The two surviving peregrine chicks were ringed at the top of the Tower yesterday by a specialist team brought in by the RSPB.
Ed Drewitt, assisted by Ryan Burrell, measured the chicks’ new wing feathers and their beaks, and placed two identification rings on each of the chicks' legs, including a large blue ring which can be easily seen from the ground and carries the bird’s unique ID.
After the chicks had been ringed Gary Price, Clerk of the Works, drew names supplied by Cathedral staff out of two envelopes and we are delighted to announce that this year’s female has been called Aveline and carries a blue ID ring with the initials SC on it. Meanwhile the male, which is now known as Raphael, carries a ring with the initials ST.
Originally there were four chicks but the recent spate of cold, wet weather may have caused two to die, leaving just the one male and one female. Fortunately Aveline and Raphael appear to be in good health and have reached all their growth milestones.
With luck the rings placed on the chicks will help to track the peregrines and show how far afield they go once they have left the safety of the Tower. However, given the distance that peregrines range, keeping track of them is tough. Only 15 out of the 150 that Ed Drewitt has ringed so far have actually been found again.
The Salisbury chicks are expected to fledge at the end of June. During this time, the adult peregrines will teach them to hunt and handle prey in flight. They should be fully independent two or more months later.
The Salisbury peregrines live their lives very much in the public eye. Special HD cameras have been set up around the nest box which relay pictures live to monitors in the Cloisters and at the top of the Tower.
Throughout June visitors can also take a special RSPB Tower tour up to the base of the spire with Anya Wicikowski, RSPB Community Engagement Officer, who accompanies the official Cathedral Tower Guide. Tours run on Wednesdays at 13.15 and can be booked online via the Cathedral website or at the Cathedral Welcome Desk. Visitors should make sure they book the correct date and time and check the terms and conditions.
The Cathedral is also offering a free Date with Nature experience in partnership with the RSPB, starting on Monday 27 June. RSPB volunteers based in a marquee on the West lawn near the Cloister, will have telescopes up and running on weekdays from 11:00-16:00 offering a grandstand view of the fledglings as they take to the air.
For any other enquiries contact Marie Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01722 555148