able to be part of this. A huge thank you to all involved at NTU. Now back to watch chick – housework can wait!

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  7. Ann Amos says:

    Oh this really is scary stuff now…… I hardly dare look but am so fascinated that I keep coming back to make sure he/she is still OK! Again, many thanks to the team for allowing people such as myself to be part of this exciting experience. I’m 66 and have never seen anything like this before and I will never forget it.

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  8. Alan Lodge says:

    I took these photos of the falcon, just starting flight off the ledge, on the Newton Building.

    120525_D300s_013

    …… and I made an animated .gif from these pictures can be seen at http://twitpic.com/9qzoij

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  9. Lynda says:

    I’m probably going to miss the first flight as I won’t be near to a computer again until next Wednesday, so hopefully I will be able to catch up on some pictures that others post here – please???? I would just like to say a really big thank you to everyone concerned with this project – I’ve had so much enjoyment (and worry & tears) over the last few weeks. It has been such an honour to be able to watch the events unfold. Thank you for all your work and for allowing us to share this wonderful site.

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  10. Annie Romanov says:

    Really appreciate your information and up dates. This chick is so precious, the parents have been truly wonderful to see him reach this stage. Definitely ‘Heart in Mouth Time’

    Has he been named yet? I did vote!

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  11. JayJay says:

    The chick looks to me as if it is a male and i was wondering if the team managed to weigh him when they applied the ring. I think normally males are about 500+ grammes and the females 700/800 grammes

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  12. Lesley says:

    What an amazing sight to see chick flapping wings, it seemed very proud of them but not too sure what to do! Well it’s having a rest now so it’s back to housework for a while (still keeping an eye on computer though) – I have so enjoyed watching and being part of this! Looking forward to finding out it’s name, I voted too

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  13. Lynn says:

    This has been so brilliant- what a privilege- thanks to all concerned.

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  14. Lynn says:

    Strewth- s/he is flapping her/his wings really close to the edge- aagh!

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  15. Lesley says:

    Does anyone know why the chick keeps lifting its left leg up and standing on the other one?
    My concern is what happens if it flies off the ledge and has not got the energy to fly back to the nest. It keeps having a little nap after walking along the ridge – it may get tired or lose its way??? It is nerve wracking to say the least!

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    • Chris Golightly says:

      Most birds stand on one leg when they are relaxed and the parents will find him wherever he ends up on his first flight – so not to worry!!

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  16. Helen A-F says:

    Every moment I have spent watching this peregrine family has been a moment to cherish and now is such an exciting time, waiting for the young bird to take his first flight. The quality of pictures has been outstanding throughout and the insight I have had into the life of peregrines and the development and growth of the chick has been truly remarkable. Well done to all involved and thank you for giving us all the opportunity to share in the once secret world of these wonderful birds. It has been an absolute joy!

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  17. storm says:

    should he not be feeding himself by now?

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  18. storm says:

    this little guy makes me laugh, how can you watch him and not have a grin on your face.

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  19. storm says:

    well done camera person – good follow 🙂

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  20. storm says:

    i saw that, more of a flapy fly onto the ledge than a hop

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  21. storm says:

    “i want to be alone”

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  22. Annie says:

    I must admit my heart has been in my mouth this last week, he is such a little monkey. Hiding here there and every where. I am so looking forward to seeing him take his first flight. My husband thinks I am bonkers, I check him out at 6 in the morning.

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  23. Sarah S. says:

    How funny he looks when he crashes out like that. I never would have imagined such oblivion, I would have guessed that they’d perch with one eye open, ever watchful.
    I’ve learnt a lot this last month or so.

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  24. Stuart. Nottingham says:

    Our intrepid hero is certainly getting braver by the day, not only watching the goings on below but also the activity in the sky
    Sadly I am going to miss the next four days as I will will not be in Notts so will have no PC access, hope he is still there when I get back I’d like to watch his first flight

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  25. i’ve really enjoyed all the drama with this family. great watching. don’t forget the other Notts falcons (with chicks)

    http://www.youtube.com/user/allhallowsgedling

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  26. Diane says:

    Been following your birds through everything. Good luck when he finally takes off. The Derby chicks http://www.derby.gov.uk/environment-and-planning/parks-and-open-spaces/wildlife/peregrines/ are still a bit behind and it will be at least another couple of weeks before they leave, if anyone starts to get withdrawal simptoms. Also, as we have three males and one female you can clearly see the diffence in size even at this age. Soon she will be bigger than her dad! Derby have been very lucky so far, with four healthy chicks, as there have been several losses at othe sites. Lincoln have lost the whole clutch.
    One question – the Derby birds, especially the female, can be seen al the year round on the cameras. Do your birds stay aroung the nest site or move on for the winter?

