18th July 2023

A last glimpse of Rex as the peregrine season draws to a close…

A last glimpse of Rex as the peregrine season draws to a close…

….and meet the new kids on the block in Welwyn Garden City

As the peregrine season at the Salisbury Cathedral draws to a close, we thought we would offer one last glimpse of the Cathedral’s famous avian residents before we shut down the live stream next week (week starting 17 July).

In the last two weeks Rex (Orange ID ring VDR), the only juvenile male hatched on the Tower this year, has been spotted on the South Tower Balcony parapet. He and his two siblings have become fairly proficient hunters after some intensive training given by their parents over the Close. Hundreds of visitors were able to witness some remarkable behaviour and see these amazing birds close up thanks to the RSPB Date with Nature team, who set up their telescopes on the West lawn throughout June.

In recent weeks the juveniles have been ranging beyond the Close in search of food, with the Water Meadows and the fields around Netherhampton being a popular spot. Male peregrines generally stay close to where they fledge, so we may see more of Rex than Lily (Orange ID ring VHR) and Rose (Orange ID ring VRR) in the coming weeks.

Gary Price, Clerk of Works, who looks after the nestbox on the Cathedral said:
“So far it looks to have been a textbook year. The chicks have pretty much stuck to their schedule. No-one crash landed when they fledged. The parents have been efficient and calm. We were sad when the fourth egg didn’t hatch, but other than that everything has gone like clockwork.”

The biggest challenge for the three young falcons will be making it through their first year. Less than a third of juveniles reach breeding age and according to the RSPB their lifespan is likely to be between five and six years. However, an essay on the Natural History Museum website mentions one falcon that reached the ripe old age of 21 years old.

One of the ways we keep track of our peregrines is via the coloured Darvic ring on their left leg, which bears their unique initials. So far, we have tracked four falcons that fledged from the Cathedral: Peter (spotted in Hampshire), Aveline (spotted in Milton Keynes), Osmund (spotted in Guernsey) and Flo, who was spotted Hertford last year and nesting in Welwyn Garden City this year.

Some exciting news from Hertfordshire. We have been sent pictures of Flo’s chicks at their Shredded Wheat Silos nesting site in Welwyn Garden City. Photographer Keith Garrett captured the two juveniles earlier this month, perched near their nest box and Flo the same location. A new generation of falcons that have flown the nest!