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Peregrine falcon chicks hatch at Norwich Cathedral

PUBLISHED: 14:45 27 April 2020 | UPDATED: 14:45 27 April 2020

Peregrine falcons have been a familiar site at Norwich Cathedral since 2011. Picture: Chirs Skipper

Peregrine falcons have been a familiar site at Norwich Cathedral since 2011. Picture: Chirs Skipper

Chris Skipper 2017

A peregrine falcon nesting on the spire of Norwich Cathedral has hatched three chicks, with a fourth expected to follow.

A peregrine falcon nesting on the spire of Norwich Cathedral has hatched three chicks, with a fourth expected to follow. Picture: Hawk and Owl TrustA peregrine falcon nesting on the spire of Norwich Cathedral has hatched three chicks, with a fourth expected to follow. Picture: Hawk and Owl Trust

The hatching has sparked excitement among wildlife watchers and has been heralded positive news during an otherwise difficult time for lots of people.

The chicks began to hatch on Sunday, with volunteers, who keep an on the birds via webcams fitted to the nest, noticing the eggs were ‘pipping’ as the chicks broke the shell with their beaks at around 10.30am.

Volunteers kept a close eye on the nest throughout the day, then at around 5pm, a broken egg shell could be seen lying in the nest and the first chick was caught on camera at 5.21pm.

By Monday morning there were three chicks with a fourth expected to follow.

Peregrine falcons have been a familiar site at Norwich cathedral since 2011. Picture: Chirs SkipperPeregrine falcons have been a familiar site at Norwich cathedral since 2011. Picture: Chirs Skipper

Zoe Smith, urban peregrine project officer for the Hawk and Owl Trust, said peregrines usually lay a clutch of four eggs, which the parents start to fully incubate from the moment the last egg is laid.

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The incubation period normally lasts around 34-days.

This year, the female, known as GA, laid her last egg on March 23.

A peregrine falcon nesting on the spire of Norwich Cathedral has hatched three chicks, with a fourth expected to follow. Peregrine falcons usually lay a hatch of four eggs, here GA, the female falcon at the Norwich nest can be seen with her eggs . Picture: Hawk and Owl TrustA peregrine falcon nesting on the spire of Norwich Cathedral has hatched three chicks, with a fourth expected to follow. Peregrine falcons usually lay a hatch of four eggs, here GA, the female falcon at the Norwich nest can be seen with her eggs . Picture: Hawk and Owl Trust

Ms Smith said: “It’s nice positive news and people can watch from home which is really nice at the moment.”

Ms Smith added that once hatched it wouldn’t take long for the young chicks to leave the nest and take their first tentative flights, she said: “It will take about six to seven weeks, it’s quite fast, we think about the first week of June will be when they take their first flight.”

She said after taking to their first flights the young birds would stay with their parents for a little while before venturing elsewhere to find their own territories.

The Hawk and Owl Trust would normally have a watchpoint set up in the Cathedral Close to allow members of the public to see and learn about the resident peregrines.

A peregrine falcon nesting on the spire of Norwich Cathedral has hatched three chicks, with a fourth expected to follow. Picture: Hawk and Owl TrustA peregrine falcon nesting on the spire of Norwich Cathedral has hatched three chicks, with a fourth expected to follow. Picture: Hawk and Owl Trust

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent social distancing the watchpoint has had to be postponed instead people are being encouraged to watch the birds via the nest’s webcam.


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