Redstarts and fledging peregrines

10th August 2022

St Edmundsbury Cathedral has just announced the arrival of a rare bird … and Winchester Cathedral’s peregrine chicks have fledged.

The RSPB have confirmed that the birds nesting in The Yard at St Edmundsbury Cathedral are rare Black Redstarts. 

There are fewer than 50 nesting pairs in the UK and the Black Redstart is on the Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern.

Due to their protected status, the Cathedral is giving the birds space to enjoy their new home until they fledge. This means moving planned holiday activities to a different area of the Cathedral grounds to ensure minimal disruption.

The birds have taken up residence in The Yard, an area of the Cathedral that’s being redeveloped to create a dedicated place for young people in the Cathedral gardens and a space they can make their own.

Rare Redstart at St Edmundsbury Cathedral

The Yard Project Lead, Jane Dow, said;

“We’re thrilled by our new visitors. To think there are so few in the UK and they’ve chosen our Yard to make their summer home! By moving our activities out of their way for the time being, we hope to provide them with a space in which they can flourish.”

Winchester Cathedral has also made an announcement: their two peregrine chicks, Elizabeth and George have fully fledged the nest and have begun their own independent lives outside of the cathedral grounds.

Keith Betton, chair and county recorder at Hampshire Ornithological, reports peregrine numbers are steadily increasing and are doing better than ever.

Keith, who appeared on Spring Watch in 2021, has personally monitored 21 nests this year – a very healthy number compared to previous seasons, though this does mean more competition between the birds.

You can find all the cathedral peregrine live webcam links here.

Within the next few months, he said the fledglings may make the odd brief visit but the parents do not encourage this behaviour and strive for them to be as independent as possible.

The Cathedral has confirmed that the nest cameras have now been switched off and will be turned back on early next year.