MAY 2018

31 May – The female does not get much sleep and by 4:45, she is on the ledge. The chicks do some early morning wing flapping. She returns to the chicks at 4:55, they are hungry and calling loudly. She shelters them in the corner until 5:15 when she is back on the ledge preening. The chicks follow her onto the ledge 10 minutes later before retreating to the shelter of the box. At 6:20, P7D is back on the ledge calling at her mother. The female rushes towards the chick and forces them both back into the box. The female is acting agitated and is walking around P7D and preventing it from going onto the ledge. The female sits on the ledge at 6:30 but when P7D comes close, she forces the chick back into the box. Eventually, at 6:40, both chicks are on the ledge for a few minutes before returning to the corner. At 6:55, the female flies off returning at 7:05. The chicks are still calling loudly. She flies off again at 7:15. P7D does some wing stretches at 7:30 and 5 minutes later, the female arrives with food. She feeds PCF whilst P7D walks around the box, then sits on the ledge looking out. At 7:45, P7D gets her turn to be fed. When it is finished, the female sits on the ledge and the chicks walk about before settling in the corner at 8:00. At 8:50, the male arrives with food and gives it to the female who goes into the box and feeds the chicks. She flies of with what little remains at 9:00. The chicks go walkabout until 9:25 when they settle at the back of the box. The male arrives at 9:30 but leaves almost immediately. At 9:55, P7D ventures onto the ledge with PCF at the back. At 10:05, the male arrives with food and goes to the back of the box where he plucks it and feeds both chicks. The female arrives a few moments later and sits on the ledge watching him for 5 minutes before taking the prey from him. He leaves. When the young have had their fill, she stashes what little is left and flies off. The chicks sit on the ledge preening until they both settle in the right hand corner at 10:40. Twenty minutes later P7D is back on the ledge. She is soon joined by her brother and they both lie down prostrate to shelter from the breeze. At 11:50, P7D decides to have a walk around and do some wing flapping whilst PCF does a bit of preening. After 10 minutes, they lie prostrate on the ledge again. At 12:15, the male brings in a Starling and feeds the chicks on the ledge. When finished, he sits on the ledge but soon flies off to be replaced by the female. She sits on the ledge looking over the chicks who soon hunker down out of the breeze, occasionally preening. At 13:45, the female flies off with a bit of remains that PCF had found. Whilst she is away, PCF does a bit of wing flapping. P7D finds a morsel of food and for the first time can be seen to hold in in her talons and pick at the food. She eventually leaves it and goes and sits with her brother on the ledge. by 14:40 they have had enough being exposed to the elements and go to the corner in the box. At 15:30, P7D goes onto the ledge. Five minutes later, the female arrives with a Feral Pigeon and starts to pluck it on the ledge. P7D decides she wants to get in on the act and approaches the pigeon and stands watch the female. The the pigeon has been sufficiently plucked, the female feeds P7D. After a few minutes, PCF walks over and waits his turn. They both have their fill and the female finishes off most of the remainder and stashes what is left at 16:05. However, PCF is still calling, so the female drags over a wing and feeds PCF with it. After 5 minutes PCF turns away and walks towards the columns. The female removes what is left and flies off at 16:10. The male arrives with food at 16:35. The chicks don’t male a sound or movement towards the male. After 5 minutes, he decides to pluck and eat the prey himself. When it is all but gone at 17:05, he takes what remains to the chicks and tries to feed them. They are not really interested but take a few small pieces whilst lying down. He eats the rest himself and flies off at 17:10. The chicks sit up and do some wing stretching just as the female arrives. She finds a few morsels lying around eats them and walks into the box. She tries to feed a few scraps to the chicks but they are not interested and walk onto the ledge and look out. For the next 30 minutes, both young are quite active and do a lot of walking about and wing flapping. They then settle down of the corner with the female watching on from the ledge. At 18:25, P7D goes to the ledge followed soon after by PCF. Their mother forces them back into the box where they stay whilst she flies off. She arrives back at 18:45 with food which she takes into the box and feeds to PCF. When it is finished she flies off. The young go walkabout until 19:05 when strangely, they settle in the right hand-corner – it is normally the left during the evening. At 20:30, they have another walk around before settling in the right-hand corner again. The female arrives on the ledge at 20:40 whilst the young stay huddled together. She goes into the box 10 minutes later and stands over the chicks. At 22:20, she shelters them, covers them and falls asleep at 23:50.

30 May – The female did not come in to incubate the chicks until 00:15. She falls asleep immediately and remains so until 5:30 when the chicks start getting restless/hungry. At 5:45, P7D slips out from beneath the female and goes for a walk and wing stretch, before returning to her mother and ‘playing’ with a feather. At 5:50, the female leaves. At 6:10, P7D goes to the ledge closely followed by PCF. They return to shelter in the box 15 minutes later. The male brings in food at 6:35 and feeds the chicks. He is still feeding them small pieces and at 6:50, the female arrives, pushes the male out of the way and takes over. It is finished within 5 minutes and she shelters the young. At 8:45, the female goes to the ledge and returns almost immediately. The male arrives with food at 9:05 and gives it to the female who feeds P7D – there is not enough for PCF. It was gone within 5 minutes and the female goes to the ledge again, returning a few minutes later. The chicks walk around the box and on to the ledge, wing stretching and flapping. P7D jumping up occasionally. At 9:20, they settle back in the corner where they remain until 10:45 when P7D goes for a walk then back to its sibling. It must be raining as when the female arrives at 11:55 without food, she is seen to be wet. Despite this, P7D decides to sit on the edge of the box looking out for a few minutes. She is followed by her brother but they are soon back in the box when the male arrives with a very small piece of prey. It is finished quickly and he leaves. The chicks are calling loudly. For the next 30 minutes they walk around the box and ledge before settling in the corner at 12:30. At 13:15, P7D ventures on to the ledge returning to PCF after 5 minutes. At 13:25, the female brings in a large piece of prey. Once again P7D gets fed first but this time there is plenty and PCF finally gets his share. There is nothing left at 13:50. The chicks go onto the ledge and the female leaves. After a few minutes they are back in the corner. Ten minutes later, the male arrives with a Starling. The chicks are not really interested as they have just eaten but the male is persistent and they take some small pieces. He eats more himself than the chicks. After 10 minutes he takes the prey to the ledge but is back less than 5 minutes later trying to feed the chicks who still aren’t really interested. He returns to the ledge but less than a minute later, has another try! He leaves the young huddled in the corner. He is back at 15:00, but the chicks don’t even register his arrival, preferring to stay huddled together. After he has fed himself a few pieces, the chicks reluctantly take a few bits. He takes what is left away at 15:10 and the P7D goes on a walkabout whilst PCF shelters in the corner. They are back together at 15:25 and remain so until 16:45 when P7D goes to the ledge. The male is back at 16:50 looks around the box and leaves. Both chicks are now on the ledge before returning at 17:20. The male is back with more food at 18:05. Both chicks are fed and when the male leaves, go to the ledge. They are back in the box at 18:30. The female arrives at 18:40 then goes to the ledge at 18:45 and returns to the chicks. She looks to be settling down for the night but P7D has other ideas and at 19:00 walks on to the ledge to be joined 10 minutes later by her brother. The female plays with a few stones and lies down in the box trying to entice the chicks into the corner. Eventually PCF obeys but P7D does not join them until 19:25. The female leaves them at 20:15 and returns with a small meal at 20:30. It is finished within 5 minutes and the chicks finally settle down with the female back at 20:45 to incubate them. She falls asleep at 22:15.

29 May – The female slept through the night covering the chicks until 4:40 when she flew off. The chicks huddled together in the corner until 6:00 when they became active and walked out to the ledge calling before returning to the back of the box. The female arrives at 6:05 without food and takes the chicks into the corner and shelters them. She leaves at 7:10 and after 15 minutes, the chicks start to walk around the box. At 7:30, the male arrives with his favourite prey item and feeds the chicks, taking the occasional piece for himself. By 7:45, it has all gone and he does his best to shelter the young in the corner. At 8:10 he goes to the ledge and looks out returning a few moments later. At 8:20 he goes to the ledge again, looks out then leaves. The chicks huddle together in the corner until 9:25 when the female arrives with a Feral Pigeon. At 9:30, the chicks go to separate corners and the female flies off with the remains. The chicks go on a walkabout for 10 minutes before settling back down in the corner. At 10:35, P7D goes to the ledge and looks out then returns to the corner. It is very breezy. A few minutes later, the female returns with a small piece of prey which she feeds to P7D, the larger of the two chicks. She leaves and they resume huddling. P7D goes to the ledge for a few minutes and is joined by PCF but they are soon back in the corner. At 11:45, the female  is back will the remains of the pigeon from earlier. She feeds the chicks. After 10 minutes they are full and she leaves. The chicks do some preening and a bit of wing flapping. For the first time, it is noticeable that P7D is actually jumping into the air as she flaps her wings! At 12:10, they are back huddling in the corner. They go to the ledge at 13:00 but soon return to the box. The female arrives at 13:25 and covers the young in the corner. At 14:00, P7D squeezes out from beneath her and walks to the ledge and looks out whilst the female still protects PCF. Ten minutes later, PCF joins his sister on the ledge so the female leaves. They are back in the corner at 14:15. The male arrives at 14:50 and the chicks walk up to him but he doesn’t have any food. They are calling loudly and after looking around the box, he leaves. At 15:50, the female returns with the last remnants of the earlier pigeon. By 16:05, there is nothing left and she covers the chicks in the corner until she leaves 10 minutes later. They hunker down for an hour then go on a walk, preening and wing stretching before settling back down. At 17:50, they are up again and go to the ledge and look out. They spend 30 minutes on the ledge, the longest period so far, before returning to the relative shelter of the box. At 18:30, the female arrives with a small prey item. She feeds it to the chicks and when finished, shelters them. P7D is getting more adventurous and at 19:25 leaves the female and walks on to the ledge whilst PCF remains. Ten minutes later, P7D is back but the female leaves. The chicks huddle together for the rest of the evening and the female does not arrive until 00:15 some 4 hours and 40 minutes.

