Its Day 6 for the oldest chick and all four are doing well, helped by fine weather and warm temperatures. Getting sufficient food for them is clearly not an issue either with 8 feeds yesterday and 7 the day before. Little and often is the order of the day at present.
The male, known as the tercel, will do the lion’s share of the hunting, providing for both the chicks and is mate. When he has caught the prey he will take it to a quiet place where he can ‘dress’ it ready for the female to feed to their chicks. He has a couple of favourite places where he does this on the Cathedral tower, the position given away by occasional flurries of feathers blowing around in the wind. When it is ready he will either take it to the nest or stash it close-by for the female to collect. Every now and then he may even pass it to her when they are in flight – a spectacular sight.
At this stage of the chick’s development the female will pull tiny strips of meat from the carcass and, turning her head sideways, delicately place it in the gaping beak of one of the chicks. Which one depends on which chick is assertive enough to get her attentions. Size matters here. However, when food is plentiful (as is the case here) she will see that all chicks get sufficient. Any pieces of food too big for the chicks will be eaten by herself.
It’s the 5th feed of the day and its only 10:30. Some chicks are still full from the last feed 40 minutes ago.
It was a warm sunny day in Norwich yesterday. A tad too warm at times for the peregrine chicks in fact as the female had to occasionally spread her wings to act as a sun shade for them, and to help keep herself cool.
We are occasionally asked why we didn’t provide a roof for the nest platform as this would have given them some protection from the sun and rain. The answer is that it was considered, but a roofless design more closely replicates their natural nesting sites – cliff faces and the like – and allow for better wing exercising later on in the chick’s development.
These are wild birds after all and used to coping with what the weather throws at them. Instinct guides them in the selection of their nesting locations. If it wasn’t suitable for their needs they would not have chosen it I’m sure.
David Gittens | Volunteer – Wildlife CCTV,
Hawk and Owl Trust – Sculthorpe Moor
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