On Wednesday 2nd June, Verity West from Wild Marlow was delighted to be able to accompany Paul Warham and Carl Hunter-Roach from Middle Thames Bird Ringing Group, for the ringing of Marly and Roy’s three beautiful peregrine falcon chicks at All Saints’ Church in Marlow. At 22 days old, they were the perfect age and size for ringing, ensuring the rings fit well but the chicks weren’t yet too mobile. The three chicks weighed 560g, 689g and 800g respectively, reflecting the size difference between males and females.
Fitting lightweight identification rings to birds enables us to learn about their dispersal, life-cycle and population dynamics, all of which underpins the design of conservation strategies for their protection. The All Saints’ Church ringing joins a network of peregrine falcon ringing across the UK and the data collected about these chicks will join the national database to help us understand the species and hopefully support its UK growth.
These three chicks have orange coloured rings with three large black letters, so if they appear on other webcams or telescopic lenses, we will know how old they are and where they have dispersed to. The leg rings have no effect on a bird’s ability to fly and do not interfere with feeding or breeding. Everyone involved in bird ringing has to undergo a thorough training programme and must be licensed by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). A further special license is required for Schedule 1 birds such as Peregrine Falcons. It is illegal to catch any wild bird without a ringing licence.
After decades of decline and persecution, Peregrine Falcons are now increasing in numbers in the UK. Typical lifespan is seven years though the oldest known bird was over twenty-one years of age.
For more information on these birds, their short history in Marlow and to see video clips of the full breeding season go to Wild Marlow’s website – www.wildmarlow.org.uk or join our Facebook Group for regular updates.
Wild Marlow will be holding an informal Peregrine Event on The Causeway in Marlow on Sunday July 4th, so do pop down and ask the experts questions – hopefully the chicks will be flying around by then.
“All Saints’ Church has been hugely supportive of Wild Marlow and our wish to help and monitor these fantastic birds,” Verity said. “We’d also like to thank Bob Keene at Bisham Nest Box Group, who built and donated the nesting platform, and Blue Chip Security Ltd who donated and installed the camera monitoring system.”