The importance of being Ernest

Plump chicks following another good feed

Plump chicks following another good feed

Following a hugely successful naming competition last year which saw thousands of Falconcam viewers cast votes to name our chick Storm, we’re pleased to announce that this year we will again hold a poll to enable you the viewers to name the peregrine falcon chicks.

As many of you will remember, as a fitting tribute last summer we reserved the name Ernest for one of this year’s chicks as a tribute to a follower whose grandfather of that name –  an avid viewer of our falcon family – sadly passed away. Coincidentally, we’re also now informed that the eggs hatched this year on the eve of the gentleman’s birthday anniversary. As you will also recall the name Ernest came a very close second to Storm in our poll, so we’re very pleased to confirm that one of this year’s chicks will take the name which proved so very popular.

So, today we start the search for two new names. During the next seven days we would like you to email us with  your suggestions and we’ll compile a shortlist suitable for an online poll. The deadline for submissions is 5pm on Tuesday 21 May and the poll will appear with a fresh blog at some point during the days that follow.

As some of you will remember in 2011 two chicks were named Kate and Will, following the royal wedding which was a tremendous national occasion that year. And last year the name Storm was chosen to reflect the chick’s battle for survival during the turbulent weather.

So inspiration this year may come from the fact that the weather has been diverse since the eggs were laid in late March. Mr and Mrs P had to endure heavy, prolonged snow when they started to lay their eggs, which was a cause of concern among many doting Falconcam viewers. So arguably you may think that names such as Snowy or Frosty could suit.

But following the prolonged cold weather we reportedly enjoyed the warmest bank holiday in years, so equally you may think that names such as Sunny or Spring would be appropriate.

Although one of the three chicks has been named Ernest, there’s nothing to stop you naming the remaining two after a famous trio, such as the Lucky, Dusty or Ned from the Three Amigos. You may even choose the Three Stooges as your inspiration and suggest names such as Moe, Larry or Curly.

Whatever your thoughts are, we’d love to hear them, so please send your suggestions to us as soon as possible.

Chris Birkle
Nottingham Trent University

 

 

 

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133 Responses to The importance of being Ernest

  1. Fiona says:

    Ernest, a great name, Must have an Eric in there too, then maybe Blizzard?

    Like

  2. How’s about …Eeny,Meanie,Miney…….Oh dear ! …there’s no Mo.:-)

    Like

  3. Kyle T says:

    Sir Alex (I’m not a Man Utd supporter, but it seems fitting and I think a peregrine would make a good sir!)

    Like

    • SW says:

      Don’t think Derby fans would be too impressed…

      Like

      • SW says:

        So sorry Nottingham, had just been looking at the Derby site – guess my remark might upset Nottingham even more than a chick called Sir Alex! Grovel! How about a chick called Brian?

        Like

  4. PammyD says:

    I’d love to know at what stage they will be ringed, must be getting close?

    Thank you.

    Like

  5. angie says:

    do we know the sex of the young yet or is it too early to tell?
    How about flotsam and jetsam for the other 2

    Like

    • chrisntu says:

      Hi Angie,

      It’s only possible to tell when the birds are ringed, which will be during the coming weeks.

      Thanks

      Like

  6. Ianathome says:

    Crikey, how they are growing! Remember when there was a worry that the littlest one wasn’t getting enough food? They are more likely to be the subject of an NHS anti- obesity campaign now…

    Like

  7. freda says:

    Trent ; Ernest; and Grant?

    Like

  8. San says:

    I think the little one that seemed to get pushed to the back in the early stages would suit the name Pipsqueak….Pip for short.
    I do rather like the Eric, Ernie and Blizzard suggestion though 🙂

    Like

  9. Charlie says:

    Newton and Trent 🙂

    Like

  10. Debs says:

    In honour of the chick being named Ernest – Could I suggest the others are named after characters from ‘The importance of being Earnest’? Ernest was obviously very important to his family and friends and having a chick being named after him is also important to the team at NTU so it would seem very fitting for the others to also have names from this play. How about, Ernest, Algernon & Cecily or Ernest, Gwendolen & Lady Bracknell or Jack depending of course on the sex of the chicks!

