April 2019

APRIL 2019

28 April – Video: after a mammoth stint of over 7 hours, the male is eventually replaced by the female. The first time she has not done the whole of the night session.

30 April – the male arrives at 8:30 with breakfast for the female, a half-eaten item of prey. She snatches it from him and in doing so both fall off the ledge. The male returns a few moments later to commence his incubation stint. That didn’t last long as the female was back at 9:20 and sits on the ledge for 20 minutes before forcing the male from the eggs. She goes walkabout and moves lots of stones around. He is back well-fed with a full crop at 12:10. She allows him to take over 5 minutes later and he grunts and chortles to the eggs as he settles down. At 14:05, the female is back and relieves the male. He flies in again at 17:25 and takes over incubation. She returns at 19:40 and sits on the ledge for 5 minutes before the final changeover of the day.

29 April – the male arrives at 5:30 and immediately takes over from the female. The female returns at 10:35 and there is a changeover. The male is back at 12:50 and they swap but there is a further change at 14:35. The male returns at 17:55 but the calls from the sitting female would appear to indicate that she is happy to continue as he flies off soon after. There was not a lot of activity today are no more changeovers this evening. 

28 April – the female eventually returns at 2:10. I have not seen her being so late before this season. Although quite a regular occurrence by the female, this was a mammoth stint by the male at 7 hours 10 minutes. He returns to the ledge at 7:30, suitably refreshed and well-fed with a full crop. She flies out 15 minutes later and he takes over incubation. A Stock Dove lands on the ledge at 8:20 but leaves after a few minutes. The female returns at 9:45 with a well-eaten item of prey but leaves with it almost immediately. She is not back again until 13:20, another long stint for the male on the eggs. This seems strange behaviour give the anticipated imminent hatching of the eggs. At 16:35, she walks onto the platform, looks out and calls loudly before flying off leaving the eggs. The male gets the message and after a few minutes takes over incubation. The female makes a brief stop at 17:45. A Woodpigeon is on the ledge for a few moments at 17:55. The female is back at 19:40 and there is the last changeover of the day. 

27 April – Video: the moment the female realises one of the eggs is not viable and eats the shell.

27 April – The sharp-eyed out there will already have noticed that there are currently only 4 eggs. At 1 :40 this morning, the female was seen eating the shell of an egg. No signs of any young could be seen and it is assumed that the egg was not viable. She then gathers the remaining eggs together and settles down on them. She falls asleep at 2:20. At 3:55 the female walks to the ledge, flaps her wings for a few moments before returning to the eggs. At 5:50, the male arrives and takes over incubation. He takes an interest in the broken shell but soon settles on the remaining eggs. He continues to grunt and chip as he settles down. The female flies in at 7:45 with a full crop. The male begins to walk away but is soon back on the eggs. He eventually relinquishes incubation at 8:00 and the female takes over. At 11:55, the male flies in to take over whilst the female sits on the ledge for a few minutes before flying off. She returns to the ledge at 14:05 but leaves immediately, the male sitting on the eggs facing away from her. The female returns at 15:15 and there is a changeover. The male arrives at 19:00 to relieve the female who sits on the edge for a few moments, then flies off. He continues to croak and chip at the eggs as he moves in to cover them. Strangely, there is no changeover from the female and the male continues to incubate until midnight at least!

26 April – the male arrives at 4:55 and immediately relieves the female on the eggs. She stretches her wings then sits on the ledge preening eventually flying off at 5:20. She returns at 7:40 but the male ignores her and so she sits on the ledge preening until 8:30 when something catches her eye and she flies off. The male rushes to the ledge and looks out and calls for a few moments before resuming incubation and giving a few chipping calls. The female is back an hour later and there is a changeover. She goes walkabout at 11:05 playing with the stones. The male is back at 11:50 with a full crop but remains on the ledge until he flies off at 12:00. He is back 20 minutes later and remains on the ledge until there is a swap at 12:40. He grunts and chips as he approaches the eggs. The next changeover is at 15:10 and the female is becoming a little more vocal as she covers the eggs. The male is back at 17:05 and there is calling between the pair but the female remains on the eggs calling to the male. He remains on the ledge and falls asleep at 17:30. There is a changeover at 18:40,  the female flies off for a few minutes and returns to sit on the ledge. The male flies out at 20:10 and the female resumes incubation, the last changeover of the day.

