23 March 2011

Urban Peregrine shenanigans

Ringer Ed Drewitt writes:

In 2007 we ringed our first two peregrines chicks on Bath Cathedral, Avon and added unique colour rings, so that they could be identified in the field and their relationships and behaviour studied. One of these Peregrines, AA (left chick) was allowed to stay by his parents at the site.

A year on and just as the 2008 chicks were about to hatch, the breeding male disappeared for unknown reasons. For that season, the young male that hatched the previous year helped his mum rear the chicks.

In 2009 he was still in residence with his presumed mum, being unringed we will not know for sure. To prove her identity I collected the moulted feathers of both the parent and AA. I've just received the DNA results back which reveal the two are related - ie he has paired up with his mum!

With the female (mum) being unringed we didn't know for sure if this bird was the same female in 2010 or this year (unless I did DNA tests again) but a remarkable story never the less. This year the well watched pair have 4 eggs (laid 1 week earlier than last year) and are doing well. As far as I can tell this is the earliest in the UK this year! Perhaps a reflection of an experienced pair (and therefore the same female too) and settled weather.

Thanks to Ed Drewitt for letting us know and Ian Sparrowhawk (chicks photo) and Mike Fisher (Peregrine AA) for the photos.

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