Sunday, 1 June 2008

Peregrine ringing

On the 26th, the Hawk and Owl trust joined Ed Drewitt and myself to ring this years chicks. It was believed that there was only one chick from the three eggs that were layed. When the monitor was connected to the camera two chicks and one addled egg could be seen. This was a great surprise to us all.

I went up to collect the chicks from the box and came face to face with the female. I have never come so close to a wild adult before, truely amazing.

The chicks this year were believed to be about 17 days old on the day of ringing, four days younger than last year and the size difference was very noticable. There was one male and a female in this years brood. The female weighed 535 grams compared to the male at only 380. Adult females can be a third larger than the males. The male was fitted with a BTO metal ring number GC46003 and darvic ring AC. The female with GC46004 and AD.

The most surprising behaviour occurred whilst the chicks were being ringed as one of last years chicks is now hunting and feeding this years chicks. Therefore this years adults must be the same as last year to allow her to stay in their territory and to get so close to the chicks. This behaviour has been noted in other species such as Long-tailed Tits although personally I have not heard of this with Peregrines. The immature female is not sexually mature to breed this year but this will allow her to gain the knowledge to raise her own brood in the future. We wait with interest to see when she decides to leave to find her own territory and mate.

Male (left ) Female (right)
© Photo by Ian Sparrowhawk

Female with darvic ring
© Photo by Ian Sparrowhawk

Ed taking the total head measurement of the female.
© Photo by Ian Sparrowhawk