25 April – the male flies in at 5:45 and replaces the female. She returns at 9:10 and the male flies out. The male is back at 12:35 and the female leaves and he watches her fly off before covering the eggs chatting to them as he does so. She is back at 13:10 with  a full crop and sits on the ledge. The male calls quietly to her. He remains on the eggs and turns her back on her at 14:00. She is still on the ledge at 15:40 but swaps sides. The male is chipping quietly to the eggs and 5 minutes later finally relinquishes the eggs and flies off. The female remains on the ledge for a few minutes before resuming incubation. The male is on the ledge an hour later and after a good preen and the occasional nap, falls asleep at 17:50. He eventually flies off from the ledge at 18:50. The female leaves the eggs at 19:20 and is replaced by the male flying in 5 minutes later. He leaves the eggs at 19:55 and looks around for the female but soon returns and continues to incubation. The female flies in but sits on the ledge until 20:20 when there is the final changeover of the day and he flies off. 

24 April – the male flies in at 5:40 and takes over. The female returns 4 hours later – quite a long time to leave the male and she resumes incubation. The male arrives back at 13:10 and the female flies out. As usual, he grunts and chips at the eggs as he covers them. The female flies in at 16:05 and the male flies out. The male returns at 18:15 and sits on the ledge, the female remaining on the eggs. At 19:20, the female flies out and the male takes over incubation – quite late for him to be allowed. She returns at 20:10 for the final changeover of the evening. It has been noticeable this afternoon that the female has also been chipping to the eggs when she has been covering them. This would suggest that they are well developed – let’s hope so.

23 April – the male arrives at 5:45 and takes over incubation. The female returns at 7:35 with a full crop and resumes her duties. The male flies in at 11:15 and the female relents and lets him take over but she is back at 12:45 and he flies off. At 14:25, she suddenly leaves the eggs and flies off. The male arrives a few minutes later – he chunters quietly and chips at the eggs as he settles down. She is back to take over again at 16:30 for what was the last changeover of the day. 

22 April – Video: The male is relieved of his duties by the female. Note the different colours of the 5 eggs.

22 April – the male arrive at 5:45 for the first changeover of the day. At 8:55, he calls and runs to the ledge, looks out then flies off. He is back a few minutes later and resumes incubation. The female flies in at 9:05 and takes over. The male flies in at 12:50 but despite the female being on the eggs for almost 4 hours, she does not give up incubation and he flies off. However, just 10 minutes later, she runs to the ledge and flies off leaving the eggs unattended. The male flies in 5 minutes later and chunters to the eggs as he covers them. The female returns at 14:25 and there is a changeover. The male is back at 17:05 and the female flies out. He watches her go over the city for a few minutes before settling on the eggs. The last changeover of the day is at 20:10 when the female flies in. 

21 April – the Woodpigeon is early today, arriving at 6:00, leaving a few minutes later. The male arrives at 6:10 and there is a changeover. The female has a quick preen before flying off and the male chunters to the eggs.  The Woodpigeon is back at 6:15 and walks around the platform coo-ing quietly and picking at the stones. It flies off after a few moments only to return soon after. It is back again briefly at 6:20; the male Peregrine is facing away from the platform and does not see the activity. There is another quick visit at 6:30 and again at 6:55. The female Peregrine returns at 9:05 and takes over incubation duties until there is a changeover at 12:55. She is back at 15:00 and quickly settles on the eggs. The male flies in 2 hours later and sits on the ledge, the female appears to be too comfortable and does not move off the eggs. He has fed well and has a full crop and falls asleep. After 10 minutes, the female moves position but does not come off the eggs but continues incubation. He remains on the ledge until 17:25 when he flies off. The female preens and picks at the stones and at 18:00 goes on a ‘walkabout’ then resumes her position. The male flies in at 18:30 and takes over. The female is back at 19:55 and sits on the ledge preening until 20:20 when the male flies out and she takes over for the evening. 

