The peregrines are back at Chichester Cathedral

All four chicks fledged successfully last year and another four eggs have been laid. Photo Luke Dray. SUS-161130-133910001
All four chicks fledged successfully last year and another four eggs have been laid. Photo Luke Dray. SUS-161130-133910001

A pair of peregrine falcons has returned to their favourite nesting place at Chichester Cathedral.

Last year, all four chicks successfully fledged from the cathedral tower, and this year the pair has laid a further four eggs.

The exciting spectacle attracts thousands of visitors a year.ks16000589-1 SUS-160426-171908001

The exciting spectacle attracts thousands of visitors a year.ks16000589-1 SUS-160426-171908001

The cathedral has been home to breeding peregrines since 2001 and live HD footage from a special ‘nest cam’ will again be beamed to a viewing area in the Royal Chantry Garden from next week.

“Witnessing the new chicks hatching is one of the highlights of the project,” said RSPB spokesperson Mark Weston. “Visitors love to come and watch the screens as they emerge; it’s a rare sight that people don’t often get to experience.”

“Our live video feeds provide a fantastic way for families with young children to get up close to nature, as they can see the birds in detail without worrying about any noise disturbing them.”

The event attracts thousands of annual viewers and this year’s event opens on Friday, April 28, around the date when the eggs are expected to hatch.

Peregrines were nearly extinct in the UK. Photo Luke Dray. SUS-161130-135430001

Peregrines were nearly extinct in the UK. Photo Luke Dray. SUS-161130-135430001

Peregrine falcons were driven to near extinction in the UK through the use of pesticides and hunters but as populations recover they are becoming more common in urban areas.

Chichester Cathedral was the first in Europe to host a peregrine webcam to provide an intimate view of peregrines raising their young.

The peregrines nest on the Cathedral Tower, in a box made and supplied by the Sussex Ornithological Society.

When the young are starting to learn to fly, the RSPB will move out onto the Cathedral Green.

Entry to the cathedral is free and the ‘Date with Nature’ event runs until Saturday, July 2.

Live footage of the peregrines can be viewed on the RSPB website from April 28 at: http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/events-dates-and-inspiration/dates-with-nature/146937-chichester-cathedral-peregrines.

It can also be viewed on the cathedral website http://www.chichestercathedral.org.uk

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