The North Wind Doth Blow and We Shall Have ??!! Snow

And what will those Peregrines do then, poor things?

With a stiff northerly blowing straight into the nest platform, and an air temperature (without windchill factored in) down to 4 degrees, today was the day to find out exactly what they’d do.  Despite the size of the three chicks, which continue to thrive, the adults spent most of the day brooding them as best they could to keep the cold off them.  In the process they showed that it isn’t just Robins that might use their wing to keep warm.

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This was truly amazing to witness, and another behaviour that would have gone unseen without the wonders of the webcam.  One chick was under the male’s breast, but the other two were both under the extended wing, at least until one wanted to have a look around.

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With these three to care for, the fourth egg is very much forgotten by the adults, although the chicks find it to be an interesting plaything from time to time. 

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The chicks are starting to spread their wings and exercise those flight muscles that will come into play in a few weeks’ time.  At the same time, the feathers are poking through the down, especially obvious in the tail and wingtips.

Later this afternoon, the weather took a turn for the (even) worse and a heavy shower of sleet passed through, driving the chicks back under the male, on hand to provide shelter.  The flakes can just about be seen in the picture below, in the air and on the male’s back.

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One of the surprises – to me at least – has been to see how much time the male has spent brooding and feeding the chicks, taking what seems to be a pretty equal share of the duties on the nest platform.

Another couple of weeks will see the chicks getting ready to take their first tentative flights, but enjoy the fantastic opportunities to watch their activities until then.

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3 comments

  1. Fantastic viewing of the Peregrine family, the parents are very attentive but I have noticed the babies on their own at times, they huddle up together to keep warm but is this also to try and hide from possible predators when the parents are gone? I was worried that the babies were being cared for by one parent only a few days ago as they seemed to be left for more than an hour on their own. I have tuned in most days at different times, always relieved to see one of the parents with them. We have nesting Peregrines off our south coast cliffs in Guernsey, its magical to see them in flight. We also have nesting Buzzards on our small island. Well done Sheffield University this is amazing to witness.

  2. Great to see the chicks are doing so well and such caring parents looking after them.Let’s hope the weather improves and they fledge ok

  3. It might just be me, but it seems like its Mildred in these photos and you can’t see the legs to determine if there is a ring. I have to say, I was quite surprised by the sudden turn in the weather when I was watching the webcam. I’m much further south so there was no sign of such foul weather here. I do hope it gets better for the poor peregrines, though it was lovely to see the parents taking care to ensure the chicks were kept warm though.

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