    Like

  11. barbara deane says:

    Everythng really depends on sex!

    Ernest, Eric/a, Sky/e (which could be used for male or female)

    Like

  12. barbara deane says:

    how many times in moderation before one is trusted?

    Like

    • chrisntu says:

      Hi Barbara,

      Thanks for the question. We moderate all comments before they are posted on the blog.

      Like

      • barbara deane says:

        thanks Chris!

        thought that one might become trusted after a while!

        Like

      • Nick says:

        Moderating the comments does seem to be taking a lot longer this year.

        Like

      • grantntu says:

        Please be patient Nick. Most of us in the Falcon Team do this project on top of the day job as we want to share the experience with the public.
        Thanks

        Like

  13. John Jones says:

    You could name them after explorers as in Ernie (Shackleton) Chris (Colombus) and Francis (Drake)
    But one of them will be female so maybe Amelia (Lockhart). Just a suggestion as they nest at the University and thats a source of history and knowledge etc !

    Like

  14. John Jones says:

    Going back to the sexes issue, you must remember that the females are a third larger than males, hence they have bigger feet too and as i mentioned the other day 2 of them have massive feet that make them look like clowns when they move around on the haunches. Also any males amongst them will grow quicker and fledge quicker with their feathers appearing earlier than females.

    Like

  15. K says:

    Blizzard, Flurry and snowflake 🙂

    Like

  16. Nick says:

    I still think of them as the Three Musketeers ……so Athos, Porthos, and Aramis,

    Tom, Dick and Harry
    Lock, Stock and Barrel
    etc, etc, etc

    Like

  17. Kathy Williams says:

    If one is to be Earnest I immediately thought of Earnest Shackleton so how about Scott and Quest.

    Like

  18. Margaret says:

    Blizzard and Miracle

    Like

  19. Leah says:

    I think Louie and duey from Donald Duck

    Like

  20. Claus says:

    Amelia (Earhart), famous lost aviator, would be nice for a girl.

    Like

  21. jancueter@aol.com says:

    Can you Blog if you have an approximate banding date for the chicks? Thank you

    Like

  22. Lynn says:

    Seeing as it is 70 years anniversary for the Dam Busters raid how about the other 2 being called Barnes and Guy after Barnes Wallace and Wing Commander Guy Gibson

    Like

  23. Janet says:

    cannot bring up the live coverage this morning. is there a problem with it at your end. janet gurnhill.

    Like

  24. Gill Web says:

    Is there a problem with the cameras this morning? Can’t get on – very worrying – please tell us all is well with the Family…?

    Like

    • grantntu says:

      Unfortunately we had a campus wide server issue this morning, hence losing the live stream temporarily. It’s back on now though 🙂

      Like

      • Gill Web says:

        Phew! Good to see all is still well. Tks

        Like

      • grantntu says:

        Please note that the webcams will be down again this evening from about 6pm. This is a result of server work taking place at NTU following a power cut this morning. Apologies for any inconvenience.

        Like

  25. SueAtt says:

    Glad to see that all’s well with the chicks now that the cameras are back on. Was a bit worried there for a while after the torrential rain last night, but Mrs P obviously managed to keep them dry and warm. Thanks to all of you at NTU for your hard work – much appreciated! 🙂

    Like

  26. Lorraine says:

    So pleased to see all chicks looking well this morning after the bad night. All asleep now but were looking very alert a short while ago:)

    Like

  27. Bri Bowles says:

    if one of the chicks is going to be called ernest, how about oscar & dorian for the other two; keep it oscar wilde related? =o)

    Like

  28. Sarah says:

    Has anyone thanked you uni-bods lately for the fantastic coverage?
    Such a privilege to watch these wild creatures, your efforts are much appreciated.

    Like

    • chrisntu says:

      Yes Sarah, we’ve been given lots of thanks by Falconcam followers and we’ve appreciated every single one 🙂

      Like

  29. Sue Hall says:

    Snowy and Miracle because of mum being covered in snow

    Like

  30. Genevieve says:

    If one is going to be Ernest, how about linking it to DH Lawrence, whose elder brother was Ernest, and calling the other two Bert (after Lawrence himself) and Lettice Ada (Known as Ada), Lawrence’s sister. Lawrence’s other sister was Emily.

