Recapping to some extent on previous reports of the beginnings of fledging at Bath Urban Peregrine Project.
Things were looking really good in Bath as we approached the time of fledging with St John’s basking in warm sunshine.
From Bath Cricket Club, the 2017 juveniles could be seen clearly in the nest box….
…..and even more so from the Riverside walk…..
….as they exercised their wings on the patio. In the warm sunshine it was looking good for a straightforward fledging in 2017. The beginnings of the process went well, and three peregrine chicks came out of the nest leaving PY (the baby of the brood) home alone. On 5 June at 07:50, female (blue ringed) PW had fledged early at 38 days from hatching. Had the weather remained sunny and warm this would not have been a problem, but it was turning stormy with high winds and driving rain. In essence, PW left the nest box and, “disappeared off of our radar.” Then on 5 June at 11:10, female PX early fledged, also at 38 days from hatching, but as the previous report recorded, at around 12:30 she was recovered in good condition but in driving rain from a Manvers Street roof having attracted the attention of the Bath Gulls.
PX, seen here, was returned to safe area on a large flat roof at St John’s church in full sight of adults with food.
In a very short time she was once again bounding around and looking good while drying out and exercising her wings. However, the weather took a turn for the worse overnight and a really intense storm passed through. On the morning of 6 June, PX was recovered from the ground in low condition after a very stormy night and was immediately transferred to the hospital at the International Centre for Birds of Prey. It is believed that in leaving the roof she landed heavily and she may have hurt her back. She is on a course of medication and it is understood that she should recover with rest. The plan is to release her at St John’s once she has been given the all clear.
On 6 June at approximately 16:30, female PW (above) came into view, was recovered from a particularly low roof on St John’s and was placed in a transportation container for release into the nest box the next day. Having fledged, she would normally have been left to find her own way back onto the main body of the church buildings, but in light of the weather conditions and her location, it was considered best that she was recovered and released to prevent the possibility of damage in the storms. Early on 7 June, PZ the single male of the brood fledged-ish onto the roof of nest box, leaving last hatched PY ‘home alone’. At 08:50: Female PW was returned to nest box where she immediately helped herself to some cached food and reacquainted herself with sibling PY. Around the same time, male PZ (now at 39 days from hatching) flew from St John’s, but despite extensive searches could not be located. At this stage we had PW and PY in the nest box together, PX receiving care/R&R at the International Centre for Birds of Prey, and PZ AWOL in Bath.
Early on the morning of 8 June, a call was put in to the Hawk and Owl Trust to the effect that there was a young peregrine in a residential road near ‘The Rec’, the Bath Rugby ground. On investigation, PZ was found to be standing up, bright as a button but clearly tired out as he put up only token resistance to being scooped up and settled in the warmth of a car (above) for the return journey to St John’s. As there were now two juveniles in the nest box, the returned PW and the apparently extremely sensible PY who had sat back and observed this sibling kerfuffle from the safety of the nest box, it was decided that it was in the best interests of PZ for him to be returned to the nest box.
When PZ was quietly and slowly returned to the nest box his siblings took very little notice, and for some time he stood in isolation at the back of the box.
After a number of hours, he started engaging with his two larger sisters……..
….he stood on the edge of the patio preening….
….and then quite simply fell out of the nest. We know the direction he subsequently flew in because it was clear that his sisters watched him flying off. There’s not a lot more that can be said at this stage, so tune back in for the next episode. In theory we should not need to intervene further. The weather is set (reasonably) fair and this is around the time that PZ would have been expected to fledge. Hopefully as in previous years he will find his way back to the safety of the church in pretty short order.