2017 was a year of highs and lows for the peregrine watchers!

Our pair seem to have established themselves on the church and were often visible during the winter months. The nest tray was put in place as usual and 3 eggs were laid between 3 and 9 April. The chicks appeared between 12 and 15 May and we were looking forward to some good views on the TV screen in the coffee shop. However, disaster struck on 20 May, when a violent, but localised electrical storm burned out the camera mounted on the tower, and also the TV input. The camera and TV were replaced when the chicks were ringed, but by that time, they were starting to move off the nest and out of site.

The chicks were ringed on 5 June and thought to be 2 males and 1 female. All seemed well and as they grew, were seen through the castellations on the walkway.

Ringing a nestling

The first flight was noted on 23 June and two juveniles subsequently flew strongly, with some spectacular views around the church. However, one of the males fell from the tower on 28 June in foul weather. I caught and returned it after it had been checked by a veterinary nurse who gave it the all clear. It fell again on 1 July and was returned to the aisle roof, where it remained, unfed, until Wednesday 5 July, when it came down again from the roof and we caught it and put it in a box.

I had already phoned Kilton Raptor Rescue (Worksop) as the adults were clearly ignoring the bird. They arrived and after examining the bird, said it was "skin and bone" and had an ‘Angel Wing’, a birth defect in which the last joint of the wing is twisted, with the wing feathers pointing out laterally, instead of lying against the body. It also had a deformed talon. The bird was subsequently examined by a zoological vet who said there was no chance of release, so it is now spends its days fluttering around a large aviary with other falcons for company.

The 2017 brood