20 April – Video: the male males croaking and chipping noises as he settles on to the eggs; possibly communicating with them.

20 April – the male arrives at 6:15, greets his partner with some croaks and she flies out. He continues croaking and chipping after she has left whilst he settles down on the eggs. This does appear to be communication with the developing eggs. A pair of Stock Dove arrive at 9:00 and one appears to be displaying. It flies off after a few minutes, the male Peregrine ignores completely. The female arrives at 9:05 and the male flies out. She does not seem to make any calls whilst settling on the eggs. The male returns at 14:20 followed closely by a Stock Dove that does a U-turn mid-landing; probably very wise. The female changes her position on the eggs but does not give up incubation duties and the male flies off. However, he returns 15 minutes later and takes over. Once again he makes a few noises as he settles onto the eggs. The female is back at 16:55 and there is another changeover – the last of the day. It is noticeable how little food has been brought on to the platform since the eggs have been laid. Both adults have been feeding separately whereas previously, the male was bringing in lots of prey as courtship feeding. 

19 April – the first arrival is the regular Woodpigeon at 6:20 that walks along the platform picking at the stones before eventually flying off 5 minutes later. The male arrives at 6:55 and replaces the female. She returns at 10:10 with a full crop and swaps places. There is another changeover at 13:20 and the female remains on the ledge preening for a few minutes before flying off. She is back at 14:55 and the male flies out. At 17:15, the male takes over incubation. The female sits on the ledge watching him for a few minutes before flying off. She is back at 19:55 for the last changeover of the day.

18 April – The male arrives at 4:40 and takes over incubation whilst the female sits on the ledge for 5 minutes before leaving. She is back at 6:00 and the male flies out. A Woodpigeon lands briefly on the ledge at 6:35 and a cloak of fog surrounds the city. At 9:45, the female leaves the eggs and runs to the ledge, looks up at the spire and flies out. The male takes over the incubation. A Stock Dove lands on the ledge briefly at 10:05. The female is back at 11:05 and sits on the ledge. The male can be heard chipping and grunting whilst he covers the eggs. Whether this is communicating with the female or the eggs is difficult to determine at this stage. She remains on the ledge for 35 minutes happy to allow the male to continue incubation until he flies out at 11:40. However, just 5 minutes later she runs to the ledge and flies out – most probably because of an intruding bird. The male returns to take her place. She is back at 12:35 and takes over duties. There is another changeover at 14:45 and 3 hours later they switch again for the last time today. 

17 April – Video: one of the female’s regular walkabouts, picking at the stones and grit.

17 April – the male eventually arrives at 7:20, quite a bit latter than normal – must have slept in! At 9:10 he gets up off the eggs suddenly, runs to the ledge, looks around for a few seconds, then flies out. I can only surmise that an intruder has entered the territory. He is back a couple of minutes later and resumes incubation. The female flies in with a full crop at 9:45 and takes over. She walks to the ledge at 11:25 and looks out for the male. She waits for a few minutes on the ledge but returns to the eggs when he does not arrive until 12:00 when she finally flies out. She returns 35 minutes later but sits on the ledge for a further 10 minutes before replacing the male. He flies in at 16:30 and the female leaves. She is back at 19:35 with a full crop and takes over incubation for the evening. 

16 April – the male flies in briefly at 5:30 but does not replace her until 7:05. One of the latest times he has been since incubation commenced. The female is back at 8:45 with a full crop to resume duties but the male is reluctant to give up and the female has to force him off the eggs. He returns at 11:25 but leaves after a few minutes as the female remains on the eggs. He flies in again at 13:20 and after calling a few times, the female allows him to take over.  She watches him settle on the eggs and then eventually flies off. She is back at 17:15 and falls asleep 35 minutes later, settling down for the night. 

