RICHARD WILLIAMSON Peregrinations...The four youngsters are flying almost as well as their parents

The Chichester peregrines, not content with ‘shooting down’ one buzzard (which is now being cared for at Brent Lodge Animal Hospital) nearly winged another over the spire. The tiercel (male peregrine) intercepted a buzzard this week and flew rings around it, passing inches in front of the bigger bird’s nose.

Meanwhile the four youngsters, two males and two females, have virtually got their wings and are flying almost as well as their parents.

This week RSPB staff saw them circling the spire at great speed and one even attempted a ‘stoop’, a 120mph dive from the top of the spire down to the rooftops of the Bishop’s Palace.

They also saw the mother (falcon) bring back a pigeon which she dropped into the northeast turret. She left it there for her children to fight over, and one of them started to pluck the tasty meal immediately, scattering a cloud of white feathers all over the sky.

She also brought back either a redshank or a godwit from Fishbourne Creek, a mile away, so these healthy youngsters have a well-balanced diet: no wonder the children of the famous parents have always done so well here. These birds are the most successful on record; but how much longer do they have as they approach old age?