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Peregrine lays eggs at Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral’s peregrines are back and aPeregrines generally lay three to four eggs, which take approximately 30 days to incubate, so by mid-May we hope to have three or four youngsters in the nest.

Peregrines nesting at Salisbury Cathedral Credit: Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral’s peregrines are back and are nesting again this year. At present the female is sitting on two eggs but staff at the Cathedral looking after the birds are expecting another one or two to be laid in the next few days.

Peregrines generally lay three to four eggs, which take approximately 30 days to incubate, so by mid-May we hope to have three or four youngsters in the nest. The successful breeding is the result of a four-year-long collaboration between staff at the Cathedral led by Clerk Of The Works, Gary Price, and Phil Sheldrake of the RSPB in Salisbury.

Peregrine keeping eggs warm Credit: Salisbury Cathedral

The breakthrough came last year when the peregrines set up home in a nesting box that was built especially for them by the Cathedral Works Department. The box kept the eggs safe and afforded the birds the privacy that they needed to bring up their young!

The breakthrough came last year when the peregrines set up home in a nesting box that was built especially for them by the Cathedral Works Department. The box kept the eggs safe and afforded the birds the privacy that they needed to bring up their young.

Clerk of Works Gary Price said

It looks as though these peregrines may be a fixture now which is incredibly exciting. Project Peregrine got off to a shaky start in 2013, when none of the eggs hatched, in 2014 there were three chicks and we managed to ring them. Now they are back again and settled. We learnt a lot from the last year and this year we’re mounting the camera again so that we can share pictures with not only people visiting the tower on a tour but via the website.

– Gary Price, Clerk of Works

This year two cameras have been positioned near the birds and events on and around the nest will be recorded. One camera is focused actually on the nest and one looks towards the parapet wall so that the parent birds can be seen coming into land and hopping down onto the nest to feed their young.

One screen at the top of the tower and a second screen in the cloisters will allow visitors to get a glimpse of life peregrine-style!

To protect the birds and allow them to rear their young in peace, the door to the cathedral balcony will be padlocked and when the little chicks are three weeks old they will be ringed by experts from the RSPB so that their subsequent movements can be tracked. They are expected to fledge in June.

It’s a fantastic result, I was not expecting to see the first egg on Tuesday as the pair didn’t lay until mid-April last year. It really is very exciting that we now have an established pair at the Cathedral, arguably one of the most charismatic birds at the probably the country’s most magnificent Cathedral – quite a prestigious nest-address.

– Phil Sheldrake, RSPB

Thousands watch falcon breeding nest

Conservationists from around the world have been hearing how a project running in Aylesbury is having a positive impact on urban biodiversity.

It relates to the successful breeding of a pair of peregrine falcons on top of Buckinghamshire County Council's building.

The district council’s biodiversity team project lead, Paul Holton, said: “Thousands of people from around the world logged into the AVDC website to watch the day-to-day struggles of our peregrines.

"Next year we hope to make further improvements to the cameras, platform and project to enable the public to gain even greater enjoyment and involvement from ‘our’ birds.”

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