Video Snippets and news from the 2019 breeding season.
7 January 2019: The long-staying juvenile (PCF) has not been seen on the platform since 11 December.
3 February: the female is feeding on the platform and the male is close by. he tries to steal a piece of her meal and is rewarded by being knocked from the platform.
12 February: Thanks to James Burman and Ken Robinson who have sent me photographs of a juvenile bird on the church at Market Harborough. The partial ring-read seems to indicate this is P7D from 2018. The first confirmed sighting since leaving the Cathedral area in August.
28 February 2019 – the male joins the female at 00:25 and goes into the box where he falls asleep. At 1:05, the female moves into the box and there is bonding; posturing and calling between the pair.
1 March 2019: The male returns to the platform at 13:10 and picks at some scraps then goes into the box. Five minutes later he flies out with the female calling. He can be seen to make an attempt to mate with the female but it is unsuccessful as he falls off her back!
6 March 2019: mating continues in earnest. There are now numerous attempts during the day as the bonding continues.
20 March 2019: the female hunkers down into the scrape at 8:45 and her posture and demeanour changes at 8:55. Just before 9:00 the first egg was laid and after a few moments she settles down on the egg. We have our first egg of the season. What a way to herald the first day of spring!
23 March 2019: the second egg of the year arrived at 7:35, right on time as expected. The male arrives at 9:05 and incubated two eggs for the first time this season.
26 March 2019: right on time, the third egg was laid in the early hours of the morning.
28 March 2019: just before 6pm, the female laid the 4th egg in this year’s clutch. Being 7 days earlier than in 2018, will they go for a 5th?
31 March 2019: a 5th egg was laid at 12 noon. This is the first time that 5 eggs have been seen in the nest of this pair since observations began in 2014.
1 April 2019: for possibly the first time, the male has to incubate 5 eggs. Does he think it’s April Fool’s Day? Being much smaller than the female he sometimes finds it quite difficult and if one of the eggs is left out of brood, it may chill quickly.
11 April 2019: the pair are still incubating the 5 eggs, even though the male does struggle at times as he is so much smaller than the female.
27 April 2019 – At 1 :40 this morning, the female was noted eating the shell of an egg. No signs of any young could be seen and it is assumed that the egg was not viable.
In 2019: Egg 1 20/03 @9:00; Egg 2 23/03 7:35; Egg 3 26/03 @1:45; Egg 4 28/03. The clutch is ‘complete’ 7 days earlier than in 2018. A 5th egg is laid at 12 noon on 31/03. The first chick hatched at 16:50 on 01/05, the second at 3:30 on 02/05 and the third at 7:40 on 03/05. 2018‘s laying dates: Egg 1: 26/03 @17:30; Egg 2 29/03 @15:15; Egg 3 01/04 @16:00; Egg 4 04/04 @6:50. The first chick hatched on 6 May.
1 May 2019 – the first of the four remaining eggs hatched at 16:50. This was finally revealed briefly at 17:25.
2 May 2019 – overnight, somewhere round about midnight, a second egg hatched and a new chick could be seen. Both young were first fed at 7:45.
3 May 2019 – a third egg hatched at 7:40, the female helping it from the shell.
11 May 2019: at 13:00. whilst the female feeds the chicks , she steps on the remaining un-hatched egg and it breaks. It is clearly seen that there is nothing inside except for a small amount of yolk, so was unviable.
11 May 2019: the male has always been a ‘modern father’ in wanting to feed the chicks but the female was reluctant to allow him. She eventually relinquishes when there are two items of prey that can be feed to the chicks at the same time.
13 May 2019: the chicks are at an age and strength when they can now venture outside of the scrape.
21 May 2019: after ensuring that the chicks had been well feed during the early morning, at 10:40, the three young were the colour-ringed under licence from the BTO. Hopefully, future sightings of the young will help in our understanding of the movements of young birds, their feeding and hunting sites, breeding sites and longevity. This information , both locally and nationally, will help in the conservation of Peregrines. With the chicks having just been fed, they were very docile and the process for the three took about 20 minutes. Less than 30 minutes after finishing the process, at 11:25, the female was sitting on the ledge with a full crop and the chicks were huddled in the corner dozing.
25 May 2019: the chicks are growing much stronger and their pin feathers are starting to show. They are also doing daily exercises to strengthen those wings and venturing around the box and platform.
1 June 2019: just six days later and the chicks are almost unrecognisable. They have grown so much with not only in size but the ‘Peregrine’ facial pattern is beginning to emerge. Lots more brown feathers and their downy feathers are almost gone.
5 June 2019: four days later and the chicks look more like young Peregrines. Their appetite is insatiable and they continually beg for food even when well fed.
7 June: it is hard not to be too anthropomorphic but the larger of the siblings TLC does appear to be trying to bully the other two. In this clip TLC appears to be trying to force TFC from the ledge with subtle use of head and wing. Or is that just my thinking?
