A pair of hobbies has successfully bred at Panshanger Park near Hertford and the chicks are getting ready to leave the nest.
Hobbies are migratory falcons that can only be seen over the summer when they come to southern Britain to breed before returning to sub-Saharan Africa for the winter. Hobbies are smaller than kestrels and feed on dragonflies and damselflies, as well as smaller birds including martins and swallows. They catch their prey mid-air and, with insect prey, feed on the wing.
All three chicks have recently been ringed with lightweight, uniquely numbered, metal rings which are fitted to the birds' legs. Ringing is always done by licenced and highly-trained ringers to ensure that the birds are not harmed in the process. Ringing is a reliable and harmless method of identifying individual birds and is vital in studying bird populations and movements which helps to focus conservation efforts.