15 April – the male arrives at 5:10 and takes over incubation. She returns at 8:45 and he flies out. The daily Woodpigeon visit commences at 9:20. It walks along the platform pecking at the stones and grit, finally leaving more than 10 minutes later. The female does not budge. It is yet another windy day and her feathers are being blown around but she stays put. The male returns briefly at 12:05. He is back again at 13:15 and this time the female allows him to take over. She resumes duties again at 15:20 and remains on the eggs until the male returns at 18:25. She is back with a full crop at 19:55 for the final changeover of the day. 

14 April – Video: the female walks to the ledge to call in the male to continue the incubation. Note the male calling to the eggs when he arrives.
14 April – Video: the female goes walkabout from her eggs to tidy the stones around the scrape. Is this a displacement reaction to boredom?

14 April – the male arrives at 4:55 and takes over incubation. The female returns at 7:20. At 9:20, a Woodpigeon arrives on the ledge, then walks around the platform whilst the female sits on the eggs. She watches but does not react. The pigeon spends a little time “coo-ing” and leaves about 5 minutes later when the female starts shuffling on the eggs. The male is back at 9:40 and she flies out. She returns at 11:10 to take over again. The next changeover is at 13:40 and then the female returning at 15:15 to resume incubation. Five minutes later, a Woodpigeon lands on the ledge, flying off at 15:25 – the female just ignores the visitor. At 18:25, the female walks to the ledge and calls excitedly. She looks out over the city and over her head before flying out eastwards. She was obviously calling the male in as a few moments later he arrives to cover the eggs. The female is back briefly at 18:45, probably to ensure the male was in situ. She returns for the final changeover of the day at 20:05 with a full crop and soon falls asleep.

13 April – the male is early, arriving at 3:10 but leaves 10 minutes later. He is back at 5:25 and this time the female allows him to take over incubation. A Woodpigeon lands on the ledge at 7:45 but is quickly displaced by the arrival of the female. The male returns to take over at 10:10. The female resumes duties at 12:40. The male is back briefly at 15:30 and at 16:00 but the female is sitting tight. The eventually swap over 35 minutes later. The female is back for the night duty at 18:55. 

12 April – Video: the male struggles to get comfortable with the 5 eggs and resorts to a bit of acrobatics.

12 April – the male arrives at 5:40 and replaces the female on the eggs. She sits on the ledge for 5 minutes preening before flying off. She returns at 7:10 with a full crop and takes over from the male 10 minutes later. The male is back at 11:15 and takes over from the female who flies off. The female is back at 12:50, sits on the ledge for 5 minutes then replaces the male on the eggs. The male flies in at 15:50 and relieves the female who flies off. She returns at 18:25 for the last changeover of the day. She falls asleep at 20:15 and remains int the same position until midnight at least.

11 April – Video: the male takes over incubation from the female but struggles to get all the eggs covered fully.

11 April – the male arrives at 5:10 and takes over duties from the female who flies out. However, she is back just 40 minutes later to resume incubation. The male is back at 7:40 and replaces the female. At 7:45 a Woodpigeon lands on the platform and pecks at the stones before flying off. At 8:20 a pair of Stock Dove land briefly. The female returns eventually at 12:15 and takes over. The male is back 4 hours later for another swap over. The female is back again at 18:50 for the final shift of the day. 

10 April – the wind is strong all through the night and the female sits tight until the arrival of the male at 4:50 when the swap over. She returns to resume incubation at 5:55. The male is back at 8:00 to take over on the eggs and the female flies off. She takes over at 9:35. At 11:40 the female leaves the eggs in a hurry and sits on the platform looking around and calling, then flies out. She is replaced by the male a few minutes later (please see note below). The female is back at 12:35 and the male flies off. He returns at 18:20 for a late changeover. The female is back with a full crop at 20:00 and takes over for the last time this evening. 

