A lovely evening in Sheffield gave some hope that this might have been the time to see the first flight form one of the chicks, but despite a good crowd gathered at St George’s, and various will-they-won’t-they moments, the time’s obviously not quite right yet…
Plenty of flapping going on, but what’s also interesting to note in the photo below is the length of the middle toe. According to someone who knows far more about such matters than I do, the feet can be a good way to sex the young birds, with males having shorter middle toes. Having looked pretty hard at this over recent days I think I’ve sometimes been able to see a difference, with one having noticeably shorter middle toes than the other two.
So there’s no obvious size difference between the three chicks, certainly not to the same degree as last year, but it appears we may have 2 females and one male. The only way we (or I at least!) could have been certain was to have ringed the birds, but unfortunately this proved not to be possible.
Both adults were again much in evidence on and around the church tower, the female catching and bringing in another Feral Pigeon, which has made up the overwhelming majority of prey items. It was taken to a ledge on the church to be prepared for the chicks, and this time taken onto the platform rather than onto a nearby ledge hoping to coax them off.
In the evening sun, some great views were to be had again as the birds circled low overhead, much enjoyed by all. Great to learn too from some of those present that the project is being enthusiastically followed in some local schools – inspiring stuff!
The chicks can be seen to be far more mobile around the platform now and are increasingly moving out onto the perching pole for some vigorous bouts of wing-flapping. As they do so, they move out of frame on the webcam, but hopefully by tomorrow this will have been adjusted to the widest available field of view. Nonetheless, it’s not going to be long before they move off screen on their maiden flights – 12th of June was the big day last year. Could history repeat itself? Exciting times!