Post script

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.  

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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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!

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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.

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23 comments

  1. Thanks for the update David,not had time to get up for the last week or so,have to be in town Wednesday evening so will have a look and let you know if I see anything

  2. I noticed what I thought to be strange behaviour a few days ago. One of the adults was in the nest box tidying up and apparently creating a nest scrape, then crouching in it as though brooding. I saw similar behaviour on the Norwich webcam too. does this mean they want to start another brood?

  3. Fantastic photo,s as usual,many thanks😀Think I saw A juv fly over my home on Netherthorpe Street after a pigeon but it looked a bit inexperienced the pigeon flew casually off 😉

  4. Thanx for the update thrilled to see the fab pics once again, they r amazing. I am really missing the little fellas. I’m goin to watch the video of the talk now. Thanx again for all yr efforts & the time you’ve put in.

  5. Yes, absolutely thrilling, and, I must say, the photos and David’s beautifully lyrical descriptions were very moving. Thankyou very much

  6. Hiding in plain sight: a young bird is sitting by the nest now (13.40 on 24.6.14.). What a lovely surprise.

    Thanks for the wonderful combination of art (the photographs) and science (the text) without anthropomorphism.

    Is it feasible to put GPS into the rings so it would be possible to track their movements?

  7. Been up this evening,only saw one of the adults,it did a few circuits of the tower before landing on the crane nearest St Georges

  8. David and colleagues – I am looking at the webcam this morning 8am and am surprised to see a female (I think) in the nest box and I was intrigued by its behaviour, as it seemed to be trying the scrape out with a view to settling down there – is it one of the juveniles practising nesting behaviour? Very pleased to not just see an empty nest site as expected this morning!

  9. It’s unringed, so not one of the juveniles. Size-wise I’d have thought it was the male – no idea why it’s clearing a scrape, maybe just chillin’ !

  10. Superb photography (as usual) you seem to have quite an eye for a good
    shot particularly for birds in flight, not easy I know I have a bin full of lost
    opertunities.

  11. I was at tram stop outside Sheffield Cathedral today &heard aPeregrine screeching .Quite a few people were looking up wondering what the noise was .I phoned The Cathedral &asked if they could take a look to see if a bird was caught in the netting up on the roof .The woman was very complacent and said oh it’s happened before . I mentioned that Peregrines were protected , but she said there was no access to the roof for them to look .Iwas very angry at this so I phoned RSPCA and they weren’t,t interested either as I couldn’t,t see the bird was in distress .I,m just hoping it’s not one of the Juvs from St George’s 😞

    1. Hi Chrissie, sorry for the late reply, I somehow missed this comment. The juvs can be very noisy and make quite a racket, even when not in distress, so hopefully that’s all. They were doing something similar from the Arts Tower roof last week and causing some concern, but all seems fine.

  12. Once again I thank you for a brilliant post, it keeps this lonely old man very happy !
    I greatly admire your photography , I was a keen photographer before old age and
    decrepitude set in and know how difficult bird photography can be. Once again thank
    you, and god willing I look forward to 2015. Keep up the good work. ps I live in
    Leicester and we have a pair nesting on a Tower block in the city !

  13. I was walking up Leavygreave Road this morning to work and I heard screeching and it sounded as if it was coming from the roof of the Hicks Building. It sounded like a bird in distress to me but then I’m not all that up on different bird sounds. I work in the Hicks and last week we heard the screeching too and saw may be a peregrine falcon or may be different falcons flying past. We’ve not heard the screeching before. I do hope nothing’s happened to any of the birds on the roof of the Hicks and they are trying to attract attention to let us know. I’ve looked on the Estates web page but there doesn’t seem to be any mention of a person who may be in charge of looking after the falcons so to speak on the University’s behalf. If anyone out there knows differently please do let me know. Lesley Hudson in Maths.

    1. Hi Lesley, the birds can be quite loud and raucous when interacting and do cause concern sometimes with their calls – they were doing this from the Arts Tower roof last week. I remember them doing this from St Paul’s Place last year, and I could clearly hear them from outside Hallam Uni.

      I work at the Uni and am passing Hicks in a minute, so will have a look, but hopefully all’s well.

      1. Hi Stephen, I’m waiting on Dave’s definitive answer to this, but my presumption is one of last year’s young paying a visit.

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