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South West Peregrine

Cornwall & Devon Peregrine Falcon Study Group since 2007

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Coast

Difficult climb is worth the efforts

Wednesday the 1st of June 2016, saw the ringing team back on the clifftops of North Cornwall at a particular tricky coastal site. A first attempt to climb was aborted,due to some technical issues. After a very difficult climb, the second assault proved a major success. Three very healthy eyasses bagged up in spite of only one adult being present for the past two weeks. The young birds were now at 25 days of age, slightly older than the desired ringing age by a day or so, but due to the their location on a very large ledge it was not a problem for the experienced team. They were a  bit of challenge to handle and ring, however the team prevailed. All three healthy young Peregrines, were then returned safely to their ledge some 100  feet below the cliff top. The adult male was soon back to inspect the goings on and in due course feed the ravenous young.

SWP would like to thank Chris Adams for photographing the team and allowing us to use his images on this post.

Behavioural Query

Having recently been contacted via email we were asked to comment on an observed behaviour by Gemma and her partner whilst out walking the coast-path.

I’m hoping someone from your group might be able to help explain some behaviour we saw of a pair of peregrines close to P******** in Cornwall towards the end of May. A female was on a kill of a feral pigeon with an adult male nearby. The male was calling a lot whilst the female was plucking the bird. At one point they were both feeding but then we saw the female feed the male a few times. I don’t know if this is unusual but the male was clearly an adult and we thought if it was  a pair bonding thing it would be more usual for the male to give food to the female?

Gemma was kind enough to supply an image of this as well.

Female feeds Male

It’s quite common for well adjusted and close-bonded pairs to feed each other. The Females will chup with every beak-full they feed to a male, just as if he were a chick.
Often it is the female feeding her mate that is observed, but it has also been observed for males to feed females, especially when she is incubating eggs or close-brooding chicks during bad weather.
Often, adults feeding each other is indeed a pair-bonding thing but it can also be habit/hormone based, particularly in the breeding season. It might be thought that, in pair bonding, the male would feed his mate, but he has already dramatically adjusted from his instinctive behaviour by giving up a kill to the female.
If the birds have been tandem-hunting, the female will usually carry the kill back home, and then give up the head to the male. If he is not satisfied with that alone, he will solicit for food and is usually fed for a while.
See the videos here of a pair slightly out of sync in the breeding season. The male is given the head, but wants more. He is fed by his mate, but then takes the whole kill for himself and she does not retaliate in nay way.
(This particular pair failed on a single egg, probably due to being out of sync with each other, this despite the male doing everything ‘right’ up until mid-March.)

We very much thank Gemma for her email and comments, it just goes to show the more that you observe the more you will learn or the more questions you can raise putting theories to the test. No two pairs behave in the same manor due to numerous factors, so it is always worth sitting and watching rather than taking for granted what we have read or seen before.

Batten Bay Bio Blitz -Plymouth Sound

The group enjoyed the two days at the Mount Batten event last weekend. Over 200 school children attended on the Friday from local primary schools and many had their first Peregrine experience. We ran video exhibits to reach them of eyrie behaviour, they saw how the eye works and even got to see a Peregrine skeleton up close. Then they all measured their own wingspan and got a comparison to the equivalent British bird of prey. The Bio blitz was a huge success with some 788 species counted including Falco peregrinus…

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The organisers did fabulous job along with all the volunteers and contributors. We hope to be back next year and get involved with more education. Thanks go to Jack and Eliane.

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One intrepid group member even helped out Rock pooling and managed to go snorkelling in the bay.

Herring Gulls close to fledging, raised by adult Peregrine Falcons

With this latest and likely now to be last update on the Peregrine rearing 3 Herring gulls on the South West coast of England, due to likelihood that the next possible visit they may have fledged. In that scenario it will be near impossible to film due to restrictions on equipment used. However here we see them being closely guarded by their adoptive mother, in all visits she has been very close to the ledge always keeping an eye on them. This visit we saw them feeding or at least picking over the remains of a carcass retrieved and left for them. They are all in good condition and we will endeavour to bring you the outcome of their fate, good or bad.
We hope this has provided interest over these few weeks, although we wish to return to a successful brood of peregrines next year. I’m sure you will all agree nature is marvellous and yet can be strange and still throw us a few surprises now and then.

 

The original witnessing of an event similar in Dorset in June 2001 can be read in the attached document

A Pilgrim’s Tail

We have made a few changes to our blog ‘A Pilgrim’s Tail’ as we were rapidly running out of storage space.

So we hope that you enjoy the new layout, it has lots more going on than the old blog and links to many more items of interest to all you Peregrine enthusiasts out there, and from the responses we get there are quite a few of us!

You can view all of our latest post from our own fieldwork and studies, along with the guest posts such as that from Charlie Moores of BAWC.

We have a new Gallery section displaying some lovely images from around this majestic coastline, as well as a link to the YouTube Channel that offers you an insight into watching these birds along our shores.

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