Fledging 2015

End of June update – A fortnight or so on from fledging and, as far as one can tell, our two juveniles are becoming strong, confident young Peregrines learning their skills in the sky over St David’s and returning to the church, though not needing to use the nest box, as far as I’ve noticed.
It is also worth reporting what we know of the previous years’ broods.
Of 2013′s 3 juveniles, male FV was found dead north of Exeter in autumn 2013, female FX was found dead in spring this year near in Halifax having tried to establish a territory there (one hopes this was natural and not from persecution).
Of 2014′s 3 young, male HC was taken into care by RSPCA early on and rehoused by failed to thrive owing to development problems and died, while female HB was found in distress west of Exeter in August 2014 and had to be put down.
We don’t know about females FT from 2013 or HD from 2014, but a young female Peregrine was seen around Exeter in spring 2015 and tolerated by our adults – was this one of our surviving juveniles? I don’t know that anyone observed its leg ring to say for sure.
A small sample, but this seems to fit with what experts think, that maybe 30% of fledged Peregrines actually reach maturity, so any increase and spread of their numbers, currently estimated at 1500 or so breeding pairs across the UK, will be slow, and also depend on the availability of suitable new territories.

Jun16 update – That did the trick! Juvenile female JK flew from the nest box at 8.10am Tues 16th, enjoying the morning sun and then exploring most parts of the roof during the day. So now our two young Peregrines need to practise their flying and hunting, and keep out of trouble, mainly from the local seagulls, until they can fend for themselves.
Female juvenile JK fledged - T16Jun2015 Female juvenile JK on South Transept
Good to meet several photographers and birders at St Michael’s over the past few days – there are some stunning new photos on the Exeter Peregrine Group Flickr page linked under “Gallery” (and scroll down).

Jun15 update – Juvenile male JN was seen back around the church Fri & Sat, a bit bedraggled but ok, and seems to be making good progress now. We need a good strong male offspring, after the males from the past 2 broods died in their first year.
JN bedraggled but back at St Michael's
The young female JK, despite spending much time in the trefoil opening, seems rather reluctant to fledge, and is still being fed in the nest box by the adults. She’s only a couple of days over her 6 weeks, so hopefully there’s nothing amiss.
Parents waiting for JK to fledge

Jun11 – To fledge or not to fledge, that’s been the question this week.

So, male juvenile JN is now a full 6 weeks old and has been spending much time near or on the trefoil opening, but hadn’t yet made that leap into the unknown, until 5.30pm on Thursday 11th June. As observed by Elizabeth, he flew strongly and came down on a Dinham Road roof. Later he flew back up to the spire but couldn’t find the open trefoil or land on the tower, and headed away again. Andrew located him in a fairly safe roost near the church, where he was calling to the adults and they answered but didn’t come to him. So we hoped as night fell and it started to rain he would be alright there or try again to get back to the church.
Peregrine Juvenile JN on ECC JN 1st Evening Fledged
The female juvenile JK (Rowling?) is 40 days old with just a little fluff still evident that she is preening away, and also doing vigorous wing exercises mainly on the stone lower left in the camera view. Now that her brother has flown the nest box, she is looking a bit bewildered and doing a lot of calling, as they were still sleeping next to each other.

Apologies for the couple of days when feathers were on the camera lens; thankfully it has cleared itself, because it’s not legally or physically accessible now.

Mum was still bringing in large prey for tea-time and other feeds the past few days, so both juveniles should be strong and well fed. I don’t know whether they sense the weather or follow the forecast, but, with thunderstorms and heavy rain potentially in the offing for Friday, JK may be better delaying fledging till the weekend now. We shall see.