28 May – Despite the restless chicks, the female sleeps through until 4:40. At 5:15 she leaves and the chicks huddle together in the corner until 6:00 when they walk towards the ledge. P7D takes the extra steps onto the ledge whilst PCF settles in the right-hand corner. After a few minutes, P7D tucks her head between the double columns and is soon joined by her brother. They both have a walk and a flap around the box before settling in the corner. They start to become active again at 6:20 and the female arrives at 6:30 and goes and shelters them for a few minutes before going to the ledge calling. She leaves the chicks in the corner but is back within a few minutes without food. She flies off again at 6:45 and at 7:00, the chicks go walkabout with both young venturing on to the ledge. They sit there together looking out for a few minutes. The female arrives with food at 7:05 and starts to feed the chicks whilst on the ledge. After 5 minutes she takes the prey into the box and continues feeding them there. For once, PCF gets the lion’s share as P7D sits in her favourite corner. She eventually joins her brother and the female feeds them both. After they have both been well fed, the female takes the remains away and the chicks huddle together in the corner. The female is soon back to shelter them. At 8:10, the male arrives with a Starling and the female leaves. He plucks the prey and the chicks take small pieces from him. It is noticeable that the male still feeds small pieces just like when the chicks were much younger, but the female now gives increasingly large pieces and not just the meaty parts. At 8:20, P7D decides to walk onto the ledge whilst PCF is still being fed. At this time, the female arrives and takes over the feeding. Five minutes later the chicks are back together in the corner and the female shelters them from the wind. Other than the occasional walkabout and wing stretch, they remain covered until the female goes to the ledge at 11:10. She is back protecting the chicks after a few minutes. The male arrives at 11:15 and the female retrieves a small item of prey from him which she feeds to the chicks. It is soon gone and she leaves. The male arrives at 11:25 and shelters PCF in the corner whilst P7D is by the right-hand column. After a few minutes, P7D joins them in the corner and calls. The male goes to the ledge and the chicks go walkabout and wing flapping before huddling together in the corner. They remain there until 13:00 when the male arrives with a Starling which he feeds to them – mostly P7D. After five minutes, the female arrives and take the prey from the male and feeds PCF. P7D walks to the ledge and looks out. When the meal is finished, the female goes to the ledge and calls loudly before returning to PCF who is still begging. The female shelters him from the wind and they are soon joined by P7D. At 13:20, the female leaves the chicks in the corner. At 15:10, P7D starts to walk around the box, flap her wings and goes to the ledge where she sits and looks out, whist PCF preens in the corner. Ten minutes later and he wing flaps and moves around the box. At 15:30, the male arrives with a Starling and feeds PCF with P7D looking on. However, the female arrives, nudges the male out of the way, takes the food and feeds P7D. The male makes a retreat. When P7D is full she goes to her favourite corner and the female feeds PCF. When he is finished, she takes what little is left away and both chicks go to the right-hand side. Just a few minutes later, the female is back with fresh prey and tries to feed the young but they are not interested and she leaves with the food. The chicks have a walkabout before huddling together and settling in the corner at 15:45. At 17:05, the female is back with a small piece of food and feeds P7D and leaves. Both chicks go to the ledge and look out before returning to the back of the box. At 17:30, the female is back with fresh prey and feeds both young. It has gone within 10 minutes and the female leaves. The chicks huddle together in the corner. The male arrives at 18:00 but without food. He shelters the young for a few minutes and leaves as the female arrives with another meal. They finish within 5 minutes and she leaves returning to shelter the young. At 19:05 she flies off and the chicks go walkabout and wing flapping before venturing out onto the ledge. P7D being the most adventurous. The wind is still strong and at 19:40, they retreat to the corner of the box and huddle together. [It is noticeable during these huddles that it is mostly P7D, the female chick that is the most exposed. PCF being the smaller of the two invariably is underneath.] The female comes in with a Starling at 20:50 and feeds the chicks. It is finished within 5 minutes and she leaves. The chicks settle in the corner until 21:40 when the female returns to incubate them for the night. She is asleep by 22:15.

27 May – It was avery breezy night and the female slept intermittently through until 4:05 when she went to the ledge and called then returned to incubate the chicks. The male arrives at 5:40 and she goes to the ledge. The male goes into the box 10 minutes later with prey. The female tries to take it from him but he leaves with it. She resumes incubation until 6:25 when he is back and gives the female the food which she feeds to the chicks. Within 5 minutes it has gone and she leaves. The chicks huddle together until the male arrives with more prey at 6:55 and he feeds them. It was consumed within a few minutes and he leaves. The chicks are warming up in the morning sunshine and become active at 7:40. At 8:05, the male is back with a fresh Starling which he plucks and feeds to the chicks but after a few minutes the female arrives and he leaves with the food. She looks around the box for food but can’t find anything. She goes to the ledge and calls before returning to the box. The chicks are calling hungrily as she stands next to them. The male is back at 9:10 and gives the food to the female who feeds the chicks. It has gone within 5 minutes and the female goes to the ledge and calls again before returning to the chicks. She shelters them from the wind. At 9:30, she goes to the ledge and looks out but does not call, returning to the chicks after 15 minutes to resume their shelter. She stands over them until 10:50 when the male arrives with more food. However, as soon as she tries to take it from him he goes and sits on the ledge with it for a few minutes! When the chicks start to call, he reluctantly gives the food to the female and leaves. The female leaves as soon as they have finished the Starling. Whilst she is away, the chicks become a little more active and do some wing stretching, preening and exploring before huddling together and falling asleep at 11:15. They are awaken by the arrival of the male with a Starling at 11:45 which he feeds to them. When it is finished, he goes to the ledge and is followed by P7D who stands there looking out. PCF is not quite as adventurous and stays behind his sister. The chicks are calling and the male comes back into the box but soon returns to the ledge looking out. At 12:30, both chicks lie prostrate to shelter from the breeze. P7D tucks her head between the double columns and falls asleep. PCF is nearby. The male is back at 12:40 but the chicks do not stir. After a few stretches at 13:05, PCF joins his sister and sticks his head between the columns. P7D sits up and does a bit of preening. At 13:25, they both sit up and look out from next to the central column. P7D ventures further and goes to the ledge and sits there for 15 minutes whilst PCF retreats back into the box. By 13:45, they are huddled together by the central column where they remain until 14:55 when the male arrives and entices them back into the box by feeding them scraps he has found. He leaves at 15:00 and the chicks do some wing flapping. At 15:05, the male is back with another Starling and feeds P7D by the column whilst PCF is in the box. Missing out, PCF gradually walks forward and is also fed. At 15:10, the female arrives, takes the food from the male and goes into the box. The chicks turn round to be fed. When there is nothing left, she leaves, returning a few minutes later. The chicks are still hungry and she looks around the box for some scraps but can find none. She stands by the chicks and they fall quiet, lie down and fall asleep. She leaves them sleeping by the column at 15:40. She is back with prey at 17:45. The chicks waken and are fed. Within 5 minutes it has gone and she leaves. The chicks huddle together by the column. They remain here until 18:55 when they become more active and start wing flapping and walking around – P7D in particular. At 19:35, the male arrives with prey but before he can even enter the box, the female snatches it from him. He leaves. PCF takes most of the meal as P7D is still walking around the box but when she arrives at the female, also gets fed. The female leaves at 19:45. The chicks have a preen and walk around the box until 19:50 when they settle in the corner. Just when they think that is it for the night, the female arrives at 20:20 with a small meal which they readily accept. She leaves 5 minutes later and the chicks huddle together again. The female does not return until 21:35 when she covers them and settles down for the night. She is asleep by 21:45.

26 May – The female sleeps through until 5:00 when she leaves returning a few minutes later with the wing of a previous catch that was obviously stashed near. There is not much to eat but she strips it bare. The wind is still quite strong and she resumes incubation until 7:00 when the male arrives with prey. It has gone within 5 minutes. She incubates PCF but P7D goes to it’s favourite corner. After 5 minutes, the 2 chicks meet half way, exchange a few calls and a huddle then swap over, the female incubating P7D and with PCF in the corner. The female is not happy and goes over to PCF and drags him back to his sister and she incubates both. At 8:20 she leaves and the chicks huddle together in the corner. She returns at 9:25 without prey, looks around the box and then shelters the chicks. After 15 minutes, she leaves returning at 9:55 with food which is gone within 5 minutes. The female leaves the box and is replaced by the male. He watches over them and shields them as best possible. He leaves at 10:30 as the female struggles in with a large fresh Feral Pigeon which she plucks and feeds to the chicks.  After a good 15 minutes they are satisfied and the female goes to stash the remainder but the calling of the chicks forces her to return and continue feeding until the majority of it has gone. She flies off at 11:10 with most of the remains, leaving a few scraps lying around. The male arrives and picks up the scraps and tries to feed the young that are now huddled in the corner. They are not interested so he feeds himself and leaves returning a few minutes later to shield the chicks. After just 5 minutes the female returns and displaces the male. She keeps them covered in the corner until 14:15 when she goes to the ledge and calls before returning to the chicks, leaving at 14:30. The male arrives at 15:00 and picks up a few scraps that are lying around and feeds them to the chicks. He flies off 10 minutes later. Over the next hour, the chicks go for an occasional walk before settling down in the corner. The female arrives at 16:20, looks around and leaves. She is back 5 minutes later with a fresh Feral Pigeon which she plucks and feeds to the young. She leaves with what little remains at 16:45, returning to cover the chicks a few minutes later. At 18:50 she retrieves the prey from earlier and feeds the chicks and then covers them although they occasionally go walkabout. At 19:50, she leaves to be replaced by the male but is soon back and settles down for the evening. She is sleeping by 23:00.