    Like

  31. stacey says:

    How about Chione or Khione which I believe is the Greek goddess of Snow (I may be wrong)

    Like

  32. Jim Shaw says:

    how about the Nottinghamshire Ripper

    Like

  33. Tricky says:

    Ernest

    Et

    Al

    Obviously because they eat all that is given to them.

    Like

  34. Christine says:

    Oh dear that chick just ate a whole pigeon leg complete with plastic ring !!

    Like

  35. Janet says:

    My suggestion would be Percy (short for perseverance despite the horrible weather) for a male. or Constance for a female. Janet Gurnhill

    Like

  36. Cyril O Sullivan says:

    They are killing numerous valuable racing pigeons.

    Like

      • Hetty says:

        Well said Julie. There’ll always be predators and prey in nature.

        Like

      • DMMURRAY says:

        Nature doesn’t create artificial nests, thats human interference. Natural habitat is coastal cliffs, man creating nesting sites in cities etc are creating new unnatural habitat for the peregrine. Nature is great but please leave it as nature without human interference.

        Like

    • Aubrey says:

      The damage the pigeons are doing to my racing worms is dreadful, so much so that not a single one has managed to make it home so far. My racing snails are also severely suffering so good luck to the peregrines!

      Like

  37. Eric, Ernie and Edie ( thats if its a 2-1 combo of course)

    Like

    • Pam Birley says:

      That was my suggestion to NTU via email Julie. I think those names are good. Ernest, (Ernie) for the NTU webcam faithful Ernest, Eric of course and Eddie for Eddie Braben, the Morecambe and Wise scriptwriter. Eddie can also be a girl’s name (Edwina or Edith). The Three E’s sounds good too.

      I just watched the male bring in what looked like a blackbird or starling. He was pulling off the head and plucking the feathers in the nest while Mrs. looked on. The chicks were not at all interested in feeding so he just flew off with it.

      Like

  38. b wheatley says:

    pigeon fanciers kill more of their own pigeons that don’t fly fast enough than peregrine’s ever will

    Like

    • Eddie says:

      Dont think so if the estimated 2000 breeding pairs kill one pigeon per day 365 days a year (a very conservative estimate) that equates to 724,000 pigeons as there are only about 20,000 pigeon fanciers that would mean they would have to kill about 37 each as most only keep about that number then they would have to kill them all each year get real please

      Like

  39. SW says:

    I think don’t think Ernest should be shortened to Ernie – as the name’s in honour of the late Ernest who enjoyed watching last year.

    Any guesses as to the gender mix, and do we know when they’ll be ringed?

    Like

    • chrisntu says:

      Hi,

      Thanks for your questions. It’s impossible to tell the gender of the birds at this stage, and still very difficult at the ringing. But we will update everyone if we have been able to determine the gender of any of the birds. The ringing is set to take place at some point soon and we will update people as and when it does.

      Thanks

      Like

      • Lorraine says:

        Please moderate if necessary to avoid the descent into the annual pigeon v. Peregrine arguments. We’ve heard it all before, boring now.

        Like

      • SW says:

        Thanks Chris.

        Like

      • j.palmer says:

        i hope a big eagle owl visits the falcons nest and cleans them out. what a mess they have made. nature has ways of sorting things out.

        Like

      • Tricky says:

        The P’s are not stupid.
        They know that as soon as they are both away then the window will open and someone will climb out and grab the chicks.
        Also they seem to be able to navigate back even though there is no postcode on the signage.

