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Sunday, 30 June 2013

A very busy week.

As much as I look forward to fledging time, it’s a double sided coin, at the same time I dread it, over the years I have managed to get many juveniles back up but lost just as many to disappearance, Foxes and the urban jungle.
Last week will definitely go down as a fledging time that didn’t go to plan, but ultimately turned out hugely satisfying by helping and placing 3 separate juveniles back with their respective adults or foster adults as was the case.

It all started with a member of the public, finding a grounded juvenile on an east London site, thankfully he got the bird to Sue at the South Essex Wildlife Hospital, they do an incredible job and rely on donations so if you want to help wildlife have a look at their website .I went to see the bird as it was from a brood of 3 that I have been watching on webcam and monitoring externally, for readers of the blog this was the site that failed last year due to Pirate Radio. Apart from a slightly damaged foot the bird was ok so after speaking to Sue a plan was formed to get it back to the adults asap as the foot was now getting better.

No 1
Unfortunately the 2 other juveniles had fledged and were flying well; additionally they had also along with the adults departed the nest building. Many pairs in London hold territory all year round on their nest structure/building, returning juveniles back up is not a problem, this pair do not, the adults breed on this building but as soon as the juveniles are able they all move to other favoured sites. Along with this I could not find them, I was also checking the web cam continuously and I knew they were not returning, my worry was that if I returned the juvenile they would not find it and it would grow weak and starve.

The next day while I was thinking off a solution and watching on another site where they have 4 juveniles, another mishap occurred.
While they were all aloft and practicing on each other one clipped a Power Line, fortunately a worker had seen it and gave me a call.
On arrival my worst fears looked confirmed as it appeared the juvenile had a broken wing so I approached him to get him in a box, he also looked wet. Rather surprisingly he flew low but I eventually cornered him and got him in the box, this was early morning. Arriving at the Hospital it thankfully showed that the wing was not broken but bruised; being a male he was lively and full of the usual attitude. I returned home as a plan was forming.

Only bruised but looks worse - No 2

That afternoon I received another call from yet another site, another juvenile was grounded and was being hounded by Magpies, the adults will protect them higher up but not usually on the ground unless it is an open area, this was definitely not. The juvenile was eventually retrieved and was taken again to South Essex Wildlife Hospital as it appeared weak; it was likely that this juvenile had been down for 2 days. This bird perked up at the Hospital after a feed and we discussed getting them back with the adults, the plan after some research and discussion was as follows.

No 3 

Put no 1 juvenile in with no 2 juvenile on the release so no 1 would have foster adults, this increased the brood size to 5 and there was less chance of the adults noticing with a large brood.
Put no 3 juvenile back with her adults as they hold territory to this building and I knew they would be there.
Before the release Sue at the Hospital put no 1 and no 2 together to get them used to each other and no 3 was kept on her own.

No's 1 and 2 together prior to release

You always have doubts in your head; will the adults accept the foster juvenile? Can it fly ok? Will they feed it? 

On the morning that I was to pick up the 3 juveniles I received yet another call, another peregrine was down, I knew where it was and in relation to local pairs I suspected that it could possibly be a Kestrel. As suspected it turned out to be a young Kestrel, unfortunately there was little chance to get it back to the nest so it had to come with me to the Hospital.

Young Kestrel

The release

Did it work? Better than I could have imagined, both no 1 and no 2 were released together onto a roof, both adults were present and flew round circling so they had visual contact with the juveniles. Since then I have seen the adult Tiercel feeding the foster juvenile, (foster juvenile is unringed) so a brilliant result not only for me but for all who were involved in this venture.

Little male - always feisty just about to be released

No 3 juvenile was another success story, I always like to release them when an adult is in visual range, as soon as I walked out on the roof the adult female saw me and consequently her juvenile, a quick release and I withdrew.

No 3 just about to be released

As I am just posting this I have come from both sites, all 3 juveniles are fully fledged and flying strongly, it is good to know that others and myself have made a difference.

A lot of people made all this possible and a big thanks go to Brian Peterson, Derry Kirrane and Abul Kalam.South Essex Wildlife Hospital were simply marvellous.

As I have said before in an ideal world I could name the sites, one day hopefully.