25 May – The female sleeps until 4:30 when she wakes but keeps the restless chicks covered until 7:55 when she goes to the ledge. The chicks enjoy their freedom and each goes to their favourite corner. She watches them for a few minutes and waits until they come together before trying to tuck them under her wings. She decides she doesn’t like their chosen position and drags P7D back to the scrape. Once released from her grip, it walks back to the corner, drops on it’s haunches and stares at it’s mother. She reluctantly returns to the corner and shelters the young. When they are under her wings, she tries a different technique: walking with them still under her wings and pushing them with her chest. She only gets half-way back before P7D makes a break for it and returns to the corner! She perseveres with PCF but after 5 minutes he too escapes and runs to join his sister. Mother is not amused and again grabs PCF but he runs away as soon as she releases her grip. The mother sits in the scrape watching. After 5 minutes PCF walks towards her but rather than being greeted with care, she grabs him by the neck, drags him towards her then tucks him under her wing. Sister is still in the corner but after a further 5 minutes joins her mother pecking at her break and calling hungrily. The female eventually lets the chick back under her wing. The male arrives at 9:25 and the female collects a Starling from him and proceeds to feed the chicks. Within 10 minutes it has gone and she shelters them. At 11:00, she looks out of the box for 2 minutes but does not leave. She returns to incubation. At 11:25 she ventures out again but is soon back, repeating the sequence 5 minutes later. She is not calling from the ledge but there is something that is attracting her attention. She flies off being replaced by the male at 11:35 but before he has time to look around the box for food, the female is back and displaces him. She covers PCF but his sister decides the corner of the box is better and runs off. Ten minutes later, P7D crawls back under it’s mothers wing. Five minutes later, the female runs on to the ledge returning after a few moments. The male is back with another Starling at 12:10 which he gives to the female who feeds the chicks. After 10 minutes it has gone and they are brooded. An hour later, she flies off and the male stands over the chicks for 20 minutes before he too leaves. The chicks huddle together until the female returns at 14:05 and resumes incubation. At 14:35, the male produces yet another Starling. The female watches as he plucks it in the box. He tries to present it to her but then leaves with it. The female checks the ledge but neither he nor the food is there. She calls loudly and he brings the food in which she retrieves from the ledge and feeds the chicks. When P7D is finished, she walks to the ledge and looks out whilst her brother is still being fed. The female takes what little is left away and leaves the chicks. P7D returns to the box and starts wing flapping. For the first time the extent of the wing pin feathers can be seen. The female is back at 14:45. The young stay beneath the female until 16:40 when she leaves returning 5 minutes later. The male arrives with a Starling at 16:50 and gives it to the female who feeds the chicks. It is finished in 5 minutes and the female leaves with the chicks doing wing stretches and flapping. The male arrives at 17:00 to supervise and stand over them until he leaves at 17:25. The female is back with a large offering (pigeon) at 18:05 and the chicks feed quickly. P7D is finished first and goes for a walk onto the ledge again. Both young are active and enjoying their walkabout. At 18:15, they each go to their favoured corners. The female removes what is left of the prey and when she is back covers PCF. The 2 chicks start calling and suddenly run together meeting up at the back of the box. The female tries to incubate them but they both run away into the right hand corner. She grabs P7D and tries to drag her back to the scrape but she will not go. The second time, the female grabs PCF and drags him to the other corner and broods him. He is joined by his sister a few minutes later when she walks to their mother who eventually allows her under her wing. At 18:40, the female leaves and returns with the remains of the pigeon and feeds it to the chicks. When it is gone, she resumes incubation and settles down for the evening.

24 May – After falling asleep at 21:20 the previous evening, the female continues to shelter the young in the corner of the box from the strong winds until 5:00 when she awakens. She keeps them covered until 5:35 when one goes walkabout and hides in it’s favourite corner, the second joining it a few minutes later. They soon realise how cold it is and return to the shelter of their mother’s wings. The male arrives with the first meal of the day at 6:20 which he gives to the female who feeds the chicks. It is quite a small offering and is soon gone. The young return to the shelter of their mother where they remain for the next three hours until one decides to have a walk around the box. It is soon back with it’s mother! She leaves the chicks at 10:40 and ten minutes later, the male arrives with a Starling which he feeds to them. [The cameras are turned off at 10:55 to allow licensed ringers to colour-ring the chicks. This will enable us to identify them as individuals and watch their progress not only at the nest but when they eventually fledge and disperse and hopefully start families of their own.] The cameras are back on at 12:20. There is a new piece of food in the box, a Feral Pigeon, which has been stashed by the right hand column. This confirms that the chicks settled down well after being ringed and the female that is in the box is back looking after them. One is being incubated whilst the other is in it’s favourite corner with the female is keeping a watchful eye. The winds have calmed down substantially compared to earlier that morning. At 13:00, she tries to feed the remains of the Starling to one of the chicks who is disinterested but is eventually cajoled into taking the meal. At 13:05, the female drags the second chick from it’s corner back to the warmth of the scrape with the smaller chick and puts them both under her wings. At 13:45, whilst she has her back turned, the male nips in and takes the pigeon that has been stashed. She continues to keep the chicks covered. At 17:30, the female goes to where the stashed pigeon was but is surprised that it isn’t there. She stares at the space for about a minute before looking in a couple of other stash areas but there is nothing. Eventually, she finds a few morsels of food lying around the box and feeds the chicks. She flies off at 17:35. During the 5 minute period the female is away, the chicks walk about the box and do a lot of wing flapping. She returns without food and covers the young. At 18:25, the female departs and the male arrives without food and looks around the box in the stash areas, possibly forgetting he stole the pigeon some hours earlier!  He leaves after a few minutes. The chicks huddle together and do some preening. The female is back at 18:45 without prey and looks around the box, finds nothing and leaves. At 19:00, she returns with a fresh pigeon and feeds her young. They feed quickly and 15 minutes later there is little left. She stashes what remains and covers the chicks. At 20:20, she retrieves what was left and feeds the young again. After it has all gone, she resumes incubation and settles down for the night, falling asleep at 23:20.

23 May – The female sleeps all the way through until 5:20, the chicks taking their first walk five minutes later but soon return to her shelter as there is still a strong breeze. The male arrive with food at 5:55 which the female accepts and feeds the chicks. After feeding, the chicks return to their mother’s shelter. She leaves them at 6:35 and they hunker down in the scrape. At 6:45 she drags in a large pigeon and starts to feed the young. They are full by 7:00 and shelter in the corner of the box. The female continues to try and feed them but they take small pieces reluctantly. She stashes the remains and goes back to shielding the chicks. At 8:20 the male brings in a Starling but the female is not interested so he eats it himself before leaving. The male is back at 9:05 with what looks like the remains of the pigeon from earlier, gives it to the female who feeds the chicks but they don’t eat much – still too full? She takes it away. The male is back a few minutes later with a small offering and tries to feed the young but is disrupted by the return of the female and he leaves. She resumes incubation. She manages to sleep from 9:45 until 10:20 when the young start getting restless. At 10:55 they go walkabout and end up in separate corners. She tries to retrieve one of the chicks but it is too stubborn and refuses to return so she stands over the other as it does some wing stretching exercises. Eventually, at 11:05, the 2 are together again. The male is back at 12:20 with a Starling which he gives to the female who feeds the chicks. After 5 minutes she leaves with what little remains. Whilst she is gone, the male arrives and covers one of the chicks, the other is sheltering in it’s favourite corner. He then starts to look around the box for any stashed food but there is none. Both chicks come together and he covers them. The female returns at 12:45 and takes over. He leaves. She continues to keep the chicks sheltered until 14:55 when she leaves. They huddle together in the scrape. The female is back at 15:10 looks around the box and leaves immediately. She returns at 15:25 and shelters the chicks until 16:05 when she leaves. The chicks start to explore the box and get very close to the central columns and are greeted by the male at 16:15. The larger of the 2 follows him on to the ledge before returning to the box from the other side and looking out. Both young are more active and covering every inch of their home. In between their exploratory trips and huddles, they are beginning to preen themselves. The male is back at 16:40 looks around the box for food and leaves after a few minutes. The female returns at 16:50 and feeds a few scraps she finds to the chicks but leaves a few minutes later. At 17:00, both chicks sit next to the central column and look out of the box before continuing with their walkabouts. The female arrives with food at 17:05 and feeds the chicks. When it is finished she covers the chicks until 18:15 when she leaves. The male arrives at 18:20 with a fresh Starling which he proceeds to pluck and feed to the chicks. It has all gone by 18:35 and he shelters the chicks in the corner. At 19:00, he goes to the ledge and looks out, returns after few moments but leaves 5 minutes later. The chicks hunker down until 19:50 when they start exploring again. The female arrives at 20:00 and covers the young until 20:30 when she leaves. She is back at 21:00, covers the chicks, has a preen and settles down for the night. She is asleep by 21:20.

