Salisbury Cathedral’s peregrines are back and are nesting again this year. At present the female is sitting on four eggs which were laid during Holy Week and over Easter.
The mother and her eggs are visible thanks to cameras placed near the nest and Cathedral staff will be monitoring them daily. It will take approximately 30 days for the eggs to incubate, so by mid-May we should see some 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. 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.”
Said Phil Sheldrake of the Salisbury Branch of the RSPB:
“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!”
This year the two cameras that have been positioned near the birds will be recording events on the nest. One camera is focused actually on the nest, while the other 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 is relaying pictures to a screen at the base of the tower and a second screen will be placed in the cloisters later this week, allow visitors to catch 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 monitored.
For further information please contact Marie Thomas on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01722 555148