See our peregrines on Springwatch! | Salisbury Cathedral

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The Cathedral, Magna Carta and Refectory will be closed for visiting all day on Thursday 21 and Friday 22 and the morning of Saturday 23 October. Click here for opening times.


See our peregrines on Springwatch!

The two peregrine chicks that have been starred on Springwatch 2017 

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See our peregrines on Springwatch!

Posted By : Marie Thomas Wednesday 7th June 2017

The two peregrine chicks that have been starred on Springwatch 2017 have been named and ringed. 

On Saturday afternoon (10 June) Specialist Hamish Smith (assisted by RSPB Conservation Officer Phil Sheldrake and his daughter Ellie) ringed, measured and weighed the two male falcon chicks. By popular request the chick that hatched in the nest was called Dene, in memory of the Cathedral facilities manager Dene Turner, who died in 2012. Dene was fitted with blue ring bearing the initials KV.

Our adopted chick was named Wylye by nine-year-old Amelia, daughter of stonemason Alan Spittle. Amelia pulled his name out of an envelope containing names submitted by Cathedral staff. He was given a blue ring bearing the initials KT.

Wylye won the hearts of Springwatch viewers when his extraordinary story was shared on the popular natural history show. Orphaned at less that three weeks old, his introduction to Dene and his parents unfolded on camera.

Wylye was rescued by the RSPB along with his two siblings after their parents were killed by poisoned bait. The RSPB investigations team decided to foster the orphaned chicks into carefully selected nests in the wild. They wanted the chicks to have the opportunity to grow up wild rather than as captive peregrines. A suitable nest was identified in the Midlands for Wylye's two brothers, and the Cathedral agreed to offer a home him a home.


On 7 June the RSPB team put Wylye in the Salisbury Cathedral nest. Dene looked a little surprised but tolerated the intruder and, sfter a tense wait, the female, Sally returned to the nest and fed Dene first before moving on to feed Wylye. A good sign...

The orphan chick's introduction to the Cathedral is told in a short film below. You'll also find other video highlights and pictures if you click on the multimedia gallery on the top right of the story. The collection of videos and stills chart the lives of our pergerines since their return to the Tower in 2014.


Other peregerine events covered in the gallery include the adventures of Aveline, a female peregrine that hatched on the Tower last year. She was was spotted at Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve near Milton Keynes this January. You may remember that she was one of four chicks that hatched on the Tower last year. Sadly only two of the chicks survived that time - Aveline and her brother, Raphael.

Peter, another Cathedral-bred peregrine was not so lucky. He was shot in Kings Somborne and suffered a broken wing. However, all’s well that ends well. After two-and-a-half months recovering in the National Bird of Prey Hospital™ at the Hawk Conservancy Trust in Amport, Peter was released back into the wild on 24 May.

Phil Sheldrake, RSPB Conservation Officer and Ed Drewitt, a licensed ringer, see to it that all our pergerines are ringed so they we can all follow their progress and learn more about theses fascinating raptors. Keep an eye out for Ed’s distinctive blue rings with large initials identifying each individual bird. We’d love to hear from anyone with any news:

2014: Peter, Paula and Pip
          GX, GT and GV
2015: Tony, Kate George and Justice
          KA, KB, KC and KD
2016: Aveline and Raphael
          ST and SC

2017: Sally (female adult also satellite tagged) and Sebastian (adult male)
          SY and SB respectively
          Wyle and Dene 
         KT AND KV

From now until our peregrine chicks fledge, we will be running RSPB Tower Tour on Wednesdays at 13.15. Each tour will be accompanied by a RSPB expert, who can answer any questions you have about these fascinating birds. View times for scheduled tours and book.

Footage of our peregrines can also be seen here on Youtube and of course, via our live peregrine cam.

Any further enquiries, please contact Marie Thomas on 01722 555148