22 May – The female manages to sleep through until 4:50 when the male arrives on the ledge. They leave the chicks calling in the box, the female is back 5 minutes later. She covers the young. At 6:05 the male arrives with a Starling. The female snatches it from him to feed the chicks but he managed to hold onto a piece which he eats himself and then sits on the ledge. There is little left after 5 minutes and the female flies off with the remnants. The chicks walk to the corner of the box to shelter from the strong winds. At 6:20 the female is back and she goes to cover the chicks. The largest has other ideas and goes on a walkabout, realises the error of it’s ways and returns for shelter. The male produces another Starling at 7:45 which he feeds to the chicks whilst she shelters them from the wind. After 5 minutes, the female has seen enough and takes the remainder of the food away from the male who flies off. Another 5 minutes and it’s all gone. The female leaves and the chicks tuck themselves into the corner of the box. The male arrives at 8:00 and the chicks call loudly looking for food. He searches the box but there is none. He leaves, only to return a few minutes later but without food – he covers the chicks. Well, tries his best because they are getting a bit big for him now! At 8:35, he spends a few minutes on the ledge but returns to continue sheltering the young. At 8:55 he goes to the ledge then flies off. The chicks flatten theirselves in the scrape to keep out of the winds. The female arrives at 9:15 and incubates them best possible until 10:25 when she leaves. The male arrives with yet another Starling at 11:05 and feeds the hungry young. It is all gone within 10 minutes so he shelters them from the wind. At this stage the female was seen on the Cathedral spire sitting in the warm sun. She takes over from the male at 11:55 incubating until 13:05 when she leaves, returning with a small prey item at 14:15. When it is finished she looks in the stash areas but there is nothing to be found and she flies off. Whilst she is away, the chicks explore the box and one reaches the central column and looks out into the city. Eventually, they are back together huddling and are joined by the female at 14:30. The male arrives with a Starling which the female grabs off him and feeds the noisy chicks. He leaves. When it has gone, the female resumes incubation. She goes to the ledge at 15:40 and flies off 10 minutes later. The chicks huddle together as the male arrives at 16:15 leaving soon after. He is back at 16:50 with prey but is followed immediately by the female who takes the food from him and feeds it to the chicks. He leaves. The chicks are hungry and the meal is finished within 3 minutes! The female covers the chicks. The male is back with more food at 18:10 which he is relieved of by the female who feeds the young. Five minutes later it has gone and the female leaves. The chicks wander around the box and find a corner out of camera shot! The female is back at 18:20 and is not happy where they are. She forcibly drags one of the chicks into the scrape grabbing the back of it’s neck by the beak! The chick escapes but is dragged back again but it will not be told and escapes again. She ignores it, turning here back on both chicks for over an hour! At 19:25, she tidies up the scrape moving some stones around. One chick arrives of it’s own accord, the other is forcibly dragged in. She shelters them under her wings from the strong winds. At 21:05, the male arrives with a late meal but the female refuses it and he leaves. She incubates the chicks and settles down for the night.

21 May – After being left for just under 6 hours, the chicks finally receive some light incubation when the female eventually arrives at 2:00 and she falls asleep. She wakes at 4:50 and leaves soon after. The chicks huddle together. They later start to explore the box until the female arrives at 5:15 to cover them. The male arrives at 5:30 and she goes to retrieve the Starling he has brought but he decides he wants to feed the chicks. She tries to take the meal from him but he takes off with it. She flies off in pursuit. At 6:40, the male is back with the same item of prey and starts to feed the chicks but before he can give the first mouthful the female has cornered him and takes the food. He leaves in a hurry. It has gone within 10 minutes and the female covers them. She leaves at 7:25 just as the morning sun hits the scrape and warms the chicks. The male is back with another Starling at 7:30 and starts to feed the chicks. The female arrives soon after and stands and watches him. She eventually out manoeuvres him and takes his prey and feeds the young. She leaves with a few scraps at 8:40 and returns a few moments later. Whilst she tries to cover the young, one decides it wants to go exploring. It goes to a corner of the box where prey has been stashed previously. It plays with a feather and preens itself in a shaft of warming sunlight. It returns to it’s mother in the scrape after an hour. She leaves at 8:55 returning 15 minutes later. Whilst brooding, one of the chicks gives her the slip and goes walkabout. She watches carefully but it returns of it’s own accord. At 9:40 she looks around the box in all the stash areas for food but there is none. She leaves 10 minutes later returning without food at 10:45. There is a bit of a breeze blowing and she covers the chicks. The male arrives at 10:55 and presents a meal to the female who feeds the hungry chicks who finish the meal within 5 minutes. The female leaves and the chicks huddle together and do a bit of preening. Just as they fall asleep at 11:20 the female arrives and covers them. They are begging for food but she can only find a few scraps lying around. The male arrives at 12:10 with a Starling. He shows it to the female and starts to pick at it, he takes it closer but the female won’t allow him to feed the chicks so he takes off with it. The young stand beneath the female and do lots of wing flapping before returning to the cover of her wings. She leaves at 12:50 with the chicks huddling together in the strong breeze. They move themselves to a corner of the box which looks less windy. The male arrives at 14:10 but leaves almost immediately and the female is in and out a few minutes later – both without food. The chicks go for a wander around the box and start pecking at the stones. At 14:15 the female arrives with a Starling – most probably the one the male brought in earlier. She feeds the young and it is gone in a few minutes. She leaves and they go back to the corner of the box. They have a bit of a walk around then huddle together until the male arrives with a meal at 14:35. Five minutes later it is all gone. He stands over them until 15:30 when he leaves. The chicks huddle together, occasionally preening. The male is back at 16:15 with a Starling which he feeds them. When it is finished, the chicks walk to the side of the box sheltering from the wind, the male standing over them for extra protection. At 16:40, the chicks split and go into separate corners of the box. The male is confused and goes between both chicks until he settles on the smallest being the most in need and stands over it. After 20 minutes they finally come together. The male leaves at 17:30, the chicks huddle together in the scrape and fall asleep. The female arrives at 17:50 and covers the young but leaves at 18:20 returning for just a few moments 20 minutes later leaving as the chicks beg for food. She returns at 20:10 with what looks like the remains of fresh Black-headed Gull. The chicks feed quickly and 15 minutes later there is nothing left. The female covers the chicks as they sleep off their meal. She settles down for the night, finally falling asleep at 23:55.

20 May – The female didn’t get much sleep, just the old half hour here and there. At 4:35, she goes to the ledge and flies off returning 5 minutes later. She stands over the restless chicks. The male arrives at 5:30 and presents the female with what appears to have been a Starling. She feeds the chicks but it didn’t last long and every piece was finished. She covers the young until 5:55 when she flies off. She returns with another Starling, presumably presented by the male, and she immediately stashes it, returning to covering the chicks. She covers or shields them from the sun until 8:10 when the male arrives. He looks around for food but she finds a stash that she left earlier this morning and he leaves. She feeds the chicks for 10 minutes and leaves with the remains. For the first time one of the chicks has managed to walk out of the scrape. They will now become much more mobile. It soon returns to it’s sibling in the scrape. Five minutes later, the male arrives with food and feeds the chicks. Despite having large crops they are not refusing. The female is back at 8:35 and the male leaves with the remains of the prey. She stands over them, protecting them from the direct morning sun. At 8:50, the female takes an interest in the remaining egg. A crack can be seen clearly in it. She puts it between her feed and eventually breaks it open with her beak. The egg appears to be empty. From the colour of the egg, this was the first to be laid and unlike the previous egg that failed, there is no sign of an embryo. She eats part of the shell for the calcium. After a few minutes, she returns to covering the chicks until 10:35 when she leaves. At 11:00, she is back with a Starling and feeds it to the chicks. They have finished it within 10 minutes and she covers them again. The female appears to be preening one of the chicks, removing some of the downy feathers. At 11:45, the female notices the egg shell and starts to pick at it. One of the young copies her. She picks up the shell and places it between the chicks who peck at it and one picks it up, but are a bit unsure. They fall asleep. The female leaves at 12:05 and the chicks continue sleeping. The adults are leaving the chicks for longer periods now and the male doesn’t arrive until and hour later with a small item of prey. It has gone in less than 5 minutes. The male departs as the female arrives with food but it is all over within 10 minutes and she leaves returning a few minutes later. The chicks do a bit of wing flapping and wandering around the box. The female brings them together and whilst covering them does the odd bit of preening. At 14:40, the male arrives and offloads more food – it’s gone within 5 minutes. She covers them until the male arrives at 16:05 and she leaves. He looks around the box and he too flies off. By the time the female returns with food at 18:30, the chicks had been on their own for two and a half hours. Again, in less than 10 minutes it has gone. Their appetites are growing. She covers them for a few minutes but leaves at 18:45. The male arrives at 20:00 but leaves soon after. One of the chicks nibbles at the egg shell. The female returns with food at 20:15 and feeds the chicks but it’s finished in a flash and she leaves. The chicks huddle together and fall asleep. For the first time, the chicks are left on their own during the night and neither adult returns before midnight – it is quote a warm night. This is not unusual as the chicks grow but the parents will not be too far away although we can’t see them. The female eventually arrives at 2:00 and stands at the box entrance looking at the chicks before walking in and greeting them with a few nips of her beak. She lightly incubates them.