Note: Today (10 April) was a Watch Day at the Cathedral. Thank you to everyone that came to view and with your questions. During the Watch, an intruding adult female was seen around the Cathedral whilst the male sat on a cross. He called loudly and was obviously upset but did not venture to engage with the female – he is too small to fight off a female. The intruder eventually left the airspace. However, not too long later, the same intruding female (she had missing secondary feathers on the left wing) was back with another male. This time the male called and took flight towards the intruding pair. The resident female came off the eggs and also attacked the pair. A few minutes later, the male was back on the eggs and the intruding pair were noted flying north out of the city. At this time of year, it is assumed that breeding pairs will have one or either of the adults sitting on eggs (most Urban sites now have sitting birds) the intruding pair are either a non-breeding pair looking for nesting sites or their first attempt has failed. I am inclined to believe that this is a young/unexperienced pair looking for a nest site. They were not seen again during the session but confrontation of 3 birds have been noted regularly at Leicester University.

9 April – Video: the female takes over incubation from the male. She is very careful as to where she puts her feet and keeps her talons closed so as not to damage the eggs.

9 April – the male arrives at 5:40 and replaces the female on the eggs. She returns to take over at 7:10. Like yesterday, a Woodpigeon lands on the platform and walks up and down the ledge, picks at the stones before flying off. As yesterday, the female just watches the pigeon’s antics. The male is back at 11:40 to take over. The female returns at 13:40 and replaces the male who flies off. The male arrives again at 16:15, with a full crop, and takes over incubation when the female flies out. The female is back for the last changeover of the day at 17:50. Despite the strong winds, she quickly settles down for the evening.

8 April – the female sits tight through a very windy night and leaves when the male arrives at 5:05. The female is back 2 hours later and replaces the male. A Woodpigeon lands at 7:30 and the female watches as it walks along the ledge onto the platform and picking at the stones before flying off a few minutes later. She did not want to expose her eggs unnecessarily. There is a swap over at 9:30 and again at 11:50. The male returns at 14:20 and replaces the female. She is back at 18:05 for the last change of the day.

7 April – the male arrives at 4:15 and takes over incubation as the female flies off. She is back at 8:10 and replaces the male on the eggs as he leaves. It is another very windy day. The male returns at 11:05 and takes over duties. The female arrives at 13:55 with a large item of prey – a Woodpigeon but leaves with it immediately. She is back half an hour later with a full crop and changes places with the male. Surprisingly, this is the last changeover of the day. The male arrives briefly at 18:15 but leaves quickly. 

6 April – the male arrives at 4:45 and relieves the female of incubation duties. The female is back at 6:35 but the male remains on the eggs and she leaves half an hour later. She returns at 7:50 and they swap over. The male is back at 11:45 and there is another changeover. The female returns an hour later and the male flies off – she settles on the eggs. At 14:30 there is another changeover and the female flies off. She is back at 16:15 with a full crop and takes over on the eggs. She falls asleep at 20:00. 

5 April – the female flies off on the male’s arrival at 5:30. The female returns briefly at 7:40 but the male continues incubating until the female takes over at 8:35. The male is back at 9:05 with a pre-plucked item of prey which the female takes from him and he flies off. She is already well fed but eats the meal on the platform and stashes the remains by the column 5 minutes later before continuing incubation of the eggs. It is another cool, windy day and she will not want to leave them exposed for any length of time. The male makes a brief stop at 9:30 and later replaces the female on the eggs at 11:20. The female returns 3 hours later and takes the stashed prey from beside the column and eats whilst the male covers the eggs. What little is left is put by the column 15 minutes later and the female sits on the ledge for another 5 minutes before replacing the male who flies off. At 16:00, the female runs onto the platform and starts calling for a few minutes before returning to the eggs, still calling. The male eventually arrives at 16:55 and the pair swap over. The female returns at 19:00 and finds the stashed item by the column and proceeds to eat it. Ten minutes later she has finished and replaces the male on the eggs, the last changeover for the day and he flies off. 

