Kids. In the words of Dr Alan Grant: “They’re noisy; they’re messy; they’re expensive; they smell…” and our four peregrine falcon chicks that fledged this year are no exception. Raising kids is apparently messy work for peregrines – just look at the food remnants and layer of poo left behind after this year’s breeding season!
We needed to clean out all of this debris to prepare for another year’s nesting season, and the pair of peregrines can start looking to select their breeding site as early as February. We really want Jane (so called because of the JN on her leg ring!) to select our box again this year, as it helps us to monitor the breeding success of the birds, so we wanted to clear off all the other ledges and balconies, and provide her with a nice, clean box again this year.
Bird poo is nasty stuff, and can present a serious health hazard in the form of Psittacosis and salmonella. The HSE website states that “Workers with a weakened immune system should not directly do tasks involving bird droppings“. This includes me, so I was taking no chances, and suited up in disposable coveralls, gloves and a full-on filtering face mask.
Let me tell you, it was a minging job. Let no one ever say that I don’t love these birds. After an intensive hour of cleaning, we refilled the nest box with pea gravel, swept up, repositioned our camera and descended the 4 flights of cast-iron spiral staircase back to terra firma. And here are the results!
I just want to say a huge thanks to rangers Ray and Derek, and to Ben from the Brewood Bird Ringers (who did the ringing of our chicks this summer and with whom we’re working on the new Long Eared Owl nesting basket project!) Fingers crossed that Princess Jane is pleased with our housekeeping!