Wednesday, 10 June 2015

30 Days Wild Day 10: Posing Peregrines

Once again, I was in Chichester today, volunteering for the RSPB peregrines. We are slowly approaching fledging time with only 1-2 weeks left before the chicks are ready to leave. It will most definitely be a bittersweet event. I am consoled by the fact that they won't immediately leave the site once they fly the nest; they will hang around on the cathedral for a couple of months, being fed by their parents and taught how to fly, hunt, dive etc. before making their way out into the wide world around September.

The chicks are four weeks old and have nearly lost all of their white down. They're really starting to look like adults around the face, having developed some of their cheek and moustache markings. I desperately want to give them a comb to sort out that remaining white fluff!

Both parents spent most of the morning perched in various places on the cathedral. The male has been bringing starlings in but obviously these haven't got a huge amount of meat on them and don't last very long between three hungry mouths. Interestingly, rather than plucking and tearing the prey then feeding it the chicks herself, the female has been dropping the food into the turret and supervising, allowing her young to develop their feeding skills. Female 65 (the largest of the two females) eventually figured out how to feed herself through this method this afternoon which was very exciting for us! Another milestone towards adulthood. 

I was lucky enough yet again to witness a food pass between the male and female too. I seem to always be looking up at the right time as it's normally easy to miss these occurrences and I have seen two in the past fortnight! Since the adults were on fantastic display for much of the day, I was able to snap a few photos through the scopes, after much lining up with my camera and attempts to steady my hand! These were taken with a regular handheld and cropped a tiny bit so I'm actually quite surprised by how well they have turned out.

You can see from their feathers just how blustery it was today! I was complaining about the strength of the wind but they were loving it. Falcons fly really well in wind, using updrafts etc. to their advantage and both adults enjoyed some quality flying time over the course of the day. An amazing spectacle.

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