4 April – the male flies in a 4:05 and swaps places with the female. She sits preening on the ledge for 5 minutes then flies off. The female returns 2 hours later and replaces the male on the eggs and he leaves. He is back again at 8:15 and they swap over, the female flies out. A Stock Dove arrives on the ledge at 9:05 and walks along it for 10 minutes before flying off – all the time the male just sat on the eggs and looked at dove. The Stock Dove is back briefly at 9:30. The female is back briefly at 10:00 and calls to the male before flying off – she has a full crop. There is another swap over at 11:05. The wind is strong again today and the female’s feathers are being blown about and she changes her position on the eggs frequently. She flies off when she swaps incubation duties with the male at 16:35. She is back at 17:40 for probably the last changeover of the day. She falls asleep quickly and remains on the eggs for the rest of the night. It was noted that during the day when not incubating, the other adult was either on the weather vane or crosses of the Cathedral for most of the time.

3 April – the female incubates the eggs through the night, changing position regularly. The male arrives at 5:55 and there is a change over. She remains on the ledge until 7:20 when they swap places again. She did not leave the site during this time. The male flies off. Two hours later, the female leaves and the male flies in to take over incubation. She returns at 10:45 and takes over and the male leaves. He is back at 13:30 and the pair swap again and the female flies off. There is another changeover at 16:15, probably the last for the day, and the male flies out. There does not appear to have been any mating attempts since 16:15 on 1 April. Looks like the pair have settled for 5 eggs. 

2 April – the male arrives at 4:45 with a small meal. The female takes it from him and he incubates the eggs. She sits on the ledge at 5:05. She replaces the male at 6:15 and he flies off. He returns at 8:35 and the pair swap again. She picks at some scraps left on the platform before flying off 5 minutes later. A Woodpigeon lands on the ledge at 12:30 but sensibly departs after a few minutes. The female is back at 12:55 and the male flies off as she incubates, drifting in and out of sleep. The male arrives at 15:20 and replaces the female on the eggs. She sits on the ledge preening, then flies off after 5 minutes. She is back at 16:45 with a full crop having fed well. She remains on the ledge until 17:20 when the pair swap places, the male flies off and she settles down for the evening’s incubation duties. She is asleep quickly. The male makes a brief visit at 19:30 after which she seems restless and moves the stones around a lot but has settled again at 20:00. She sleeps, occasionally changing positions on the eggs to be more comfortable and give each the correct warmth.

1 April – Video: being much smaller than the female, the male has trouble incubating 5 eggs. He eventually finds a comfortable position.

1 April – the female sat tight on the eggs until the male arrives at 5:50 and took over duties. The female went to the ledge and started preening remaining until 6:15 when she flew off. She returns at 7:05 and takes over incubation; the male flying out. At 8:55, a Woodpigeon lands on the ledge. The female watches but makes no attempt to attack the pigeon who leaves after a few minutes. The male is back at 9:30 and the pair swap over and the female flies out. She is back at 12:10 and the male flies out as the female goes to incubate the eggs. She goes to the ledge at 12:45 and returns to the eggs 5 minutes later. She is back on the ledge at 14:15 then flies off as the male arrives to incubate the eggs. The female flies in again 2 hours later and the male flies out and there is a mating attempt! This would seem to indicate that the pair are going for a 6th egg! The female must be in very good condition to continue producing eggs. She then goes to incubate the clutch. The male comes in at 18:05 with an item of prey – a Feral Pigeon. The female immediately runs out and snatches it from him and flies off. He goes to incubate the eggs and she returns with her meal, plucks and eats it on the platform. She finishes eating 30 minutes later and stashes what’s left before sitting on the ledge with a full crop. At 18:45, she forces the male off the eggs and she takes over incubation. He flies off as she settles down for the evening. 

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