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Sunday, 4 November 2012

Breeding and ringing returns

With Christmas fast approaching thoughts are again turning to breeding on the established sites, this involves getting nest boxes/trays cleant out and substrate replaced.
With the peregrines licencing period starting as early as February, I usually get all the sites ready in January as they start pair bonding as early as February, like most things much depends on the weather.

Peregrines are not house proud; as the boxes have a roof they are not ‘naturally’ flushed out by winter storms and extreme weather. Juveniles ‘guanoing’ and prey remains inside the box means that all boxes, if accessible have to be clean out. If not it encourages parasites in, I try to leave it as late as possible just in case they are stashing prey in the box.

Before and after

This year 14 juvenile’s carry an orange ring for London on their left leg along with the standard BTO ring on the right. So far this year there have not been any sightings as far as I am aware of the juveniles, the rings can be hard to see but I had hoped with this number, sightings would have occurred.

Where do they go?
Will they leave London?
How far will they travel out of London?
As there natal sites are urban areas, will they automatically seek other urban and not rural areas?

A lot of questions and not helped by the fact that other City’s/Towns are also using orange in England, plans are now afoot in 2013 for London to have its own colour range.

Lack of sighting returns so far is likely down to the fact that peregrines have relatively short legs and ‘feathered trousers’, when perched they are not always on view. Additionally 1st winter mortality rate is around 30%, some will not make it, much depends on how efficient they are at hunting and the lessons learned from the adults.
Having said that, I believe the percentage figure has to be lower in London, if they stay, due to the shear density of prey, Feral Pigeons and Starlings etc.

A ringed juvenile on Parliament

Hopefully some will show up over the winter and in 2013, my hope is that ringed Tiercels and Falcons will eventually pair up from different sites, and in the near future eventually breed.

The Falcon still remains on her own after the Tiercel was killed on September 7th (see Casualty of the Chase) as yet no sign of another Tiercel; I am hoping that one of the ringed Tiercels will find her.

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