Xavier was in the box, hoping to sneak another night in the nest, when Diamond arrived and upset his plans! Note that it’s about 20 minutes long, at normal, so feel free to skip through, but don’t miss the last five minutes!
One of our follows (Bilby) has kindly created a jigsaw puzzle or two. Go to the site below and select how many pieces you want to use (32 = easy, more = more difficult). Thanks, Bilby! Will move to new website when it’s ready.
You’ll need to cut and paste it as it doesn’t come up as a hyperlink.
And here is the screenshot that one of them is based on: Xavier and kestrel, if I’m not mistaken.
You will be pleased to hear that Charles Sturt University has agree to help set up a new website and we are hoping to transfer at least part of the information stored here to the new site. It will take a little time to get this organised, so please be patient.
Diamond arrives in the middle of the night after thunderstorms and soaking wet. Unfortunately, she misjudges her arrival, landing on the upper ledge and flipping upside-down, being unable to free herself for several seconds. She arrrives a bit later to dry off.
The reason for this is that many birds, especially raptors, have a perching reflex – where the toes lock onto a perch. If they flip upside down, it is difficult for them to relax their tendons to release them. The falcons often misjudge their landings at night, but I’ve never seen one latch on to the upper ledge before.
If you are interested in learning more about this locking mechanism, there is a short, interesting article with diagrams here: https://www.raptorresource.org/2021/01/22/racheting-raptor-toes-an-upside-down-eagle-at-great-spirit-bluff/
After about a year of negotiating, some nagging and fund-raising, we finally have our new view – a cam pointed at the tower, so you can watch the peregrines flying around, and possibly see other birds, like this welcome swallow.
Here is the link to the live cam https://youtu.be/qviBDtG9-gg
And a link (thanks, Birdie Cam) to the first video of peregrines landing on the tower
thanks to all those who made this possible: Paul Carpenter who donated the cam (which was originally used to record the construction of the new medical faculty); the IT team, particularly Jason Lyons, Luke Blewett and
All the best for Christmas and the New Year !
One of our followers has made a lovely tribute video to Yurruga. Thanks, Simoninna.
Just to let you know that I am scaling back the daily searches for Yurruga. I last saw him on a roof on 25 November (three days after fledging) and he was seen later the same day by a colleague in the same place during a thunderstorm.
After a week and two days of no sightings, I have to conclude that Yurruga has had a mishap, probably while flying in poor weather, which was atrocious last week. I have looked everywhere there is open space to see if he crash landed, but nothing. Around the campus, there are extensive areas of dense vegetation, either long grass or close plantings, making detection difficult.
This is a very sad outcome for the chick, who, although slight underdeveloped in his plumage, clearly wanted to fledge, and, at 45 days, so did his parents, who lured him out with prey. The average fledge age at this site is 42 days, slightly younger for males. His wing exercising and appetite were excellent, so, given good weather, there was no reason why his flying skills couldn’t have improved quickly. But continual thunderstorms would have hampered that progress and also made hunting difficult for his parents.
It is especially unfortunate as it was the only egg that hatched (one was unfertilised; the other fertilised, but undeveloped ie no chick had formed). One (the fertilsed one) exploded after candling….the other is going to the Australian Museum.
This was the unfertilised egg, the other exploded (yes, all over me).
Let’s hope for a better season next year, but one must remember that these parents are not getting any younger. They are at least at eight or nine years old and could be considerably older as we don’t know how old they were when they arrived. Peregrines do tend to lose fertility as they age, but some keep going reproducing strongly until sixteen or seventeen, so one can’t be sure of what will happen.
Yurruga fledged at 0604 h this morning. He is fine. He flew for a bit, then landed on the ground near the base of the water tower. Some some staff found him, rang me. I caught him, checked him over then placed him in a tree nearby (actually visible from ledge cam). He was fine and hopefully will get the strength to fly more strongly over the next few days.
Below is a picture of him in the tree, just now
Here are a couple of videos of the fledge.
The website has been unavailable for much of this year, but here is a short update:
Three eggs were laid on 31st August, 2nd and 5th September. One egg hatched on 8th October. The other two did not. One egg did have a chick inside, as we could see movement, but it was probably not strong enough to break out. These things happen, although very rarely, fortunately. The other egg probably was not fertilised. They are still in the box and I will collect them later and offer them to the Australian Museum.
So the chick that hatched is called Yurruga after a vote was held featuring 12 different names of weather phenomenon in the local Aboriginal language, Wiradjuri. I’m still not sure, but I think it’s probably a female, as it appears on the picture above to be larger than Xavier. She or he should fledge this weekend, I think, as most of the down has gone and the wing exercising has been more frequent.
Here is my most recent video of Yurruga at 37 days (today = 39).
The weather has been unseasonably cold and wet this year. There have been days when there have been as few as one small prey brought in, but with just one chick, that has not been a problem and other days, the hunting has been very successful.
Diamond had an injury a few weeks, ago, probably from hunting, although we are not sure of course.
The future of this website is uncertain. It was upgraded by the owner, Scott Banks, and was out of action, for a while. The chat function is still not operating as far as I can tell. I’ll keep you posted. We may be able to design a new one and transfer some of the information across.)
The data collection phase of my current research project finished at the end of August 2021 and, aided by some of our very competent volunteers, we are getting all the data into spreadsheets ready for analysis. There are two main components: diet (nine years’ of data) and behaviour based on daily observations over seven years.