The three chicks are growing well and all appears to be progressing nicely for them. The unhatched fourth egg is beginning to be forgotten by the adults, squeezed out by the growing chicks as they’re brooded, as seen below (screengrab on Thursday 5th May).
At one point on Thursday the egg was set aside with no warmth from the adult’s body, which looked like a decisive moment (below) in the female turning her back on the final egg.
The adults continue to find plenty of food locally to support the chicks’ growth, with Feral Pigeons still the usual prey item, though a Yellow Wagtail – presumably passing over Sheffield – was a notable exception. Also on Thursday 5th, the male passed morsels of food to the female, who then fed the chicks, something that is a change from the usual pattern.
His smaller size allows her to take food from him if necessary, though this particular male always seems ready to hand over whatever he’s brought in to the nest. The male Peregrine is known as a tiercel, which comes from his being about a third smaller (in weight) than the female. His size is evident in the screengrab below, and means that he can no longer do much in the way of brooding the chicks.
A visit to St George’s this morning, Sunday 8th, coincided with a changeover as the male brought in a prey item for an early morning feed. The female departed and took up station on the Arts Tower, one of her favoured perches.
The male left some 10 minutes later, no doubt having fed the chicks, but neither adult returned to the nest as I’d expected.
With the male’s (and even the female’s) ability to brood now limited, the weather (finally!) having taken a turn for the better and the chicks having grown considerably, the need for constant protection is ever less pressing, even at this early stage.
The comparison above shows just how much the chicks have grown over the last 10 days, but there’s still a long way to go in that department and they will continue to grow and develop rapidly over the next three weeks or so.
And finally, for those who’ve never been to St George’s, I thought an image of the church showing the nest platform and webcams might be of interest. You can just about make out the female on the top right-hand turret, stretching her wing, typically keeping a close eye on things, even when she’s not in sight on the webcams.