11 June: it rains all night and the chicks huddle together in a corner of the box and the female does not visit the ledge. They then spend quite a bit of the morning doing wing stretching and flapping exercises. They settle down again until 12:25 when TFC searches for food. It is joined by PAF who also does some wing exercises. TLC remains in the box, takes two steps out and returns immediately! TFC starts a period of vigorous wing flapping and is watched by PAF who moves to the ledge. After a full 5 minutes non-stop, it joins PAF. The two sit there looking down on the street below. At 12:45, they start calling in anticipation of an adult arriving but it flies past. TFC remains on the platform flapping and this time TLC watches. After a few minutes, TFC jumps onto the back of TLC before walking into the box. TLC was somewhat surprised. TFC returns to the ledge and after 30 seconds opens its wings and flies off – the first to fledge this year, TLC watching it go.
13 June: All three chicks have taken their first flight, although TLC slipped off the ledge and was grounded in nearby Silver Street. She was safely transferred back to the platform for a second attempt a few days later. TFC was relocated on the roof of the Cathedral and PAF was on the roof of The Case restaurant also close by.
16 June 2019 – at 4:20 this morning, TLC makes a strong second flight over the rooftops of the city. Unfortunately, this was not the last time she would have to be rescued and released.
18 June – TLC Update: a phone call at 21:00 on Monday 17th, informed me that despite its very strong second flight, TLC was found grounded by the Guildhall. This happens frequently in urban sites. Juveniles don’t quite have the muscle strength to get enough uplift from the ground. It was quickly captured and taken for assessment overnight. It looked strong and healthy despite its adventures and returned to the platform on Tuesday morning at 9:35.
19 June – TLC Update: in the afternoon of the 19th, TLC was spotted on the central reservation of Vaughan Way. A member of the public tried to capture her but she flew off under her own steam. She was later seen on city centre CCTV near Nandos in The Highcross walking towards the Cathedral! Later in the evening, she was found outside Mark Jarvis bookmakers on High Street. She was collected by a member of the RSPCA and taken to a local vet. When collected from the Veterinary Centre on the afternoon of the 22nd, TLC looked extremely fit and alert. The Vet said he could find nothing physically wrong with her and so she was returned to the Cathedral at about 16:10. Her first flight was strong, taking her to half way down St Martins Walk. The adult female was over her later (at about 17.05) just before she took off again towards High Cross, again looking very strong in flight. Despite further searching she was lost to sight soon after this.
30 June – at 17:35 the male arrives sporting a full crop and falls asleep until 18:20 when he is rudely awakened by the arrival of the female with TFC in tow. He runs into the box and is followed by the female. He forces his way past the juvenile whilst the female is in the box with TFC calling loudly. TFC runs into the box and forces the female onto the ledge standing in front of her calling incessantly.
1 July: all three juveniles visit the nestbox to be fed but there are fewer and fewer visits by PAF. In the main it is TFC who visits and chases after the adults wanting to be fed.
10 July – Peregrine Watch Day: the team were in St Martins Square this morning and there was a lot of activity. The adults and all three juveniles were seen during the morning, including TLC who we have been concerned about since her multiple groundings in June. However, she was spotted on a cross and on the weather vane and seen to take a food pass from the adult female. Whilst TFC is noted frequently on the platform (via the cameras), PAF and TLC appear to take their food in the direction of De Montfort University and use one of the multitude of buildings there. All three juveniles look extremely well fed.
18 July – both TFC and TLC are seen regularly but PFC does not return to the platform. With TFC on the ledge, the female arrives at 9:15 with a Feral Pigeon. TFC runs to her and after a bit of tug-o-war, manages to snatch it from her. The adult flies off and TFC starts to pluck and feed on the prey.
25 July – both TFC and TLC are on the ledge and TLC bullies and bites the feet of TFC until it falls from the ledge. This was not the first time that TLC bullied her siblings.
28 August: Both TLC and TFC still use the platform and there is a fair amount of interaction between the siblings. Although TLC is mostly the aggressor, she is not necessarily the one to start the games.
31 July: TLC shows her strength when she drags TFC across the platform after try to steal TLC’s meal.
1 August:– an intruding adult female with an orange colour-ring lands on the ledge when TLC is present. The intruder goes into the box and is followed by TLC but she soon flies out in haste. The intruder is a young adult with a few brown feathers in the wings. She walks around the box looking for food and picks up a few scraps before flying off at 12:40. The intruder is probably at the age where it will be looking for a breeding site of its own and if it remains in the area, could change the whole dynamics of the resident pair.
13 August: both TLC and TFC still frequent the platform and are still being fed by the adults and also bring in prey. There is competition between the siblings for food brought in.
19 August: the supply of prey is wide and varied, including Black-tailed Godwit and Cuckoo.
1 September: both TLC and TFC continue to use the platform during the month although less frequently than previous. They were last seen on camera on 28 September.
18 September: at 10:00, TFC arrives with a partial-eaten pigeon. The adult female lands a few minutes later and TFC drags its meal into the box calling loudly and protects it from the adult. The female sheepishly tries to take a piece of the meal from TFC. She has every good reason to be wary because as she approaches, TFC runs at her with the prey and knocks her off the platform.
9 October: the juveniles have not been seen since late September and were not located during the Watch Day at the Cathedral. Both adults were in attendance, well fed and resting.