Peregrine Ringing, 2017

A big event on the peregrine calendar is the ringing of the peregrine chicks. This year’s ringing took place on Saturday, 27th May, when the youngsters were three weeks and four days old.

Peregrine chicks

The youngsters were collected from the nestbox and ringing was carried out inside the spire, out of sight of the parents. This was done by members of the Sorby Breck Ringing Group. The ringers are licensed to ring birds such as peregrines, which are given special protection as “Schedule 1” birds.

Ringing a peregrine

The young birds were fitted with metal BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) rings. This type of ring carries a number which can be reported to the Natural History Museum if a bird is found dead or injured. Each peregrine was also given a plastic ring carrying just three letters. These letters can be read on live birds using binoculars or telescopes. The plastic rings provide the opportunity for receiving information about the movements of the peregrines in the future. The three rings used were orange and carried the letters PAA, PBA and PCA. PAA and PCA are females, whilst PBA is a male.

Taking measurements of a peregrine chick

The chicks were weighed and this was the key to deciding the sex of each youngster. Females are larger than males and the largest of the Wakefield chicks weighed 1.1 kg. The smallest chick, the male, weighed only 750g. As you can see form the picture, other measurements were taken.

Barn owl chick

Whilst they were in the area, the ringers arranged to ring four barn owl chicks which are growing well in a nestbox maintained by Danny Kirmond.

Little owl chicks

Danny also has a little owl box containing a brood of young little owls. The ringers were able to ring those. When they went to do this, they found an adult in the box, so they took the opportunity to ring that too.

Adult little owl

It was quite a productive day for the ringers and we are grateful to them for taking the time to deal with our peregrines.

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5 Responses to Peregrine Ringing, 2017

  1. Colin Pink says:

    Great to see the birds this year & further years ahead.

    • Francis Hickenbottom says:

      Thanks! We are pleased with how well things have gone. This pair has fledged a total of 10 young during the past three years.

  2. Jill Weaver says:


    I would like to ask if this years youngsters have now left the nesting box. Just concerned that I checked various times all week and have not seem them or their parents.

    Hope nothing has happened to them.

    Following them since they hatched has been an amazing thing to do. They are truly very special birds and Wakefield is very lucky they have chosen here to be their home


    • Francis Hickenbottom says:

      Jill, all three juveniles are now flying freely. They spend much of their time on the tower blocks and they have visited the box only occasionally in recent days. This is, I think, the most exciting time because the youngsters can be seen chasing each other in the sky above the city centre, at times. There is also activity when an adult flies in with food. The youngsters will chase it and try to take food from the parent in flight. The parent will sometimes drop the food for the youngsters to catch. In short, you now have to go into town with binoculars to watch them. As well as the tower blocks, popular spots are County Hall, the Town Hall and the tall radio transmitter near the police headquarters. Pictures and video are still being posted on Twitter and in the Wakefield Peregrines group on Facebook. I hope this information is useful.

  3. Jill Weaver says:

    Hello Francis

    Thank you very much for your update on the youngsters, good to know they are all safe and well.

    Just checked the webcam and luck to see one probably for the last time.

    I meet a lady photographer near the cathedral last Sunday who told me lots about them which was very interesting.

    I don’t have a Twitter or Facebook account but will certainly look out for them in town.


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