Just after 8am yesterday (Wednesday 12 May) bird protection experts ringed this year’s four peregrine chicks and we need your help. In honour of the amazing work done by the Sarum South vaccine team working in the Cathedral until recently (and all the other NHS teams who have been working so hard on the rollout), the Peregrine team decided to offer up names from the field of medicine and public health. All have a connection, however distant, to Salisbury and the Cathedral. Learn more about the names here or cast your vote below.
Phil Sheldrake, Salisbury Cathedral’s Nature Conservation Adviser said:
“We have ringed them slightly earlier than last year, but they are all of a good size and you can see their adult feathers starting to show. They will grow very fast from now on and it won’t be long before we see them hopping off the nest to explore the balcony.”
Philip Sheldrake established the peregrine project at the Cathedral eight years ago, wooing the birds back after a 60-year absence. Along with Gary Price, Clerk of Works and Granville Pictor, the Cathedral’s peregrine specialist, he has overseen the development of the programme. Today the Cathedral has three camera feeds on the balcony and watching the live stream has proved very popular during the various lockdowns, with thousands of people viewing remotely both in the UK and abroad.
Sine going live in March this year the webcam page has recorded nearly 188,000 unique page views – and Monday 3rd May the page was access 9,000 times, the highest daily viewing number to-date. Videos posted on Facebook have clocked up over 2 million views in the past two months. Records show that across 2020-2021 viewers from 88 different countries have watched the birds.
Each chick now sports a distinctive orange ring, the colour used for peregrines ringed in the South region – and every ring bears a unique three-letter code that allows researchers and livestream viewers to keep track of each individual chick from now on. This year’s letters are TVD, PTJ, TND (the enormous female) and PHJ.
The chicks appear to be thriving. We believe we have two females and two males weighing in between 530grams and 830 grams – the heaviest being a female that already weighs as much as a fully grown male (830 grams). She’s very easy to spot on the nest because so she is so large.
The four Salisbury chicks will remain on the Cathedral Tower balcony until June, when they are expected to fledge. They will stay around the Cathedral for at least month after that, learning survival and hunting skills from their parents before striking out on their own.