Search

Bird-lovers’ shock at Cromer peregrine death

PUBLISHED: 17:58 06 January 2020 | UPDATED: 18:25 06 January 2020

The Cromer peregrine which died on power lines pictured capturing a pigeon with its mother  in happier times.
Photo: CHRIS SKIPPER

The Cromer peregrine which died on power lines pictured capturing a pigeon with its mother in happier times. Photo: CHRIS SKIPPER

Chris Skipper 2017

Shocked bird-lovers are mourning the loss of one of Cromer’s peregrine falcons, which has been killed on power lines near Holt.

The Cromer peregrine which died on power lines pictured at a few days old.
Photo: CHRIS SKIPPERThe Cromer peregrine which died on power lines pictured at a few days old. Photo: CHRIS SKIPPER

The six-month-old male bird was one of three chicks born to a pair of falcons which took up residence on the top of Cromer Parish Church's 160ft-tall tower last spring, sparking a flurry of interest from all over the region and leading to the setting up of Cromer Peregrine Project.

Project founder member Eddie Anderson said the chick had been discovered near the River Glaven and is thought to have died by flying into high tension electricity cables.

The Cromer peregrine which died on power lines with its siblings in the nesting box at the top of Cromer church tower.
Photo: CHRIS SKIPPERThe Cromer peregrine which died on power lines with its siblings in the nesting box at the top of Cromer church tower. Photo: CHRIS SKIPPER

Keen to rule out the possibility that the falcon, which was ringed shortly after hatching, had been killed intentionally or had starved to death, experts carried out tests including X-rays, but the bird was found to have died from a broken neck.

"It obviously just didn't see where it was going," former TV producer and lifelong conservationist Mr Anderson said. "It was clearly in very good condition and the fact that it has been seen about quite a bit and has been able to look after itself is a positive thing."

Cromer Peregrine Project founder member Eddie Anderson and Hawk and Owl Trust urban peregrine project officer Zoe Bagherian-Koushkghazi helping install new cameras at the top of Cromer church tower.
Photo: CHRIS SKIPPERCromer Peregrine Project founder member Eddie Anderson and Hawk and Owl Trust urban peregrine project officer Zoe Bagherian-Koushkghazi helping install new cameras at the top of Cromer church tower. Photo: CHRIS SKIPPER

You may also want to watch:

Around half of all peregrine chicks died within their first year, Mr Anderson pointed out, so the loss of one of the Cromer brood was not "the end of the world".

"If it had died because was shot or poisoned it would be a completely different story but, although I don't want to play it down, I don't think it is a complete disaster," he said.

As mating season approaches, project leaders and volunteers are now focusing on the Cromer adults, which have been seen performing courtship rituals and could lay a second clutch of eggs by the end of March.

New cameras have been installed in the birds' nesting box at the top of the tower, with an improved viewing area inside the church also in the pipeline.

However, the lost chick will be not be forgotten, Mr Anderson said, as it will be stuffed and put on display, while some of its feathers will be kept for genetic tracking.

"Cromer has possibly one of the most accessible breeding peregrine pairs in the country," Mr Anderson said. "They've ignored the carnival, they've ignored the New Year fireworks and just got on with their lives and, for me, although what has happened is unfortunate, having these birds on our doorstep is a dream come true."


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press