Peregrine Falcons : Hatched & Fledged from the Tower | Salisbury Cathedral

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Peregrine Falcons

These powerful birds of prey have made the Cathedral their home.

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Peregrine Falcons

We are delighted that peregrine falcons make our tower their home in their breeding season - there have been records of them nesting here between 1864 and 1953, after which there was a long period of absence caused by persecution and the use of organophosphates.

 

In 2014 a mated pair nested, producing and fledging four chicks successfully in a nestbox built by the Works Yard team. Since then peregrines have hatched and fledged from the Tower every year except for 2018, when a territorial battle between two females prevented laying. 

 

Our resident peregrines are so popular they even have their own YouTube channel and all our chicks are ringed so that we can follow their progress. One of our peregrines, Sally (an adult female), is fitted with a satellite tracker.

 

Our 2020 nesting season has got off to a great start with an unringed female laying her first egg on Mother's day - we now have four! We think she may be incubating now - this doesn’t start until the last egg is laid, but given that a normal clutch is around 3-4, it is highly likely that she has started. Watch this space. Incubating takes around 29-30 days, which would mean chicks in early May.

 

Phil Sheldrake, our Nature Conservation Adviser says: “Peregrines do sometimes lay five, or more rarely six eggs. We are hoping it’ll only be four just for the sake of the female. Incubating more than four can be a challenge and often an egg can be left uncovered. It’s also a lot of mouths to feed if they eventually hatch. Once the female settles to incubate the male will do most of the hunting and assist with egg sitting.” 

For all the latest news read our regular perergine blogs here.