Marlow’s peregrine falcon chicks are ringed to support their growth

Marlow’s peregrine falcon chicks are ringed to support their growth

The leg rings have no effect on a bird’s ability to fly and do not interfere with feeding or breeding

Three peregrine falcon chicks living on the top of a Marlow church have been fitted with lightweight rings to help experts learn about their habits and support their growth.

On June 2, Verity West from nature group Wild Marlow accompanied Paul Warham and Carl Hunter-Roach from Middle Thames Bird Ringing Group, for the ringing of the trio at All Saints Church. 

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.

Two adult falcons, known as Marly and Roy after Marlow's French twin town, have been looking after their offspring on the town centre church spire since the eggs hatched in April.

A nesting platform and camera systems have also been set up to enable the birds to be supported. 

Fitting lightweight identification rings to birds enables experts to learn about their dispersal, life cycle and population dynamics.

The All Saints Church ringing joins a network of peregrine falcon ringing across the UK and the data collected about these chicks will join a national database to help support the birds' UK growth.

The three chicks have orange coloured rings with three large black letters, so if they appear on other webcams or telescopic lenses, those keeping track of them will know how old they are and where they have dispersed.

Verity West said: “All Saints Church has been hugely supportive of Wild Marlow and our wish to help and monitor these fantastic birds.

“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.”

The leg rings have no effect on a bird’s ability to fly and do not interfere with feeding or breeding, while 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 license is required for birds such as peregrine falcons, and it is illegal to catch any wild bird without a ringing licence.

After decades of decline, peregrine falcons are now increasing in numbers in the UK, with a typical lifespan seven years, though the oldest known bird was more than 21 years of age.

They are among the fastest animals on the planet, and can reach speeds of up to 200 miles per hour when 'stooping' — diving down on prey from a great height.

For more information on the birds, visit www.wildmarlow.org.uk 

  • Wild Marlow will be holding an informal peregrine falcon event on The Causeway in Marlow on Sunday, July 4, where experts will be on hand to answer questions about the birds. 

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