Edging closer

At 25 days old, the chicks continue to make good progress, despite some concerns that one seemed to be lethargic and suffering a lump in the throat.  They’ve all three been feeding well today, with another Feral Pigeon brought in by the male.

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They are starting to change quickly in appearance as the down is lost and feathers become increasingly visible, especially when a bit of wing stretching takes place, as below.

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Over the next week they’ll undergo a transformation and look almost ready to leave the nest.  They’re also taking ever more interest in the world beyond the nest platform, spending periods looking out over the edge.

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At one point this afternoon the chicks starting to call very loudly, all panning their heads to follow something flying past.  Whether this was one of the parents, or a Crow, or some other potential threat (Buzzards and Red Kites were seen over here last spring!) we’ll never know, but they were certainly alert to it.  A few people have been concerned that the chicks are being left vulnerable to predation, but one or both adults are almost constantly on the church, even if not in view on the webcam.

A visit for an hour on Bank Holiday Monday morning saw the female on top of the platform and the male on the corner of the church, though neither was visible on the webcam.  Needless to say, they gave some great views and photo opportunities.Image

From below it wasn’t possible to see the chicks at any point, but this will change and they will surely have been visible when on the edge of the platform posing for the photo above.  

The similarity in size between the chicks makes it pretty clear that they’re all females, and given their considerable size now the adults have given up any attempt to brood them – they’re almost the size of the male!  Instead they huddle together for warmth in the continuing unseasonal weather and often flatten themselves against the floor of the platform if they’re not in the corner trying to keep out of the wind.

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This weekend should provide good views from below if the weather makes a visit tempting, and there will be a chance to watch them before and after the talk on Monday evening.  Hope a good number of interested folk are able to make that, and a week from now the chicks will be a month old, about the age when the first flights become a possibility. 

 

 

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13 comments

  1. I’ve noticed the chicks are active at night. Presumably they can’t see in the i/r light of the webcam, so what’s to stop them walking off the edge of the platform?

    1. Good question! The nest box emulates the natural nest site on a cliff face, so I imagine there’s some innate instinct to stay away from the edge…

      1. Actually they’re not in pitch darkness. There must be some light from street lamps, and even the moon when available. The adult (male I think) is picking at stuff in the nest so he can obviously see at night, and one of the chicks just pooped in the right direction! (The male had some on his head the other day. Didn’t he look cross!)

  2. Thank you for the opportunity to watch this minor miracle! The whole experience has been
    enthralling and I have logged on 3 or 4 times a day to watch.the progress of these magnificent birds.

      1. They keep hiding in the blind corner – I’ve thought we’ve lost one a number of times!

  3. Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to witness these magnificent birds close up with the web-cam. I’ve been to see them on numerous occasions now and have twice witnessed a buzzard passing over head albeit very high up. I last visited them on Wednesday 29th and was fascinated to watch both the male and female working as a team to see off three large gulls that had inadvertently strayed into the peregrines air space. A series of breathtaking stoops by both birds soon had the gulls winging frantically for the horizon! Thankyou once again and I look forward to the meeting on Monday evening.

  4. As regards the lump in the throat, a week or two back I saw the female offer a leg with claws still on it and to my great surprise the chick took it and swallowed it whole. The falcons seem to have highly aggressive digestive systems, but that seemed to me a challenge too far! I wonder if the lump is the result of this.
    I’m not able to get to the meeting, but thank you for this whole event. It puts any reality TV show in the shade!
    John Skevington

  5. Re. the sickly chick, I was watching them last Thursday and one of the chicks almost swallowed a whole tail feather from their meal. There was a small piece of meat attached and she just gobbled up the whole thing, but the feather appeared to get stuck. She spent several minutes retching and then tried to pull it out with her foot, to no avail. I assumed at the time that this was a normal occurrence, as they must eat feathers all the time, and thought nothing more of it, but since one of them is not looking too good this morning I thought it might be worth mentioning. I watched for several more minutes but did not see the feather come out, and then she went into the corner so I couldn’t see what she was doing, but I did take some screenshots: http://www.flickr.com/photos/96893966@N03/

    I saw all three chicks eating well on Friday and I’m sure there were plenty of people watching over the weekend. This might be a good time to ask about your intervention policy! Would you ever get a vet to attend to the falcons if it seemed necessary, or would you let nature take its course?

    1. Hi, I did see this too, apparently exactly the same feather causing problems. It seems this has either been regurgitated or dissolved, as there’s no sign now. No doubt a few more worrying episodes before they hopefully fledge. Thanks for the screenshots. Best wishes,

      David

  6. Is there a non-Flash version of the webcam feed? A lot of devices don’t have Flash these days, since Adobe stopped supporting it.

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