She was first seen in 2004/5 and has been present ever since, along with her trusty mate.
As we wait for her ninth clutch of eggs to hatch, here are some statistics about her:
- The first year she bred (in 2006, soon after we put the platform up) three eggs.hatched.
|Our successful female......photo: Colin Pass|
- In the subsequent eight years she laid four eggs each year, making a total to date of 35 eggs.
- Obviously, this year's eggs have yet to hatch but in the previous eight seasons, only two of the 31 eggs she laid failed to hatch (in 2007), though we don't know why.
- Of the 29 eggs that did hatch, 27 chicks went on to fledge (leave the nest)
- In 2010, two small chicks died in the nest.
- Of the chicks that fledged we know rather little. All we do know is as follows:
- In 2009, one female broke her neck by flying into glass screens on top of a nearby building. She's now been set up as a museum specimen and we use her at events to show people what a peregrine looks like.
|Our taxidernied juvenile female, complete with rings|
recent picture of Cathy, now in adult plumage
Last summer we were contacted by a bird watcher in North Yorkshire who had seen a colour ringed female peregrine at a nest up there. We strongly suspect this bird is 002, a female ringed in 2007 and we hope to get a decent photo of her leg sometime this summer to clinch this.
|Ringed female peregrine photographed in Yorkshire|
Finally, a juvenile from our brood of 2012 was recently found injured near Alfreton and is now in the care of a very experienced falconer. This bird, a male, is now almost two years old. He seems to have a damaged elbow joint and another vet will be checking him out shortly. Apparently he's now eating well and putting on weight - but it looks possible that he will never be able to fly in the wild again.
More information about him will follow as soon as we get it.
Clearly, our female has been a successful bird - even if she lays no more eggs in her life, her record so far is very good. We know that the first year in the life of any juvenile is fraught with dangers and that many, probably most, don't survive into adulthood. But having fledged 27 young so far, we would hope that at least a handful are still alive and breeding somewhere else in the UK....the Yorkshire bird being just one of them!
Whilst we celebrate these breeding successes, the sad fact is that parts of northern Derbyshire and the Peak District are still no-go areas for all birds of prey - indeed, for any species that is deemed by shooting interests to interfere with the management of grouse moors, even on land owned by the National Trust. Our National Parks should be full of raptors, but they are silent. And questions are being asked as to how this has been allowed to continue. More on this later.
Nick B/Nick Moyes