19 May – The chicks are quite restless and the female doesn’t get any sleep until 1:00. She is woken at 4:40 by the arrival of the male and she leaves. He looks around the box for food but cannot locate any and he too leaves. The female is back at 4:45 with the remains of the pigeon she  removed the previous evening. She feeds it to the hungry chicks until there is nothing left and she resumes incubation. At 5:50, the male brings in a Starling and feeds it to the chicks under the watchful gaze of the female. When they are full he takes the remains out of the box. Although the chicks have grown substantially and the female is having trouble keeping them both under her wings during incubation, it is noticeable that she is still persevering with incubating the last egg and consciously pulls it under her body. At 7:45 he returns with a fresh Starling. Again, the female watches over as he feeds the calling chicks, the larger one being fed first. After 5 minutes the female tries to intervene but he refuses to give up, moves the prey forward and continues feeding. Now satisfied that all is well, the female leaves. At 8:05, there is nothing left and the male goes to the ledge as the chicks fall asleep in the shaft of warming morning sun. At 8:30, he goes back into the box, finds a morsel of left over food and feeds it to the chicks before shading them from the sun. The female arrives at 8:50 and the male leaves. She too finds a few scraps to feed the chicks with and then shades them from the sun. At 11:10, she flies off leaving the 2 chicks. The male arrives at 11:20 and looks around the box for stashed food but there is none. He leaves after 5 minutes. The female arrives at 11:35 without prey but finds a more morsels to give the chicks. She then checks all the usual stash points but finds no prey so incubates the chicks. She flies off at 12:15 and is replaced by the male at 12:35. He too looks for stashed prey but can’t find any so stands over the chicks who peck at his beak hoping to be fed. He leaves at 12:40. The female returns with a large pigeon at 13:10 and feeds the chicks. She stops feeding at 13:30 and tries to stash the remains but it is too big and she removes it from the box. Whilst she is away, the male returns with his offering. Despite having spent 20 minutes feeding previously, the chicks readily accept the meal, especially there smaller of the two. The male does try to share the meal evenly. After 15 minutes, there is nothing left. The chicks fall asleep and he stands over them. At 13:55, he is displaced by the female who semi-covers them. She finds a few small morsels at 14:05, tries to feed them to the chicks but they are not interested and so eats them herself before continuing to cover them. At 15:45 she flies off, returning at 16:05 with the remains of the earlier pigeon. The chicks are up quickly and start to feed. After 5 minutes she goes to stash the remainder but the chicks are still calling and so she returns to continue feeding them. They stop at 16:15 and she takes away what is left. She is back within a few minutes and covers the young. The male arrives at 16:30 with the same piece of prey and starts to eat it in the box near the female but leaves after 5 minutes. The female flies off at 18:55 returning 10 minutes later before flying off again. The male arrives at 19:15 looks around for food and leaves after a few minutes. The female is back with a large, well-plucked, unidentifiable meal at 19:30. The young feed quickly and there is not much left after 10 minutes and she takes the remains away, returning a few minutes later. The chicks are noticeably getting more mobile by the day and now trying to get out of the scrape area. They settle down for the night and the female manages to fall asleep at 23:30.

18 May – The female sleeps all the way through to 5:30 when the chicks start to get restless. She goes to the ledge and is back a few moments later. At 5:50 the male arrives with a large prey item. She takes it and feeds the chicks. After 10 minutes, she stashes the remains. She goes to the ledge and flies off returning a few minutes later and covers the young. The male arrives at 8:40 without food and departs followed by the female. He arrives a little later with a small piece of prey which he gives to the chicks. Both are no more mobile and wing flapping but remain within the scrape area. At 8:20, the female returns with a substantial meal. She feeds the chicks but stops after 10 minutes and stashes the remains before resuming incubation. At 11:00, she retrieves the stash and feeds the chicks. Ten minutes later there is nothing left and she continues incubation. The female leaves at 12:55 as the male brings in a Feral Pigeon and he feeds both chicks. The female returns at 13:05 and takes the prey off the male and he leaves. After another 10 minutes feeding, she stashes the remains and resumes incubation. At 16:15, she retrieve the stashed pigeon and feeds the young. It is noticeable how large their feet are – almost as big as the adults. She removes the feed after 10 minutes and starts to stash it but one of the chicks is still calling and presumably hungry. She returns and continues to feed. The second chick, seeing an opportunity, gets in on the act. Five minutes later she hides the stash and resumes incubation. At 18:05, the male arrives and starts calling on the ledge. He finds the hidden stash and takes it to the ledge. The female sees this happening and retrieves it from the male and feeds it to the young. When most of it has gone she removes it from the box before returning to incubate. That is the last meal of the day (earlier than usual) and at 21:15 she settles down for the evening although the chicks are only partially covered as they are now quite large and it is probably a warm night. At 23:30, she leaves the chicks and goes to the ledge for a few minutes and then returns to incubation.

17 May – The female slept right through from 21:00 to 4:40 without moving much. The chicks seemed very settled too. The male arrived at 5:00 with the first meal of the day which the female takes from him and feeds to the chicks. The largest chick seems to be getting the priority feed with the smaller one getting a few morsels until it’s sibling is full, then the female concentrates on it. After 10 minutes, there is nothing left and she resumes incubation. She is struggling with them continually moving beneath her. The male is back at 6:45 with another meal and the female goes and sits on the ledge in the morning sun for a few minutes. The male starts to feed the chicks with small pieces of meat. The female returns to the box and watches him intently allowing him to feed them. She then tries to take the prey from him but he walks to the ledge and takes his prey with him before flying off! She resumes incubation. An hour later, she leaves the chicks but is back within a few minutes. The female goes to the ledge at 10:35 and returns after a few moments. She retrieves a prey item stashed by a column and feeds it to the chicks until there is nothing left and continues incubating. At 11:55, she leaves. Whilst she is away the larger chick stretches and flaps it’s wings. The female soon returns with a small prey item and feeds it to the chicks. They consume it in one sitting. The male arrives at 12:30 and she takes a large pigeon from him and starts to feed the chicks. She stashes the remains after 5 minutes and returns to brooding until 15:00 when she retrieves the pigeon and feeds the young again. A quick feed and she stashes the rest by the column. Ten minutes later, the male arrives and finds the prey. He stands in front of the brooding female and eats it. It takes him almost 20 minutes to finish it off. He does not offer any to the female or the chicks! At 15:55, the female starts to rearrange some of the stones around the scrape and at 16:55 manages to get a 15 minute sleep along with the chicks. At 18:30, the female finds a piece of meat that had been lost amount the stones. She feeds it to the chicks but it doesn’t last long. At 19:00, the female leaves as the male arrives. He looks for scraps of food in the box, but can’t find any. He leaves a few minutes later and returns after 5 minutes to cover the chicks. The female returns also empty-handed at 19:30 and the male departs. He has still not returned by 20:30 and the female leaves, no doubt in an effort to obtain the final meal for the day. She is soon back with nothing and covers the chicks. Eventually, at 20:40 the male arrives with a Starling. The male starts to feed the young but they are just out of reach. For the first time the largest of the 2 chicks walks to the edge of the scrape and reaches out and is being fed. The female then feeds the other chick as she stands next to the male. She tries to relieve him of some of the prey but he refuses. She leaves and he feeds both young. The largest chick makes another adventure around the scrape and settles down. There is nothing left after 15 minutes and both chicks are sleepy. The largest chick walks towards the male and puts it’s head underneath his wing – there is no room for the other. The female arrives back at 21:05 to take over incubation duties. She settles down for the night and falls asleep at 22:30.

16 May – The female does not get much sleep as the chicks are quite active and do not settle under her wing. At 2:20, she walks to the ledge for a few moments before returning to cover the chicks. She manages to get a bit of sleep between 3:00 and 4:30 but even then, the chicks were moving around. The male brings in the first meal of the day, a Starling, at 6;00. He wants to feed the chicks but the female will not let him so he takes the item to the ledge. The female watches him intently as the chicks call from beneath her. At 6:10 she leaves the young and goes to the ledge but returns empty-handed – the male must have flown off. She incubates the chicks. The male returns eventually at 7:25 with the Starling. He presents it to the female but takes it away from her, turning his back on her. He then starts to tear small pieces and tries to feed the chicks. The female is not letting this happen and once again there is a battle of wills and she takes the prey from him after a short struggle. The chicks are hungry and calling as they are being fed. There is a strong wind this morning. After a 5 minute feed she takes the remains away. Whilst she is gone, the male returns to cover the young. The female is back after 10 minutes to take over until 8:55 when she goes to the ledge calling, returning a few moments later to continue sheltering the young from the wind. Her feathers are getting quite ruffled but she keeps the chicks close to her. At 10:50, she goes to the ledge and retrieves some food which she feeds to the hungry chicks that are very vocal as they are being fed. Ten minutes and they are full. The female takes what is left out of the box and returns to shelter the young. She covers them as best possible keeping them tightly under her wings. The male arrives at 13:15 and drops off an offering which the female accepts and feeds to the chicks. Five minutes later, there is nothing left and she continues to protect them from the gusting winds. The male is back at 14:10 and drops off another small offering. The female removes what is left after 5 minutes. Whilst she is away, the male comes into the box and immediately stands over the chicks sheltering them from the winds. However, the female is back with the prey after a few minutes and he leaves. She stashes the prey and resumes brooding. At 17:05, she retrieved a piece a prey stashed by a column and feeds that to the young. Ten minutes later there was nothing left and the female departed returning a few minutes later to continue incubation. At 17:35, the male arrives with an item of prey and starts to feed the young under the watchful eye of the female whilst she continued to shield them from the wind. After a few minutes, she takes over and he leaves. The crop on the largest of the 2 chicks is bulging and it’s wings have grown noticeably. When they are full she stashes the remains by a column and resumes brooding. At 19:10, the female leaves and returns quickly with a Feral Pigeon that must have been stashed. Despite the fact that the larger of the two chicks still has a large crop, they eat voraciously. After just a few minutes, the male arrives and finds a stashed item by the column and tries to feed it to the chicks. They are focussed on the female and so he tries to take the meal away from her but is scolded. He leaves his meal and takes off. Within 10 minutes, both young are full and the female takes the remains away and returns a few minutes later. She spots the prey left by the male and stashes it by a column. She feeds them with a few morsels found lying about and then incubates. The wind is still blowing but not quite as strong. She settles down for the night.