        Like

  40. Christine says:

    About a year ago I was in Chesterfield town centre and noticed that alot of the pigeons scurrying around the market stalls looking for food where ex racing pigeons – I’m assuming that they had decided not to fly home or had been blown off course maybe – they all had leg rings on but I noticed that alot of them had ‘toes’ missing and in some cases most of their feet and were walking on stumps, some of them also had, what looked like string or cotton wrapped around their legs – in some cases this was actually holding both their legs together although they were still getting around ok. I felt sorry for them and rang the RSPCA – I was told that unless the pigeons were trapped they wouldn’t do anything about it and in fact if they did come to catch the pigeons they would be put to sleep as they are considered to be vermin, the RSPCA also told me that when the pigeons roost together at night that they chew each other’s feet – I’ve no idea if this is true or not but there were ALOT of feral pigeons.
    I don’t like to see any living creature suffer but console myself with the fact that peregrines don’t kill anything for fun or sport, they don’ torture anything before they kill it – it is a very quick death and every morsel is eaten – nothing goes to waste

    Like

    • Hetty says:

      A few years ago a racing pigeon came to our garden. It didn’t appear to be injured but hung about there for several days. We were concerned and rang one of the pigeon fanciers’ associations (I don’t remember what it was called). They said if we could catch the pigeon and check its ring they would be able to trace the owner, but said it wasn’t worth the bother because it was highly unlikely the owner would want it back. (So much for loving, caring owners as depicted here!). We asked what would happen to the pigeon if we just left it alone, and he said that it would join the local feral pigeon colony.

      Like

      • Eddie says:

        Any pigeon fancier who does not claim a lost bird from a member of the public is banned automatically from the sport

        Like

    • martyn says:

      bumble foot, its where pigeons stand in their own faeces, infection gets into cuts and cracks… I believe.

      Like

      • martyn says:

        The deformities on pigeons’ feet are caused by infection with
        Staphylococcus. The common name for the condition is bumble-foot. The
        bacteria, which are present on the skin and in the pigeons’ droppings,
        get into the foot through cracks in the skin and eventually cause
        tendinitis, arthritis and joint abscesses. The condition in feral
        pigeons is incurable.”

        New Scientist: Questions & answers on everyday scientific phenomena
        http://www.newscientist.com/lastword/article.jsp?id=lw128

        Like

    • SW says:

      Pigeon foot deformities can be caused by infection, but also result from entangled thread causing the blood supply to be cut off, though the birds usually seem to manage very well.

      Like

  41. jackie says:

    drift, ice and crystal

    Like

  42. Jodie Mellowship says:

    How about nice spring names like Blossom or Flower for a girl. i love the idea of Drake (as in Francis Drake the explorer etc) for a boy or Rocky as they are little fighters!

    Like

  43. Hetty says:

    Just saw one of the chicks feeding itself from a scrap of food that had been left in the nest. It was tearing the meat from the bone just like an adult. They’re growing up so fast.

    Like

  44. martyn says:

    just witnessed, again, two pigeon legs with rings on, eaten by the birds, ok mum had 1 leg with ring, but a chick had the other.
    surely this be very a problem ???????

    Like

  45. S says:

    I move that we should name one of the chicks “Jim” after our own Jim Shaw.

    Just a suggestion.

    Like

    • S says:

      If the moderators wish to omit my last post, (and this one, too) I would understand.

      I am really just responding to the earlier post by “Jim Shaw” and his sarcastic comment about naming the chick the “Nottinghamshire Ripper”.

      I recognize that once I click the button it is out of my hands.

      But as I mentioned in an earlier post, I really prefer to see only positive posts on this blog and I recognize I am not improving matters by taking the bait and stooping to his level;
      it just perpetuates the antagonism.

      So, my apologies to the moderators.
      Feel free to omit this post, and the one just above, or not;
      I leave it to your judgement.

      Thanks, and keep up the good work.

      Like

    • Jim Shaw says:

      Rather a childish comment S, I have rights as do all other people, your tame peregrines, are removing my rights by continually preying on my pigeons.

      Like

      • S says:

        The peregrines, one again, are not tame. They are wild.

        And I acknowledged, on my own, without being chastised,
        that my retort was inappropriate;

        However you ignore that it was just that…a retort…to your own childish comment about naming the falcon the Nottingham Ripper.

        And you do *not* have the right to insist that nature not prey on your pigeons.

        Once again, I love all animals, all birds,
        and I am genuinely sorry for losses you may have sustained
        amongst your beloved pigeons.

        But even dog-owners must face that sometimes,
        bad things happen to their pets,
        (and dogs are carnivores, they are not even prey animals).

        If you have a pet that is a bird which is naturally a prey animal,
        and it flies free in the outdoors, then this is a risk you must accept.

