Monday 9 June 2014

Peregrines 2014 - fledging drama

What a drama!!  The peregrines on Quadrant House didn't nest last year but they have returned with a vengeance this year and produced four healthy chicks.

Fledging from such a high building is always fraught owing to the sheer sides of the main building. In the wild, on a cliff, youngsters flying for the first time might lose height but still be able to land on a ledge lower down and perhaps clamber back to the nest. Quadrant House is unforgiving and some chicks fall to the ground where they may be run over or predated.

This year, three of the chicks appear to have fledged without too much difficulty but No. 4 has had us all with our hearts in our mouths.

Last night he threw himself off in a show of bravado, completed a short circuit, lost height, tried again, lost more height and ended up clinging to the face of the block, fighting with the wires intended to stop birds perching.

Showing the chick, twelve floors up but eight floors below his dad!
Fighting the anti-bird wires

He tried to go up:
Not much success going up, so. . . ..

but fell lower and clung to the pebbledashing by his talons:
. . . . he loses height, but manages . . . .
. . . .to cling to the sheer side by his talons. Then, he manages . . .

. . . to claw his way back up to the wires . . .
. . where it was clear he was going to stay for the night.

Jane, one of the most stalwart volunteers decided to return at first light to see if he had survived the night.

Jane arrived at 04.00 and was pleased to see that the chick had survived. I arrived at 04.35 and was similarly heartened.

At 05.30, we looked up and the chick was gone. Over the next few hours he flew several times to different faces of the building, eventually ending up a few floors below where he had started. He later flew to the roof of a low building nearby, where he stayed for most of the day, at one point fighting off angry magpies and crows. When I returned later in the day I was able to admire this magnificent bird in all its beauty from relatively close quarters.

Sutton chick No. 4

This evening he flew again but is spending another night in the thundery rain. He hasn't eaten for over 24 hours and today's efforts must have weakened him. We don't yet know if he will survive another night. I do hope so!

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