(Pic: Raphael at the Creatures in Crisis sanctuary after his ordeal)
Last night (Wednesday 29 June) the Cathedral’s male peregrine fledgling was rescued by a wildlife charity after being found floundering in high winds on the North lawn.
The young male, who is fully feathered and ready to fly, was returned to its nest this morning after a night at the Creatures in Crisis sanctuary at Windmill Farm, Winterslow.
The drama began at around 21.00 when a member of the public phoned Kevin Drew, the founder of Creatures in Crisis, to report the peregrine’s 224ft perilous descent from the South side of the Tower onto the North lawn.
Kevin Drew said: “The winds were very strong at the time and they were almost blowing me over. Every time I approached the bird it would try to fly away but kept crashing against the Cathedral wall. I was worried that it would hurt itself so decided to take it in and look after it for the night."
When Kevin got Raphael the peregrine back to the Creatures in Crisis headquarters he put him into a cage and after eating a healthy meal, Raphael settled happily for the night.
Kevin Drew said: “The fact that he ate was a very good sign. Most raptors I bring it don’t eat for a couple of days.”
The first Gary Price, Clerk of the Works at the Cathedral, knew of Raphael’s adventures was when he received a call first thing this morning. “It was a real shock because I hadn’t realised Raphael was missing. He and his sister, Aveline, have been sheltering round a corner out of the wind and out of sight of the nest box camera, so I wasn’t aware that he had gone.”
Gary, Kevin and Anya Wicikowski, the RSPB Community Engagement officer, returned Raphael to the Tower this morning, climbing the 332 steps to the South balcony.
Anya Wicikowski said: “It was probably his first test flight and the wind must have caught him and carried him over to the North side. It happens all the time, particularly with young peregrines, probably because of their nest sites which are generally high and exposed.
“As soon as we released him he ran over to his sister and snuggled up in the corner with her. I suspect he’ll take a couple of days rest before trying again.”
The peregrines have proved popular with Cathedral visitors, who can see the nest box activity relayed live on monitors in the Cloisters. There are also special RSPB Tower tours with Anya Wicikowski, RSPB Community Engagement Officer, and an expert Cathedral Guide every Wednesday in June and July at 13.15. The RSPB tour can be booked online here or at the Cathedral Welcome Desk. Please make sure you book the correct date and time and check the terms and conditions.
The Cathedral is also collaborating with the RSPB on a Date with Nature experience sited in a marquee on the West side of the Cathedral (or in the Cloisters if it pours with rain). The experience is free and available between 11:00-16:00 when members of the public can join RSPB volunteer peregrine experts and use their telescopes to spot the young peregrines with their parents as they learn to fly.
To learn more about Creatures in Crisis and Kevin drew its founder go to http://www.creaturesincrisis.org/
For any other enquiries contact Marie Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org 01722 555148