An excellent talk from Ed Drewitt on Urban Peregrines last night at our AGM. Also a chance to meet various Forest of Dean volunteers from the RSPB’s Peregrine site at Symond’s Yat – thanks for making the long trip, and all crammed into a single car!
Our own (‘our own’…!) urban Peregrines in Cheltenham are progressing well this year with four eggs laid in early April. We will be watching closely for developments in the nest over the next few weeks, and putting video clips on this website.
Recording what happens in nests gives a whole new view of birds that you don’t get from simply spotting them. Date of laying, clutch size and nestling survival rates give an insight into a bird’s breeding biology, and also shed light on the environment around it.
It’s even better if you happen to have a huge database stretching back many years to compare with. The British Trust for Ornithology’s Nest Recording Scheme is 75 years old this year (NCOS has been contributing to it as a group for 10 years). As well as looking at how different species are doing at present, it means the team is able to look back and chart timelines. UK Peregrines, for instance, declined through the 1950s and 1960s: they laid the same number of eggs as before, but fewer hatched. This led to the examination of the nests and eggs, and the discovery of thinner eggshells, and then to the link with pesticides in eggshells. They recovered later (same number of eggs but more hatched) and started moving into urban areas around the millenium.
Anyone can record nests, whether in the countryside or in your back garden nestbox, and this is the time of year to get involved. Check out NRS News: this is the 2013 breeding season – why not contribute to the 2014 version?