Having waited expectantly since mid-week, our holy Peregrines have again seen their eggs hatching on the last Sunday in April, just like last year, and exactly 34 days after laying their 3rd egg.
It was a wet and windy night but, with a touch of late night peregrinitis, it looked to me like one of the eggs had cracked around midnight and by 1am on the 27th the female was removing the shell and eating some of it, but nestling so well that I couldn’t see any chick. An automatic recording at 3.30am showed her removing a second shell and gave hints of some fluffiness under her breast.
At 8.30am Nick Dixon caught a swapover on the live webcam and saw 2 chicks and 2 eggs. At 12noon, accompanied by the church bell ringing for the Regina Coeli (Queen of Heaven), Kim confirmed this at another changeover of adult birds. Fittingly Sunday’s Mass setting was by William Byrd.
By 3.30pm I was suspecting maybe a third hatchling, and this was clear at 4.45pm when the female left the 3 chicks unattended in the nest for about 10 minutes. Two chicks were stretching upwards and squauking, with the third smaller chick less vocal; two female and a male?
It was a little worrying that the adults kept the chicks warm but showed no sign of attempting to feed them at all on Sunday, though they looked quite comfortable and active. Today, Monday, feeding has started with breakfast and tea observed; it will be a day or 2 more before we know whether the 4th egg will hatch.
The Heritage Lottery Funded camera mounted by Wildlife Windows in the nestbox 35 metres up St Michael’s spire gives a wonderful opportunity to observe these beautiful birds at close quarters, but remember that feeding might be messy. So go to https://www.stmichaelsmountdinham.org.uk/ click on the Peregrine image and then the “play” button, and watch our Peregrine family.
We are hugely grateful to Devon Birds for sponsoring the live-video-streaming. Please also visit their website to learn about the wider bird scene in Devon.
It’s not cheap (sorry for the pun) to run the streaming, so a little donation to one or both of St Michael’s and Devon Birds would be much appreciated.
Congratulations also to the educated Peregrines of Nottingham Trent University who hatched 3 eggs on St George’s Day, last Wednesday; they now have 4 chicks.