15 May – The chicks are quite active through the night, moving about beneath the female as she tries to sleep. At 4:35 she is awake and goes to the ledge calling before returning to the chicks and resumes incubation. The male arrives at 5:35 with another Starling, shows it to the female and takes it to the ledge where he starts to eat it. The female snatches a small piece from him and takes it to feed the chicks. The male approaches with the rest of the meal and starts to feed the young. After managing to give them a few pieces each, the female takes the prey from him. He resists trying to hold onto it but she is too strong for him and she wins. She continues to feed the young. After 5 minutes she take the remains and leaves the box. Whilst she is gone, the male arrives and stands over the chicks. He attempts to incubate them and after some time, manages to get them under his wings. They gradually squeeze their way from beneath him and he ends up partially covering them. At 7:00, he leaves and returns with the remains of the earlier part-eaten Starling which he feeds to the chicks. The finish the meal completely. He partially covers the chicks as they sleep. He leaves at 7:20 when the female returns. She incubates the 2 chicks with the egg outside of the group. After a few moments she stretches out her wing and drags the egg into the incubation area. At 7:55 the male returns with fresh prey which he gives to the female. who feeds the chicks. After 5 minutes she removes the remains and leaves the chicks. The larger of the 2 can be seen preening it’s downy feathers and feet. The female is back at 8:05 and resumes brooding. The male arrives with a fresh Starling but leaves immediately with it. At 10:35 the female leaves. The male arrives at 10:50 and goes to brood the young but before he can cover them the female is back and he is ousted. She incubates the young. At 12:10 she leaves but returns quickly with a piece of stashed prey which she feeds to the chicks. They are now pecking at her break and taking the bits of meat rather than just opening their mouths to be fed. At 12:15, the male arrives with another Starling. He stands with it next to the female who is still feeding the young. He looks as if he wants to feed them but suddenly drops the prey and scuttles out of the box. When there is nothing left of the original item the female picks up the male’s offerings and leaves with it. Whilst she is away the male returns and finds a piece of food lying around and feeds that to the young. He then stands over them in an attempt to brood them. As he tries to sleep, the chicks are restless below him.  He leaves at 14:00 to be replaced by the female who also finds a small piece of food lying around and feeds it to the chicks. She leaves the box for a few minutes and returns with a fresh Starling which she feeds to the young. They eat the whole bird in one sitting and the female then broods them. At 14:40 the male arrives with a partially eaten Starling and proceeds to eat it in front of the brooding female. He moves closer to the female and attempts to feed the young who are under her wings. She watches closely as he does so – both adults calling. He feeds himself and one of the chicks whilst the female takes a small morsel or two from him. When most of it has gone, he takes it to the ledge to continue eating returning after a few minutes with the scraps. He finally leaves with just the head remaining whilst the female returns to incubating the chicks. She leaves them at 15:45 flying off. Whilst she is away, the male returns with the remains of the Starling that he removed earlier and feeds tiny pieces to the chicks. There is nothing left by 15:55 and he leaves. He returns at 16:10 and broods the chicks. They wriggle around beneath him. At 17:40 he leaves and is replaced by the female at 17:55. She finds a small piece of food lying around and feeds that to the chicks. There is not much left so she flies off returning after a few minutes with the remains of a pigeon that must have been stashed. She feeds then young, stashes it by the column and then broods the chicks. At 20:00 the male sneaks in and retrieves the stashed piece but before he could get away with it, the female has taken it back from him and feeds it to the young. After a long feed of 20 minutes there is nothing left and she settles down for the evening. The chicks are quite active and she is unable to cover them fully before midnight.

14 May – The female retained the same position throughout the night until 5:30 when the male arrived at the ledge and then left. The female went to the ledge and also flew off. Five minutes later the male arrived with breakfast and started feeding the chicks. He was soon interrupted by the female who snatched the pigeon from him and he made his retreat. She continued to feed the young. They were full by 5:50 and she stashes the remains and starts brooding, protecting the  young from the direct early morning sun. At 7:20, the male arrives and goes into the box and finds the piece that was stashed by the female. He takes it to the ledge and starts eating it. The female leaves the chicks, goes to the ledge and takes the prey from the male and feeds it to the chicks. The male flies off. After the young have finished eating, the female continues with the brooding. At 9:40, the female leaves the chicks for a few minutes then returns to brooding. At 10:00, the male brings in another Starling. He picks a few small pieces off to try and feed the chicks but the female will not allow it. He leaves with the food and she goes back to brooding. Three hours later, he is back with the food and she takes it from him and feeds the chicks who consume the whole meal. He is back at 14:00 with a small piece of food which he eats himself in front of the female! At 14:20, she leaves and the male arrives 10 minutes later. He finds a small scrap of food left around and eats some himself and feeds some to the chicks. When there is nothing left, he stands over the chicks sheltering them. He then makes a half-hearted attempt to incubate them but they are now too big for him to cover fully. He is allowed to be with the young for quite some time as it is not until 15:45 that the female returns and he makes a quick exit. She finds the head of Starling that was consumed earlier and feeds small pieces to the chicks. However, after trying to give the beak to one chick she takes it back and eats it herself. Nothing is wasted. For the first time, she consciously moves the remaining egg away from the chicks and finds more small morsels that are lying around before eventually brooding the chicks. At 15:55, the male brings in (you’ve guessed it) another Starling which he tries to feed to the young but is relieved of it by the female and he departs. She stashes the remains by the column. At 16:05, the male approaches the chicks but is deterred by the female. During the feeding of the young, the egg is returned to where the chicks are and she incubates them all. At 17:40 she retrieves the stash which she feeds on herself. She allows the chicks to peck at the prey in their first attempt to feed themselves. She feeds small pieces to the chicks and when there is nothing left she broods once more. The final feed for the day arrives at 19:50 when the male brings in an item of prey – another Starling. She feed the chicks for a few minutes, stashes the remains then settles down for the night. The young are quite restless and she doesn’t get any sleep until 23:00.

13 May – Another good night’s rest with no interruptions until 4:40 when the male arrived. He attempted to take over incubation whilst the female was away but she was back before he had even settled down and he left. She resumed incubation and an hour later the male returned with the first meal of the day, yet another Starling. After feeding for 5 minutes, she removes the prey and resumes incubation. At 6:55, the chicks are calling hungrily. She goes to the ledge and returns with the remains of the early morning meal and feeds the young. After five minutes, she removes what is left. Whilst away, the male comes into the box and starts to brood the chicks but only until the female’s return just 5 minutes later. At 8:25, the female calls from the back of the box, walks to the ledge and calls again and leaves. The male arrives with the remnants of the same meal and starts to feed the chicks. The female returns with her own offering at 8:40 and the male quickly disappears with his prey. As the young are full she eats it herself offering the occasional piece to the chicks who refuse to open their beaks. She starts calling loudly and both young sit up and take a few bits from her before falling asleep. She stashes the prey by the column. She returns to it at 9:55 and feeds the chicks for 10 minutes. At 12:05, the female goes to the ledge calling. The male comes into the box calling and looks around the box for food. He looks by one column but not the correct one. He stands over the chicks for a few minutes then leaves. The female returns with another meal which she feeds to the chicks before resuming incubation. At 15:35 she goes to the ledge and calls and leaves. At 15:50, the male arrives, looks around the box, calls and leaves. He is back at 16:00, looks around the box, stands over chicks then leaves. The female is back at 16:10 and broods the young until 17:15 returning at 17:35 with a meal for the calling chicks – another Starling. After 10 minutes there is nothing left so she starts brooding. At 18:05, the male returns with a Feral Pigeon which the female accepts and drags into the box. The chicks don’t look particularly interested so she removes it to the ledge where she starts calling. She flies off with it and the male comes into the box and broods the young for a few minutes until the female returns. At 19:05, she leaves the chicks, flies off and returns with the pigeon 10 minutes later and after a 10 minute feed, leaves with the remains. She returns to brood. She is interrupted at 19:55 by the male bringing in the remains of the pigeon which she feeds to the chicks and resumes incubation at 20:05. She settles down for the night.

