It’s all eyes on the live peregrine webcams at our cathedrals right now, as it’s time for the eggs of the season to hatch.
All the webcam links to watch peregrines live.
Winnie at Winchester was the first to lay, and now has three chicks, Derby has three chicks and Salisbury has just announced its peregrine family is complete with the arrival of their fourth chick.
Keith Betton, county recorder and chair of Hampshire Ornithological Society, who posts regular blogs about Winchester’s peregrines said that for the next week the female, Winnie will stay with the chicks, giving them warmth but it won’t be too long before they are too big to sit on and then she too will go hunting for prey with the male Chester, as they grow fast.
“We can expect the chicks to leave the nest tray and explore the gully to exercise their wings in their fourth or fifth week and the very first flights should be within two weeks of that.”
To view the nest via the webcam, visit Winchester Cathedral’s website.
Derby has three chicks with one egg remaining, which may or may not hatch, and you can keep up to date with the peregrines at the cathedral where there are two nest cameras on the tower here.
Salisbury’s peregrines became must-see viewing during our first national lockdown, clocking up over 600,000 views and at one point 1,000 people were watching at once. The live webcams are here.
Meanwhile it’s all eyes on Norwich which has four eggs.
You can read the regular blogs on Norwich’s peregrines here too.
Wakefield has four eggs which are expected to hatch at any moment and are looked after by the Wakefield Peregrine Project.
And Ely Cathedral has just announced it has installed a live web cam to watch its resident pair of peregrines for the first time since they arrived at the cathedral two years ago.
The birds began nesting at Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire in 2019 and had two chicks last year.
A nesting box was built in the hope they would return – which they did – and with help from the Hawk and Owl Trust, a nesting box was created for this year’s breeding season at the same spot.
We’re still waiting on news from Chichester’s peregrines who have fledged over 60 chicks since 2001. Chichester Cathedral was the first in Europe to employ webcam technology after peregrines were first seen on the tower in the mid-1990s and may well have been visiting for many hundreds of years before.
It’s less good news for Leicester’s Peregrine Project which was launched in February 2014 as a collaboration between the Leicestershire & Rutland Ornithological Society (LROS) and the local authority to monitor the habits and activities of a known pair of peregrine falcons in the city centre.
A 5-star nest platform was erected on the east facing side of the Cathedral spire in 2016 but this was unfortunately slightly too late for that breeding season but the pair have returned – but they have had less luck with breeding.
This season, they laid their first egg on April 17 but this has now been discovered to be broken. You can keep up with all the ups and downs of the Leicester peregrines here.
Cliff-dwelling peregrines almost became extinct in Britain during the last century due to the use of pesticides and have more recently re-invented themselves as city dwellers, using tall urban structures to replicate their natural nesting habitat.
About 1,505 breeding pairs currently live in the UK according to the British Trust for Ornithology survey in 2014. It’s 2002 study showed peregrines living at 62 manmade structures including one urban nesting site recorded as far back as the mid-19th Century – Salisbury Cathedral.
Cathedrals are a favourite home for these high-flying raptors who are loyal to their nesting sites with Wakefield, Lincoln, Winchester, Salisbury, Norwich, Leicester, Derby, Worcester, Chichester and now Ely, all offering sites for them – and most working with their local ornithologists or RSPB branches to provide web cam links.