Breeding season begins for Norwich Cathedral peregrines

New-born falcons feeding

New-born falcons feeding - Credit: Archant

They have survived the winter, and now breeding season has begun in earnest for Norwich Cathedral's spectacular peregrine falcons.

Fledge day in 2015 as the young birds take flight

Fledge day in 2015 as the young birds take flight - Credit: Archant

Conservationists from the Hawk and Owl Trust have been monitoring the birds via a live feed from a camera overlooking the nest, half way up the cathedral's spire.

Lin Brice, of the Hawk and Owl Trust in Norfolk, said it had been a busy winter for the birds, with unusual behaviour seen from them over the colder months.

'They are a good strong pair there and they are both in prime breeding condition, with another three or four more years at the top of their game,' she said.

'Usually the female will leave, but because it is a really good nesting site, the male will stay and defend it. She has been around quite a lot this year, which is the first time we have seen that behaviour, and the young birds stayed around for quite a while longer than usual too.'

One of the highlights of the winter was the surprise appearance, in December, of a bird from the Trust's twin project in Bath, 200 miles away, which was attracted to the prime nesting spot.

While only the newborns at the site can be accurately aged, the team estimate the Norwich couple as 'middle-aged', and were delighted to see the female survive the winter.

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Since the platform was set up in 2011, an average of four chicks have been born each year from the nest, with a 50pc survival rate.

'They are an established pair now, so will be pairing up with each other again this year,' Ms Brice added. 'If our female had died he might be showing off to another, but luckily they are now bonding and getting to know each other again.'

The Hawk and Owl Trust has also begun its drive for up to 70 volunteers to staff the Watchpoint, which attracts more than 30,000 people each year, and will again be running an information point at Norwich Castle. It will open this year on March 23.

For details on volunteering, contact sculthorpe@hawkand owl.org or 01328 856 788.

Do you have a wildlife story? Email dominic.gilbert@archant.co.uk

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