It has been an action-packed few weeks for the NTU peregrine falcon chicks. After spending a week in Dartmoor (me, not the chicks) with little internet access, I returned on May 26th to discover that all four were out of the nest and exploring the surrounding ledge. Most of their down had been replaced by stunning feathers and they were looking truly beautiful and elegant.
They have since been feeding themselves, flapping their wings, spending more time on their own and out of sight of the cameras, but on June 1st camera one captured something extremely dramatic (and a little bit funny if you keep watching it) which you can view in slow motion here.
As you can see, one of the chicks attempted to fly and ended up crashing into its mother causing them to tumble off the edge of the building! Luckily both were fine and the chick landed on a lower ledge. As the chick had not properly fledged and was unable to fly, it could not return to the nest, however it has been reported that the adults have continued to feed it! Despite this, I (and I am sure many others) have been a little worried about the chick over the last few days in the rain and wind… and unfortunately I have some sad news. After following the peregrine falcons throughout the whole nesting cycle, it breaks my heart to announce that earlier today the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust reported that one of the chicks (I am not entirely sure whether it was the one on the lower ledge) had “been killed yesterday on the road below the ledge”. It is assumed that “it got blown off or lost control of a flight in the ferocious wind we have been experiencing”. Obviously this is a terrible shame as the four chicks were each doing brilliantly, but it is important to know and remember that less than a third of peregrines actually reach breeding age, so the family have still done very well. Those peregrines that do reach breeding age are expected to live for 6-13 years, but the oldest known peregrine was over 16 years old! So let’s keep our fingers crossed for the remaining three!
All stills taken from the NTU live stream.