A pair of peregrine falcons, a protected species, has been nesting successfully high on Nottingham Trent University’s Newton building for over a decade, raising a number of chicks each year. However, changeable weather including heavy rains, low temperatures and high winds, resulted in the pair losing three of their four chicks last year.
Hundreds of thousands of viewers around the globe logged on to watch the drama unfold as the only remaining chick battled for survival in harsh conditions. But after its mother provided much needed shelter until the weather receded, the chick, later named Storm by webcam viewers, survived and flew the nest.
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, which works with the university to protect the birds, believes that the warm spell of weather earlier in the year turned out to be the birds’ downfall and is hoping that the cold spell of weather well into February and March this year will give the birds a better chance of survival, as long as the weather warms up soon.
Speaking about the arrival of the first egg of 2013, Erin McDaid, of the Wildlife Trust, said: “The fact that the first egg has been laid a little later than last year gives us hope that the weather will improve before the eggs hatch. We are all looking on excitedly to see how many eggs will be laid this year and we are looking forward to working with the team at Nottingham Trent University to keep people up to date with progress using the Falcon Cam blog.”
The progress of what must now be one of the world’s most famous peregrine families will be broadcast live over the internet 24/7 until the chicks leave the nest in the summer. And viewers look set to gain an even greater insight into the lives of these beautiful and fascinating birds thanks to enhanced infrared capability which should give improved picture quality at night.
Mr McDaid continued: “Falcon Cam provides us with a unique educational resource, a platform from which we can inform people about these wonderful birds and the threats posed to them and other birds of prey. The quality of the cameras makes this one of, if not the best, webcam wildlife projects featuring a peregrine nest in the world and we are privileged to have the opportunity to watch wild animals in such clarity right in the heart of Nottingham.”
Grant Anderson, environmental manager at Nottingham Trent University, said: “The university is always keen to improve its services and we hope that the new infrared cameras will enhance the night time viewing of these magnificent birds for people across the world to enjoy.
“The plight of the chicks last year led to emotions running high among the many viewers who logged on to our cameras. We really hope that this year the weather makes for better conditions to rear chicks so that they all survive and go on to fly the nest.”