        Trent U. cannot force the falcons to nest here,
        they can only put out a box and hope for an opportunity to study nature.

        And the falcons have every right, and responsibility,
        to adapt to man’s cities, if that is where the food supply is.

        There are other pigeon-fanciers who understand and accept this.

        Like

  46. Mollie Calladine says:

    Mollie say:
    19 May 2013 at 11.15 pm

    It’s 70 years since the famous Dam Busters Raid what about naming them ‘Guy’ and ‘Gibson’ after the Wing Commander who led the successfull raid all those years ago. He could also fly like a Falcon and most of his ‘bombs’ were on target too. I’m sure he would have been very honoured and proud

    Like

  47. Cas says:

    This is my second year of watching these lovely birds through their trials and tribulations. Last year was a heck of a year to start watching them, but didn’t stop me doing it all again this year. What I find difficult to understand is those people who log onto this site and join the blog purely to incite arguments about the pigeons they catch and eat. I’ve never yet found myself checking out racing pigeon blogs to incite the same arguments. It’s the only thing I find puts a damper on things for me – but it won’t stop me being amazed by the Peregrines and watching them every year.
    Brilliant work by all involved in this whole project. Thanks for taking time out from your day jobs to maintain this site.
    By the way, where has “Daventu” gone? Has he reverted back to being simply “Dave”?

    Like

  48. sue b says:

    Has anyone noticed that the behaviour of the parent birds seems to have changed this year? They seem to be bringing prey straight to the chicks or doing the defeathering much closer to the nest site. With the result that there are a lot more feathers and remains left around. Why would this be?

    Like

    • ianathome says:

      I believe that, at a certain stage in the chicks’ development, the parents start stripping the food of feathers in front of the chicks in order to show them how it is done. It’s not long now before they will have to be hunting and eating their own prey, so they have a lot to learn. That may explain the behaviour you have observed.

      Like

  49. john says:

    as a racing pigeon fancier for 20 years i like to watch all birds even these birds witch i look in on about 10 times a day and have no problem in what they eat ,i know the birds are only surviving ,and i have lost quite a few of my own birds to birds of prey ,if i can rescue my own from a sparrow hawk i will ,but i wouldnt hurt any in the process so please dont treat all pigeon men the same its only the few that embarras us with their comments

    Like

    • Thanks, John. It’s good to hear from a sensible intelligent racing pigeon fancier.

      Like

    • S says:

      nice to hear some common sense, maturity, and accountability. Thank you John.

      Like

    • Jacko says:

      John i agree too. Having also been a pigeon keeper for many many years, both racers and fancies, but i have also kept captive birds of prey (all legal), so in general a bird lover.

      What i do not agree with though are these “freak shows” presented as nature by all these wildlife organisations. Come on lets face it, if you want to watch nature and nature only put up a webcam where Peregrine Falcons have nested since they began, not where they have been “enticed” to nest. Lets also get all the figures correct, not just for Peregrines but for all birds of prey. Lets stop playing the “them and us” scenario and keep the facts straight. The whole birds of prey protection issue has become political and look what that leads too.

      Its far to early to remove any protection of these birds and a few others, but lets not forget that racing pigeons were once protected too. How many lives have Birds of Prey saved or how many Dicken medals have they been honoured with? Come on guys there is room in them skies for all birds, wether we love them or hate them. Get around a table and sort it out. No one will be a winner unless you do, some might think the end of the pigeon racing fraternity would do nothing but benefit these raptors, but in all honesty and you would all have to agree, that would just start a very rapid decline in BOP numbers,unless you are ignorant of all facts of course, some of which are proven on a daily basis to this nest site (number of racing pigeon prey compared to other prey species) and many other webcam sites.

      Like

    • Jim Shaw says:

      John, I do not believe you race pigeons, S was brought up in the country, have rescued more wildlife than you have had hot dinners,I have a degree, and am perfectly capable of sensible argument. You however are not, as your view is based on watching a cam on a man made nest, try Twycross zoo instead, as this is all this experiment is. Should racing pigeons dissappear, what will Percy survive on then? We are after a balance, by all means peregrines in their natural habitat, cliffs and quarries, of which there are plenty, rather than pretend sites such as this one.

