Have a look at the picture below? I think he has a few feathers missing from the left breast. Was this the result of a bit of a scrap with another bird? Maybe you saw what happened. If you have any info please write a comment.
Monday saw the 4th egg in the nest so our family is now complete.
We expect the eggs to start hatching around 23rd April. They will hatch over a period of a few days as they are laid on different days.
The time: 2.30 ish
Once again Dad is called upon to protect the family home. This time it was a buzzard that was interested. The ensuing onslaught of blows from Dad on the buzzard was a sight to behold. He repeated struck the buzzard, a bird of twice his size, as he chased it away. Needless to say the victor returned home brimming over with pride about 20 minutes later and when we left all was quiet on the ‘south-eastern’ front.
A sparrowhawk circled around the cathedral for a while, but the peregrines didn’t seem worried about it. They seem to ignore it as long as it goes away again. They did, however, have another more determined visitor. This was another peregrine – a female. She, like the sparrowhawk, circled around while dad sat watching, and mum was in the nest turrett. After a while, dad got fed up of it and flew out to chase it away. He was gone for a good 20 minutes or so while he escorted the female interloper far from the nest site. Due to the lack of noise or distress, it’s very likely to have been one of their juveniles from a previous year – it seemed as though he recognised her. Presumably she was wanting to claim her inheritance of the family home. Clearly, her parents aren’t ready to give it up yet!
Something else we saw a little later was very surprising. Mum emerged from the turrett and sat on pinnacle. Shortly afterwards, dad joined her – mating again! This struck us onlookers as very odd behaviour. They’ve already got three eggs, and presumably a fourth on the way. This wasn’t for breeding purposes, so would only have been for relationship-strengthening or courting, not something we expected at all. Apparently this was the third time within the last few days too!
The RSPB are keeping an eye on the goings-on inside the nest via the camera, and have seen eggs! Yesterday, three eggs had already been laid, the fourth will probably follow in the next day or two. This explains why activity around the cathedral has been a lot quieter over the last few days – since Wednesday, mum has been out of sight for long periods of time, leaving dad alone to watch the skies for unwelcome visitors. Courting is over, now it’s down to business!
Off she goes again asking for her dinner. He goes off and comes back with one of his out of date ready meals that he had prepared earlier. He keeps a secret stash in a turret out of her sight but she was not impressed. I am sure I heard her say “it’s out of date bring me something a little more tasty”, he duly obliged and came back with a much more acceptable offering. If you go to the March 2009 gallery there is a sequence of about 20 pictures showing the action that took place as she claimed her fresh meal. Afterwards peace at last… she seems satisfied at least for the moment.
Today mum was sitting on top of the nest turret looking in, then dad returned to the cathedral after an outing – he was empty-handed! She was not happy. She shouted at him a lot, obviously expecting dinner. Ah, but he had a trick up his sleeve! He popped into the NE turret and emerged with a ready meal! He took it into the nest turret for her and she took it round to a pinnacle on the west side to eat in peace. He followed, presumbly wanting a snack himself, but she soon sent him back to guard the nest. After half an hour, she returned to her vigil on top of the turret, attentively watching the nest.
What a cold, grey afternoon! It didn’t dampen the peregrines’ spirits though. An hour before sundown, mum was sitting in the top of the nest turret looking out, and dad was in his favourite spot high on the spire. She squawked loudly at him and he immediately took off (he must have been expecting it – he usually pretends he hasn’t heard!). I assumed he was going to get food…I was wrong. She joined him and they flew around together for a minute before landing on a pinnacle. The same pinnacle. She landed, he followed – number four! That’s at least one mating for each egg she’ll lay (a peregrine falcon normally lays the same number of eggs every year – our mum lays four).
Around 11.30 this morning he started making a terrific sqwauking and looking skyward. Plently of angry posing and lots of angry noise until we saw the reason – another peregrine!!! As it got close he took off after it like a Bat out of Hell and chased it off in a southeasterly direction with some very fancy flying. He returned about 15 mins later (having chased the intruder a very long way off – it could have been one of last years’ juveniles) made several passes around the spire and of course in front of the missus (showing off I suspect – no reaction from her though!!) and disappeared up to his favourite spot on the north side of the spire.