12 May – After an incubation session of over 9 hours, the male arrives at 5:00 and replaces the female, who leaves the box. He looks around for food and goes to the ledge but the female returns quickly with a small piece left over from a previous meal and feeds it to the chicks. After a 10 minute feed she removes what little is left. Whilst she is gone, the male returns, finds a few morsels lying around and tries to feed the chicks who are full and not interested so he starts to brood them but after just a few minutes the female is back and he retreats. He returns again with food at 7:30 which the female takes to feed the chicks. After 10 minutes, she stashes the remains by a column before resuming brooding. The male returns at 9:15 and takes the stashed item and eats it on the ledge whilst the female looks on. She walks over to the male and relieves him of the food and takes it to the chicks to feed them. When they have finished, she takes a few pieces for herself then removes the remains. Again, whilst she is away, the male comes into the box and looks for food by the column but there isn’t any. He checks the rest of the box but is interrupted by the return of the female and he leaves whilst she resumes brooding. At 10:30 the female receives a new item of prey from the male. She feeds the chicks and removes the remains. Cue the male entering from stage right. He looks around the box for food, can’t find any so broods the young for a few minutes before being ousted by the female. However, just two minutes later he is back with a fresh piece of prey, walks up to the brooding female who tries to take it from him. He refuses to let go and a short tug-of-war ensues. Surprisingly, the male wins out and takes the prey with him but returns a few moments later and gives the female the food. As the young are pretty much full she eats most of it herself offering the occasional piece to the chicks if they look interested. When she has finished she continues brooding. At 12:50 she leaves and the male enters the box, looks around and leaves. The female returns and starts to brood. Another meal is brought in just 20 minutes later. The female taking the item from the male and feeding the chicks – they are being very well fed! After 5 minutes she stashes the remains by the column and returns to brood the young. The male is back with another Starling 30 minutes later which he offers the female but she refuses and he takes it away. At 16:25, the female retrieves the stashed item from the column and feeds the chicks. After 10 minutes they are full and she takes what remains to the ledge returning to brood the young. An hour later she goes to the ledge and returns to the young who are begging. She returns to brood them but they continue to call. She returns to the ledge and can be heard calling before she is back with the young. At 18:50 the male presents a small item of prey and the female feeds that to the chicks. Twenty minutes later he is back with a slightly large piece of food and the female also feeds the chicks. She stops feeding after 10 minutes and takes the remains away. Whilst she is gone the male comes in to brood. But after just a few minutes he is replaced by the female. He is trying hard but she is very protective! She settles down for the night and hardly moves for the next 5 hours.

11 May – After settling down for over 4 hours, the female finds a small piece of food and feeds the chicks at 20 past midnight. Some 10 minutes later they are back under her wings where they remain until 4:40 when the female goes to the ledge for a few minutes and returns to continue incubation. She was not calling on the ledge so presumably not asking the male to fetch food but just 10 minutes later he arrives with what looks to be a Dunlin. The female feeds this to the young then removes the remains. Whilst she is away, the male takes over duties but less than 2 minutes later she is back and forces him out. It is a very windy morning and she keeps the chicks well covered until 7:30 when the male arrives with another prey item which she feeds to the young calling as she does so. They feed quickly and after just 5 minutes both are full and fall asleep. The female leaves with the remains and whilst she is away, the male returns with the head of a Starling which was part of a meal from the previous day. He tries to feed bits of what is left of it to the chicks but they are disinterested, preferring to sleep. The female is soon back and just as he tries to brood the young he is pushed out. At 9:20, he returns with more prey, what looks to be the remains of the earlier Dunlin, and she feeds it to the chicks. When they are full she finishes off the meal herself then continues incubation. At 11:55 she goes to the ledge but is back incubating after a few minutes only to visit the ledge again at 12:05 for another 5 minutes. At 12:55, she walks to the ledge calling loudly. That must have been a signal for the male as within a minute he brings more food, what looks like another partially eaten item from the previous day. After feeding the young, she leaves with the remains and the male arrives. He immediately goes to brood the chicks but 10 minutes later she is back to take over. For the next 90 minutes she barely moves but at 14:50 she goes to the ledge calling then leaves. The male tries to take over brooding however, she is soon back with another Starling for the chicks. He makes a hasty retreat. When they are finished she stashes the remains between the columns but as soon as her back is turned, the male pinches it and departs. He tries to present it to her 5 minutes later but she is unmoved. He is back at 16:00 with the same Starling and delicately picks off small pieces and feeds them to the female. This is the first time I have noticed this behaviour in these two birds. The tenderness doesn’t last long though and she snatches the prey from him and feeds the young. At 18:00 she leaves the box, the male taking over. He feeds the remnants of the Starling to the chicks but the female is soon back and forces him out. At 19:00 she leaves the chicks for 5 minutes before resuming brooding. At 19:25, the male arrives with a large unidentifiable item of prey and the female feeds it to the chicks. She stashes it by the column and the male arrives. She leaves, he goes to the column and checks the stash, then goes to the chicks and broods them. The female returns at 19:45 to take over. She settles down for the night. She doesn’t move position for the next 4 hours.

10 May – Another settled night with plenty of sleep. No early morning feed this time, all the way through until 4:55 when the female left calling to be replaced by the male. The young, huddled together were calling strongly. The female returns after 15 minutes but no food. The male departs. He returns with a small prey item at 5:40 and gives it to the female who feeds the chicks. Five minutes later they are full and fall asleep. At 6:55 the male arrives with another item of prey which is taken by the female and fed to the chicks. By 7:00 they are well fed and she stashes the remains before continuing to brood. He returns with more food at 8:10 and the female feeds it to the hungry chicks calling as she does so. At 8:15 she flies off with the remains. Whilst she is gone, the male arrives and finds the stashed item from the previous meal. He takes it to the chicks and starts feeding them, obviously unaware that they have already been fed. Only the smallest of the two is interested. The male also calls to the young as he feeds them. After 10 minutes he leaves as the female returns to brood. She departs at 10:25 and the male arrives looking around for food but before he is able to do anything, the female returns and he exits. At 10:55 she goes to the ledge for a few moments before returning to incubate the chicks. At 11:45 she leaves once again and returns with a prey item at 11:50 and proceeds to feed the chicks, both eating well. When they are finished, she removes the food before continuing with brooding. She settles down for the next 90 minutes until the male arrives with another prey item, a Starling, and offers it to the female. She refuses and he takes it to the ledge where he feeds on it. Five minutes later he again offers it to the female and once again she refuses. If a male Peregrine could look crest-fallen and rejected then he did! But being the dutiful father that he is, he tries again at 14:00 – success, the female takes the prey and feeds the young. After 5 minutes, she leaves with the remnants and the male tries to take over brooding duties. He is thwarted by the return of the female and wisely he gives way. At 16:30 she leaves, the male enters the box and looks around for food – there is none. He leaves and the female arrives with a fresh meal. After feeding for 10 minutes she finishes the item off herself. An hour later, the male arrives with food. Once again, the female refuses his offering and so he eats it in full view of the female! After 5 minutes of watching him she snatches the remains from under him and he makes a hasty retreat. She feeds the few morsels that are left to the chicks. At 19:20 the female leaves and the male arrives. The chicks are food begging but he doesn’t have any. He looks around but can’t see the stash and leaves. A few moments later, the female arrives with a small parcel of food which she  feeds to the young. She covers the chicks after they have fed. The male arrives at 19:45 with food that he gives to the female. She accepts it and feeds the chicks although only one is really interested the other resting on the remaining egg whilst sleeping. The female eventually finishes the item off and then covers the chicks, settling down for the night. There is no more activity until midnight at least.

9 May – The female slept well through the night hardly moving until 1:30 when she fetched a small piece of stashed prey to feed the chicks. After 10 minutes they are full and incubation is resumed. However, just 30 minutes later a another short feeding bout is undertaken. Whilst the female gets some good sleep, the chicks can be seen to be moving around under her body. At 5:10 she feeds the young with what remains of the prey she found earlier in the evening, then continues incubation. The male arrives at 6:05 with a prey item, a Starling, which he presents to the female. She calls to him and he takes it away. He returns at 7:20 with the same item which the female accepts and starts to feed the chicks taking the occasional large piece for herself. She seems to know instinctively when they are full because after 10 minutes she stashes the prey and returns to brood the young. At 9:45 she leaves the chicks. The male arrives with a prey item at 9:55. It was noted from the Watch Point below that during this time the nest was unprotected with both birds out. He starts to feed the chicks but the female arrives. He quickly backs away and leaves with the food. She finds a few morsels remaining from the previous meal and feeds that to the chicks. He is back 10 minutes later and gives the food to the female who feeds it to the young. After the usual 10 minutes, feeding is finished and brooding resumes. At 11:15 she retrieves the stash and gives the chicks another quick feed. At 12:25 she leaves the young and is replaced by the male. Both chicks are sleeping and he covers them loosely. The female returns at 12:35. The male comes into the box at 15:00 calling, looks in all the usual stash areas and leaves. The female retrieves a large item of prey (a Feral Pigeon) from him 10 minutes later, feeds the young and then takes it out of the box, the male on incubation duties for the five minutes she was away. At 16:45, she leaves and is replaced by the male. She returns after 5 minutes with what looks like the remains of the previous prey item, feeds the young then leaves with all but a wing that inadvertently covers the chicks and the remaining egg. The male arrives and incubates the chicks, the egg and the Pigeon wing! She returns at 17:00, removes the wing and plucks and eats what little meat there is on it whilst the chicks sleep. When the young do awake, she feeds them small pieces calling as she does so. The male is back with more food at 17:40 but feeds himself, leaving with the remains after 10 minutes. However, he is back with what looks like the remnants of his meal at 18:55 and gives it to the female who feeds the chicks. They must be well fed as they don’t look particularly interested and are not calling. The female taps their beaks to try and stimulate feeding. It is hard work but she is persistent and makes them eat for 5 minutes, then leaves. The male arrives, picks up a large wing feather and plucks at it, tries to feed it to the disinterested chicks and so broods them instead. The female takes over at 19:10. After an hour the male brings in some prey which he gives to the female who feeds the young after which the evening incubation session starts. She remains incubating in the same position for the next 4 hours at least.

