As we’ve watched the chicks hatch, and the parent birds devotedly feed and tend to them, we’ve been reminded of the wonderful family bond that quickly establishes between parent and young of many wild species. Whilst some species have a more laissez-faire approach to parenting, for others, such as the beloved peregrines on top of the Newton building, the investment in care and attention has become part of their success.
By investing time and energy in rearing their young these adult peregrines will have the best chance of securing future successes for their line – ensuring that their genes pass on to future generations. Whilst we have long been aware of the devotion of parent birds of many species, the advent of webcams has begun to shed light on another aspect of family dedication that was previously hidden from view.
Some of our webcam viewers may have noticed a third adult bird on the ledge recently (as pictured, on 27 April). As far as we can tell, this is likely to be Storm, last year’s surviving chick, or possibly even a chick from an earlier brood, which has yet to establish a territory of its own and may be hoping to lend his parents a helping hand with the new brood.
Over the past couple of years, similar scenes have been noted on webcams across the country and it would seem that, as well as peregrines, this behavior has now been observed amongst water birds such as moorhens. Whilst more research is needed into the precise reasoning for this, it would appear that the young chick is simply helping to ensure the future of its family line. I suppose it will also benefit from the experience – giving it a better chance of success when rearing chicks of its own in the future.
This is just another example of the scientific benefit of webcams. Not only do they allow us to enjoy watching birds in the wild, they can actually help us learn about them too.
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust