REGIONAL: Cute peregrine falcon chicks hatch on cathedral roof

A PAIR of peregrine falcons have reared their first chicks in three years on the roof of a cathedral.

Monday, 21st May 2018, 3:32 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:38 am
Peregrine falcon chicks have hatched on the roof of Winchester Cathedral. Picture: Keith Betton

The birds originally started nesting on the police headquarters building in Winchester in 2011, but had to relocate after the building was demolished two years ago.

After discovering Winchester Cathedral last year, the peregrine falcons finally settled into their new home a few months ago.

A tray was placed on the gulley in the last week of February to help the peregrines nest and by the last week of April three chicks were born.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A pair of peregrine falcons living on the roof of Winchester Cathedral have reared chicks. Picture: Keith Betton

The chicks have been ringed by the Hampshire Ornithological Society (HOS) and their progress will be monitored over the coming weeks by the HOS and the cathedral vergers.

Keith Betton, chairman of the HOS, said: ‘It is so good to have peregrines nesting successfully in Winchester once again.

‘This is one of the most enigmatic birds in the world – a skilful hunter; sharp-eyed enough to see their prey from a distance of 3km, and capable of flying at 200mph – and beautiful to look at too.

‘We are so lucky to have these birds living alongside us now when just fifty years ago they were incredibly rare in England.’

The UK’s population of peregrine falcons has increased rapidly in the past five decades, from 350 pairs in the 1970s to an estimated 1,700 pairs today.