      Like

  50. Tracy says:

    Does anyone know what spooked the chicks out at the 18:56 feed on Sunday? There was a few flies about but it seemed something went overhead because the parent stopped feeding and was looking up and the chicks were screeching and looked scared.

    Like

  51. Sue says:

    Yesterday the parents brought a bird with beautiful green feathers. I couldn’t tell what it was and wondered if anyone else could tell?
    Loving every minute of watching these beautiful creatures.

    Like

  52. malcolm says:

    what a fantastic job mr and mrs p are doing, if only thay could do a bit of house work lol

    Like

  53. Will Clark says:

    I did suggest names as;-
    Ernest, Really ( as in really earnest,) and Endeavour ( as in earnest endeavour).
    I am amazed at the other ideas put forward.
    I, too, wish to thank all who make it possible for us to follow and enjoy the lives of these birds.

    Will

    Like

  54. S says:

    just observed a feeding. One chick got a huge chunk of pigeon to himself…turned away from his siblings, clamped a foot over the big chunk of food, and proceeded to start ripping away strips with his beak. Fast learner. Also watched one of the chicks closely following the movements of a fly buzzing around the nest….instincts kicking in, lol.

    Like

  55. Eddie says:

    What about Larry, Curly and Mo as names

    Like

  56. freda says:

    Another feeding but………. ‘chick in the middle’ got nothing!

    Like

  57. Hetty says:

    I was watching yesterday and both Mr and Mrs P were in the nest feeding the chicks. Mr P was feeding one, Mrs P was feeding another, and chick no 3 was not getting anything and looking most put out. However, he/she decided to take matters into his/her own hands – hopped forward and started tearing at the meat in Mrs P’s talons. Both Mr and Mrs P got the message and both started feeding chick no 3 who then got plenty to eat! I don’t think any of them are going short, although two are much more forthcoming and grab what’s on offer first. The third one often gets plenty once they retire sleepy and replete!

    Like

  58. chris morley says:

    they have hardly moved a muscle since ringing,waiting for mum to get confidence back,all andys fault

    Like

  59. barbara deane says:

    Hi

    I have been awol for a couple of days so did not know that the chicks have been ringed! What a difference a couple of days make. Feathers coming through nicely now!!

    Like

  60. barbara deane says:

    If they have now been ringed, do we now know the sexes!

    Like

  61. barbara deane says:

    Thanks Gilly!!! Can’t wait!

    Like

  62. Tricky says:

    What chance is there of students having tidy rooms when they are set an example like this?

    At least there are no dirty plates, fag ends and beer cans left around however.

    Like

  63. Janet says:

    I have not been able to have sound on the falcon webcams today. Is there a problem or is it the fault with my laptop? I am an avid viewer and love to see and hear the chicks being fed and also too see them developing and growing. Mrs Janet Gurnhill

    Like

  64. Hetty says:

    I think any day now the chicks will be getting out of the nest box. I was watching them just now and two followed Mrs P right to the front. One in particular looked like it was seriously considering hopping up onto the ledge with her – my heart was in my mouth – but Mrs P suddenly flew off and the chick looked most startled!

    Like

  65. valerie morley says:

    where r the chicks cant c them

    Like

  66. Lisa says:

    I’m having absolute kittens watching these three! It’s like being a parent for triplets and I’ve got palpitations watching them incase one or more falls off the ledge! Irresistible and contagious viewing!

    Like

  67. Geoff says:

    2.20pm Wednesday only able to see two chicks, even the webcam was rotated to look along the ledge but no sign of third chick. Has it fallen off the ledge? The ledge is full of water more suited to ducklings, could a drainage point be made for the future, surely this work would not frighten off the adults?

    Like

    • Jim Shaw says:

      Well thats totally nature Geoff, because wild peregrines nest in well drained sites, Mr & Mrs P don,t normally ring up dynorod!!

      Like

  68. Geoff says:

    Panic over, it has swam back to the nest, lol.

    Like

  69. All three together on the ledge!

    Like

  70. Only one chick visible at 06.40 this morning and he’s in the nest looking lonely.

    Like

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