Some quick news… this morning we got some messages that the Peregrines may have laid their fourth egg, but every time I looked at the webcam one of the adults was sitting tight and not revealing the eggs beneath them. During lunchtime several Peregrine watchers on Twitter sent us screenshots during a brief time the eggs were unoccupied, revealing the rumours were true! (Thanks to Victoria Lund for the image below.)
This is exactly a year to the day since the final egg was laid in 2014, and presuming this to be the last egg of this brood (five is possible but unlikely), this would leave us with the same estimated hatching date of 24th-27th April. Last year we were almost correct – cracks were starting to show on the 27th and the first chick arrived on the 28th.
Keep posted on various outlets for updates – this blog, of course, for David’s detailed analysis, and also the Peregrines Twitter feed and SBSG Facebook page. Here’s hoping for another successful year!
The Peregrine public talk, which took place earlier in the month and featured David Wood, Jim Lonsdale and Phil Riley, has been made available to watch on the University of Sheffield’s iTunes U educational video channel.
To watch the video, visit this page and click the link to watch in iTunes. You will need iTunes installed to to view it, or the iTunes U app for iPad or iPhone.
I’ve just received a number of worried messages asking why there seems to be an empty nest on the webcam… don’t worry! The right hand corner of the nest box is a blind spot for the camera, with more than enough room for the chicks, who are currently nestled in there to shelter from the rather windy weather.
As you can see from the picture above they’re currently (at the time of writing) being tended there by the female. It’s a bit frustrating if you were hoping to watch the chicks in action, but thankfully nothing to worry about!
No doubt David will be on hand shortly with a more detailed post, but the big news this morning is we have our first chick! Judging from the comments to the blog, some of you early birds spotted it at around 5am this morning – hopefully we’ll be able to have a look through webcam footage for the exact time.
So the excitement starts again – keep your eyes peeled on the webcam to watch the events unfold live, and follow the University’s Twitter feed and this blog for further announcements. Also, if you’re on Facebook we’ll also be posting regular updates the SBSG’s Facebook page.
EDIT – By the end of the afternoon I’m sure most of you have noticed… we now have three!
The first egg has been laid at the St George’s nest platform, a week ahead of last year’s date and earlier than I’d suggested as a prediction. It may well be that the milder weather has triggered an earlier start to laying, and it would be interesting to plot dates from across sites to compare with last year. We should see another 2-3 laid in the coming days, with one egg typically laid per day, so it’s definitely worth keeping a keen eye on the webcam.
The egg seems to have laid either overnight or very early this morning. The first image to show it is below, from shortly after 05:30 this morning, when the female left the platform.
The single egg has been left unincubated and apparently unattended for much of the day. Some people have expressed concern in the comments to see the egg left unattended, but it is quite normal behaviour for incubation not to get fully under way until the clutch is (almost) complete and is no cause for alarm. And they are far from unattended: views from the windows of my building nearby showed that at least one adult was on the perch or corner of the church whenever I looked, and on my way to a meeting the other side of St George’s this afternoon both adults were on station, though neither was visible on the webcam. Both the male and female did spend time on the platform from time to time, with the female in particular present for extended periods, doing further rearrangement of individual stones.
She seems occasionally interested by the camera, and eyeballs it from time to time, though there have been no attacks on it, as there have been elsewhere!
She also kept her eye on the egg and you can rest assured that it is being well looked after.
Tonight she has been incubating the egg, and perhaps will lay another before daybreak. What will the morning hold?
I’m sure everyone, like me, is looking forward to watching the events unfold on another breeding season!
Sheffield’s Peregrines, along with other urban wildlife in the city including Kingfishers and Sand Martins, featured on the BBC’s ‘Urban Jungle’ this week. Presenter Mike Dilger was taken to the top of the University’s Arts Tower, by the Department of Estates’ Jim Lonsdale, to see the Peregrines in action.
The programme can be seen on BBC iPlayer here, until 8th August (please note this is only available for UK viewers).
Our Peregrines, along with several other pairs from across the UK, made it onto BBC’s Springwatch this week.
The programme is available on BBC’s iPlayer until 20th June – visit here to see it (only available for UK viewers).
We’re pleased to announce the following free event.
Public Talk on St George’s Peregrines
St George’s Church, Mappin St, Sheffield, Mon Jun 3rd, 7-8pm.
For their second year, Peregrine Falcons have nested on St George’s Church in urban Sheffield.
This public talk will see speakers David Wood (Sheffield Bird Study Group) and Phil Riley & Jim Lonsdale (The University of Sheffield) talk about the history of the Peregrines, the construction and siting of the nest platform, and developments around the webcam.
After the talk there will be a chance to ask questions, and to view the birds from below.
A University of Sheffield news release about the event can be found here.
(Please note you can also find this event on Facebook).
For those that have missed the action today, I’ve been lucky enough to be looking online at the right moments, and captured the following video.
The first is around 15:55 this afternoon, which saw the two chicks emerging from the eggs, shortly after the female left for a changeover with the male.
The male and female took turns in incubating the remaining eggs, and keeping the chicks warm, for the rest of the afternoon. At about 21:00, the male turned up with part of a bird carcass, and after taking some scraps for himself gave the chicks their first feed (unless someone has seen an earlier one which we missed?). It’s incredible to see how quickly these bundles of fluff become voracious meat-eaters!
It’s been a wonderful day, and I’m sure many have spent a Sunday afternoon glued to the webcam! Make sure you keep watching to see the young peregrines at this pivotal time in their lives, and to see if the other eggs hatch in the following days. For updates keep checking the webcam, this blog, the University of Sheffield’s Peregrines2013 Twitter feed, and the SBSG’s own Twitter.
During a brief absence by the female earlier, movement in at least two of the eggs was clearly visible. Later, when the male and female birds swapped over at about 15:55, two chicks were now clearly visible.
At the time of writing (16:20) the male is incubating, and you can see part of one of the eggshells in the picture below.
Expect more updates as things progress… exciting times!