8 May – The female continued to sleep and incubate hardly moving position until 4:55 when the male arrives. She retrieves a piece of stashed prey and begins to feed the chicks. The male watches for a few moments and then departs. At 5:05, she finishes feeding and goes onto the ledge and although the male comes in and attempts to incubate the chicks the female chases his off. She incubates for the next 90 minutes, resting on her wings so that the full weight of her body does not crush the chicks. At 6:35, she flies off only to return a few moments later with a small prey item – received in a food pass from the male perhaps? She feeds the chicks and stashes the remains before continuing incubation. At 8:30 she leaves the nest again, the chicks dozing on the remaining egg, but returns after a few minutes. Ten minutes later she leaves and the male brings in an item of food and feeds the chicks – he seems to be getting the hang of this but after five minutes is replaced by the female. The eldest chick is full and dozes off whilst the younger one continues to be fed eventually flopping onto it’s sibling and falling asleep – full. The female proceeds to incubate or more likely shade them and the remaining egg, from the sun. The male arrives at 9:55 but the female is reluctant to give up incubation duties and so the male sits on the ledge, occasionally preening. He enters the box at 11:00 looking for some of the stashed items but cannot find any and leaves. At 11:35 the female leaves the box, the male returning still looking for stashed prey –  the young can be heard calling. He eventually incubates them leaving after half an hour when the female returns. At 12:50 the male is back and again looks around the box for any stashed items. The female approaches him and they are very vocal whilst the young food beg. She leaves and he walks around the box looking in every previous stash hole but finds nothing. He starts to incubate and check around the box every so often. At 13:30 he leaves to be replaced by the female. After an hour she leaves – the chicks are begging. The male is back at 14:45 but without any food – again! He walks around the box then onto the ledge and into the box again and starts incubating. The female is back at 15:20 without food and the male leaves as she takes over incubation. The male returns briefly at 16:15 and after she leaves he returns and walks around the box whilst the chicks beg. The female is back at 17:00 but still no food for the young. She replaces him incubating. At 18:25, the male returns with a large item of prey which the female grabs from him. Accidentally, she leans the wing of what looks like a Woodpigeon onto the smallest chick and he is buried below it and can’t get his head up to feed. The eldest sibling is being well fed with the female only seeing one mouth. Eventually the smallest chick manages to wriggle free and is fed whilst the other chick falls asleep. After feeding, the remnants are stashed in-between the columns by the female before she continues incubating. At 20:15, the male nips in and steals the stashed Woodpigeon. The female goes to look for it at 20:50 but it has gone!  By 22:00 she falls asleep and does not move until at least midnight.

7 May – The female continued to incubate through the night, occasionally getting the briefest of naps. At 4:45 the female goes to the ledge and starts calling. After a few minutes she is replaced by the male who searches for some hidden prey. However, it is the female who returns with an early breakfast for the begging chick. The male remains on the ledge calling. After 5 minutes of feeding she removes the food from the nesting area and returns to continue incubation. At 8:55 the male returns with food, shows it to the female and leaves, the female continuing incubation. She sits tight for over two hours occasionally moving a few stones in her ‘displacement’, tidying-up actions. At 11:20, she searches the platform for a piece of stashed prey but there was none. There appears to be movement in one of the remaining eggs! She resumes incubation. The male arrives with food at 11:55, the female taking it from him and the chick can be seen and heard begging for food. The female obliges tearing small morsels off and feeding delicately. After just 5 minutes, the chick is well fed and the female removes the prey and stashes it by a column before continuing her incubating. The male arrives at 12:45 calling and steals the stashed prey – he may be just clearing up! The chick occasionally pops from under the female’s breast. At 14:30 the male returns and checks the stash area and seems surprised that the food had gone. He calls and postures with the female before leaving. The chick is calling and there appears to be more movement from one of the remaining eggs. At 14:50, the female retrieves some prey from the male and returns to feed the chick. A hole can be seen in one of the eggs and movement inside. The female calls loudly to the chick whilst feeding it – presumably to generate a bond with the young. Five minutes later the chick is full and the female returns to incubation. Just before 15:15 a second chick can be seen emerging from the egg the mother helping to remove the shell. She eats part of the shell before tossing it aside. A new arrival, she is now the proud mother to two young Peregrines.

 

The chick hatching and a close-up of the chick hatching.

At 16:35 the female finds a small piece of stashed prey and starts to feed the chicks. The first meal for the new chick arriving much sooner than it did for it’s sibling two days earlier! At 16:45 she takes the remnants of the food to the ledge and the two chicks literally fall asleep. She resumes incubation. At 17:00 the female is calling to the male who is sitting on the ledge. He comes into the box but she chases him out returning to incubation until 17:30 when she leaves the chicks. The male approaches the chicks with some food and they are begging but he stands too far away and he can’t reach their beaks. The female returns and incubates whilst the male runs off with the food. For the next 90 minutes, the female stands over the chicks whilst preening before hunkering down at 19:00. She goes to the ledge and calls 10 minutes later then returns to the chicks. After 5 minutes she looks at one of the stash points by the columns for food but there is none. She leaves at 19:20 to be replaced by the male (without food) and he incubates the two young. The female is back to incubate at 19:35 and the male leaves returning after a few minutes with some food which he gives to the female who feeds it to the chicks, calling loudly as she does so. Ten minutes later they are fed, sleeping and being incubated. For the next three hours and more she hardly moves position, just occasionally preening. At 22:15 she falls asleep properly, the first time for two days.

6 May – The female continues to incubate and eat the remains of a piece of shell. Rather than hunkering down low as previous, she can be seen to be leaning much more on the folded wing raising her slightly higher than normal. There are also small chips that can be heard. She is restless and moving constantly. At about 1:30 a small blob of fluff can be seen at the breast of the female – confirmation of the first chick hatching. The female is not getting much sleep tonight! At about 4:20 the female can be heard calling incessantly. This is around the time the male would normally relieve her of incubation duties but there was no response. The begging chick can also be heard.  At 5:55, the female leaves the chick and stands on the platform ledge calling loudly. Still no response from the male! The chick is begging to be fed resting itself on the 2 remaining eggs. The female returns to incubation duties. At 7:10, the shadow of the male can be seen on the ledge and the female calls to him. She approaches the male calling and he flies off. The chick continues to food beg. At 8:30 the male goes to the back of the box and sees the chick for the first time – he has not brought any food! The female flies off. He approaches the begging chick and eventually broods the chick and the 2 eggs. At 9:00 the female returns but also without any food. She replaces the male incubating. Finally at 9:15 the male returns with a small prey item, gives it to the female who tears it into small pieces and feeds it to the chick for it’s first meal. After just 10 minutes, the chick has had enough and the female stores the remains. She broods the well-fed chick. An hour later she retrieves some of the stored prey and the chick has a second feed but has had enough after 10 minutes and incubation resumes. At 13:25, the female leaves as the male arrives with an item of prey. However, rather than feed it to the chick, he proceeds to eat it himself. He leaves as the female returns with a fully plucked item (probably from a cache) and feeds the chick incubating afterwards.  At 15:30 she leaves as the male returns and takes over incubation. He soon notices some remains of prey stashed beside a column and ignores his duties taking the prey to the edge of the platform to feed whilst the chick begs for food! He returns after a few minutes and starts to feed the chick – result. At 15:50 the female returns, the male leaves and she continues incubation continually preening as she does so. At 17:30 she goes to the edge of the platform but soon returns to continue incubation. At 18:25, the female retrieves some prey from the male and starts to feed the chick. After 5 minutes the chick is full and sleepy and the female feeds herself before continuing incubation. At 19:30 the female leaves as the male arrives but she is soon back to relieve him for the night. By 21:00, there does not appear to be any sign of hatching from the 2 remaining eggs. The female was very attentive through the night and didn’t get any sleep up to at least midnight.

5 May – The female is incubating the 3 remaining eggs after the first hatchling was seen to be dead inside the shell. At 22:50 she is seen to remove a piece of shell from beneath her body. The shell looks clean and well formed and although it cannot be seen, a chick was suspected of having hatched. She proceeds to eat the shell remains over the next hour or so.

5 May – Latest News: You will notice that there are currently only 3 eggs being incubated. At approx 5:30 this morning the shell of the fourth egg was seen to be crazed and have a dead chick inside. Over the next couple of hours the female disposed of the chick by eating both it and most of the shell. Recycling the nutrients in this manner usually happens in these events. This is a disappointment for the birds and all our viewers. Although the 3 remaining eggs appear intact, 2 show signs of pipping, which in theory should be the start of the chick hatching but the timing seems out of sync. I will update the blog later in the day. May 5th was the day when the first hatching was anticipated.

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