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  27. Patricia Wallis says:

    What is the chick called? I thought it was going to be announced today?

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  28. Mo says:

    Like everyone else I am holding my breath for his first flight. How wonderful it must feel, to leave behind earthbound heaviness and soar, weightless and free, in the three dimensions of the air! I think one of the reasons we are so fascinated by these creatures is that we can’t do that, not without making cumbersome machines to carry us.

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  29. Lynn says:

    Where is s/he?

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  30. Lynn says:

    Phew!

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    • Belinda says:

      Thanks for the info Erin and Dave. Can you tell me what would happen to a chick nesting somewhere away from humans if it landed on the ground when attempting its first flight? Would it be fed on the ground by its parents until it built up more strength in order for it to fly?

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  31. Fiona says:

    Nowhere to be seen at 6.30 – has he fledged today?

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  32. julie907 says:

    Oh he’s at it again, just did that runway thing down the ledge, did get his feet off the ground a little, bet it wont be long now 🙂

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  33. D2 says:

    He wants to jump, he is desperate to jump he just needs to pluck up the courage to do it!!

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  34. Lissie says:

    Has it gone?

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  35. jay says:

    awwwww hope i,ve not missed his maiden take off

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    • Belinda says:

      21:28 “Chick” sleeping happily near far end of ledge. Male turns up with a wing of white feathers for supper. Hands it over and leaves. Chick pecking away.
      Brilliant camera work – thanks again.

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  36. Lynn says:

    He was asleep and just now an adult arrived, woke him him quite rudely to give him a pigeon wing that he’s now scoffing!

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  37. Lesley says:

    Where has our chick gone???

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  38. storm ridley says:

    morning all, do we have a name being revealed today?

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  39. Angie says:

    Morning Dave As ever chicky is on its walkabout..Im hoping today we will see its first attempt to fly..Really enjoying watching ..Well done to all.

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  40. paul friend says:

    at 07.56 was that his maiden flight or is he below the cameras.if it was his first flight bon voyage

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    • Pam Birley says:

      Did you see him fly Paul? Looks like parent just landed and is looking upwards and around.

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      • Pam Birley says:

        Camera just panned right around, chick nowhere to be seen….cam operator is puzzled too and is searching ! He could be around one of the corners but otherwise …maybe he’s flown.

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      • paul friend says:

        hi pam storm was standing on the edge of his box flapped his wings and then disappeared. didnt actually see him fly away due to my very slow internet speed

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  41. kaz says:

    Hiya, Watched him have breakfast this morning now he’s gone. Has he flown & i have missed him go. ?

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  42. Lesley says:

    Morning everyone – where has he gone? I do hope I have not missed his first flight! I shall be sitting watching as ever to see what happens – maybe he will return with breakfast??

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  43. Lesley says:

    Superb detective work by the camera operator – please find Storm safe!

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  44. kaz says:

    Phew he’s back again. Well i think its him, Looks very much like like mother but cant be sure its hard to tell they look the same til i see if it has fluffy legs & at the mo you cant see wih the way hes standing.
    Got great views of whats below the building tho Thanx for that. x

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  45. Lesley says:

    Where? I can’t see him, just an anxious parent waiting for his return!

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  46. Lesley says:

    Phew – he is back with his huge breakfast (I am sure it is him by the way he hops along in such a comical way)

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  47. Sarah says:

    wheres little man?! seen both parents but not our little storm?

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  48. Van says:

    I think the Storm has fledged…no sign of it despite parents bringing food…

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  49. Pip says:

    Awww come on little guy, we can’t lose you after all that’s happened this breeding season 😦

    Like

  50. Pip says:

    He’s back! Oh, what a relief!

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  51. Fiona says:

    HOORAY 🙂

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  52. JayJay says:

    Blimey, my heart was in my mouth cos i couldnt find him. The little blighter is now resting on the ledge and looking around as if to say ‘ What ? Whats all the fuss about’

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  53. Lesley says:

    I was wrong earlier when I thought he was back – it was one of the parents! Storm is back now with his white fluffy feathers still on his head – a well earned rest is now needed – phew!!

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  54. Lesley says:

    Or maybe not, I suppose all that flying has made him hungry! Eat then sleep Storm!

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  55. Stuart. Nottingham says:

    Sadly I have been away for a week so I missed our intrepid hero’s maiden flight, were any video’s made,
    since being back I have seen niether Storm or parent birds, will the nest be cleaned and made ready for next years occupation

    Like

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