It’s the end of FalconCam 2013 and I can’t help but feel a little down at heart that another nesting season is over.
Although it’s sad to bid farewell to Ernest, Gwendolen and Amelia, it’s a joy to think of them soaring the Notts skies and establishing themselves as adult birds of prey.
For all intents and purposes, 2013 has been a hugely successful year for FalconCam.
Not only have our resident pair of breeding adult falcons had three beautiful, healthy chicks which have all fledged the nest, we’ve also enjoyed a number of successes off-camera.
The popularity of the project has burgeoned, with more than 156,000 visitors to the FalconCam home page since this time last year and a peak of 63,000 visitors in May alone after the chicks hatched.
We have also successfully launched our donations button, which has led to almost £600 being generously given by you, the FalconCam viewers, with some people pledging monthly payments going forward. This money will be split between Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and the university to further our work and research in this area.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of 2013 for our team has been the interaction with you. It was a real delight to receive dozens of drawings from the pupils of Lady Bay Primary School. It was also great to hear about Naomi Yeomans, Vanessa Sabin and their team of helpers from Capital One putting on a cake sale, raffle and tombola to raise £210.
It was a joy to receive so many nominations of chick names, and a privilege for us to name one of the birds Ernest as a tribute to a follower whose grandfather of that name – an avid viewer of our falcon family – sadly passed away.
There have also been times of adversity, such as when many people grew increasingly concerned for the birds’ wellbeing after they and the three eggs lay in deep snow as the cold winter continued into spring.
But these moments have been outweighed by times of joy, such as when the chicks hatched and video footage of the incredibly cute newly born chicks was broadcast on the websites of the national press and on regional television.
I’ll also never forget watching the chicks training for flight, flapping their wings frantically and exploring the ledge of our Newton building, much to the alarm of many viewers who were worried that they might fall off.
It’s only been three months since the eggs hatched, but so much has happened since then and in many ways it seems a lot longer.
In short, it’s been a pleasure. And from the team at Nottingham Trent University and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, we’d like to say a huge thanks to you for following and we hope you’ll join us again next year to once again witness this true marvel of nature.
Nottingham Trent University