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Friday, 20 June 2014

Latest on Breeding

From the information I am gleaning from the rest of the country, it appears not to have been such a productive year in 2014, particularly in the historically persecuted areas up north and above.

Without doubt it is easier protecting them in London where you can secure buildings/structures and can ‘manage’ them easier, albeit less at fledging time.

Make no mistake urban peregrines due to the Schedule 1 have to be managed, it is all about forming a good relationship with the Building/Structure owners before and after the licence period of February 1st too around the end of June/mid July in London.
I am very lucky that in all the people I work/liaise with are good helpful people and safeguard the birds and will make sure they are not disturbed, I know at times it can be very difficult and not easy for them when they need roof access.

Thanks go to them all for without there co operation and good will, their respective pairs wouldn't achieve half the success attained over the years in successful breeding and fledging.

Adult female and juvenile male showing size and plumage difference

This year of the 10 pairs that I keep an eye on and monitor 9 pairs have been successful and have produced 25 juveniles, just under 3 a pair so a good return for all those concerned for their hard work.

Flooded Site

The success story this year along with Battersea Power Station has been the Flooded out site, this gave me a lot of pleasure, not so much at the time when the nest site was under 8 inches of water and the pair simply disappeared, I thought that was it.

As the site was on CCTV I was watching constantly as were others, the pair did return and glad to say that successful breeding took place and 3 juveniles, 2 females and a male fledged.

Completely flooded - Tray just visible with last years egg now turned white in the water

Cleared with old egg on Tray - the tray is now 9 years old, time for a new one

June 17th - all 3 fledged and flying strongly coming together pre -  roost


June 17th - all 3 at roost

As per usual with urban peregrines it was not straightforward and one grounded, a good system was in place with staff and I got her back up.

Scaffold Nest Box site

After last year’s success I was hoping more of the same but unfortunately not to be, this is the one failure of the year, no reason, she was incubating, perhaps a fertility issue?
I photographed her in Mid April sitting tight, obviously incubating and then made quite a few subsequent visits in early to mid May. She was incubating still right up to May 16th but kept getting up; I also noted her leaving the box unattended.

Realising that there were likely no chicks I kept monitoring before deciding to go up there to check for unhatched eggs, not surprisingly the nest box was empty.

Scaffold Nest Box - empty

I suspect that she may have eaten them when they failed to hatch; it is easy to read more into it but this site is pretty impregnable.

There will be failures, this is a natural process, it may well be that one of them is getting a little long in the tooth, whichever bird it is I will keep an eye open for any change in adults.

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