Having had several reports over the last week of birds being seen together in the air over various parts of central Sheffield, I’ve been left wondering if they were the juveniles or the adults and one juv, or what was going on. And distant views of up to three birds perched on St George’s as I’ve been in and out of work in the last week it felt as if one last visit to the church was worth a try to see if I could determine which of the birds were still around.
Arriving at the church mid-morning on Saturday I was delighted to find three birds present: a juv on one of the ornaments, the male on the nest platform, as above, and the female (below) on one of the lower ledges.
Soon after, the male flew off and I half expected him to return with some prey to feed the young bird, but he didn’t reappear over the course of the next hour.
Instead, the juv flew off out of sight, which preceded an thrilling series of events as three juveniles appeared around the church and engaged each other in some aerial sparring.
Firstly, two of the juvs pursued each other and faced off in mid-air, captured in the photos above, and then all three came together, providing one of the highlights of the season for me. And no, the shot below isn’t the result of photo-shopping, just being very happily in the right place at the right time.
The three seemed pretty expert in their flight abilities and one of them even landed on the crane, and stayed there while it started to swing round in operation!
It was terrific to see the three juvs together and thriving, but of some concern that there was no sign of the fourth, especially with both adults around. With mortality rates of 60-70% for Peregrines in their first year it would not be a surprise if one of them had not survived the critical first few weeks out of the nest, but there’s still hope that it’s fine and just not being seen together with the others. Fingers crossed that’s the case, but to be able to see the young birds gracing the skies of Sheffield is something to enjoy to the full.