First chick to fledge at Norwich Cathedral found dead

Chick 43 preparing to fly early on Thursday morning

Chick 43 preparing to fly early on Thursday morning - Credit: Archant

The first of the chicks at the spire of Norwich Cathedral has been found dead just hours after spreading her wings for the first time.

Chick 43 being placed back at the cathedral by Nigel Middleton

Chick 43 being placed back at the cathedral by Nigel Middleton - Credit: Archant

Early yesterday morning, her sisters watch on astonished as she launched itself from the nest box.

As the day progressed, watchers of the webcam feed grew nervous over the fate of chick 43. Historically, the peregrine chicks have a survival rate of around 50pc, and the early flights can be risky.

'Their first flights can be some of the most crucial for the chicks and are nerve-wracking for all to watch,' said a spokesman for the Hawk and Owl Trust. 'In previous years accidents have occurred where a chick may accidentally fly in to the Cathedral wall, or netting of a goal post in the nearby Cathedral Close. In the event of an injury, the Hawk and Owl Trust will intervene working with a local bird of prey rehabilitation group, to assist and treat any injured chicks. However if it were to die as part of an accident then that is sadly just nature.'

The chick had ended up landing on the wall of the Deanery in the Cathedral Close, so low to the ground she was unable to make her way back up to the nest box.


You may also want to watch:


As a result the Hawk and Owl Trust intervened by placing her close to the base of the spire, where she is more likely to be fed by the male.

The team are also keeping a close watch on the intruder female from Bath, called GA, who has taken up residence at the cathedral after the chick's mother left the area.

Most Read

'She has so far shown little interest in our chicks whilst they have remained in the nest box,' added the spokesman. 'However, now that they have started to fledge, she may well start to see them as intruders in to what she now recognises as her territory in the absence of our resident female. 'Whatever may happen with interactions between all the peregrines once airborne at Norwich Cathedral, we must accept that this is nature as seen red in tooth and claw and must be allowed to occur without any intervention.

'All species are in a constant struggle for survival and have a strong need to pass on their genes to the next generation. This will create competition between and within species and is what may witness at Norwich Cathedral.'

'Within a short while after being returned to the bell tower, she was seen to be harassed by the now dominant female (GA) who would have taken her to be an intruding peregrine. 'Once chick 43 had left the safety of the nesting platform, GA would no longer see them as fledglings and would have felt threatened in what she now preserves as her territory in the absence of our missing female. Chick 43 has now been sent to have a post mortem so that we can establish the exact cause of her death. With our future fledglings, the Hawk and Owl Trust stands by the policy that in the event of an injury to any of the remaining chicks, the Trust will intervene, working with a local bird of prey rehabilitation group, to assist and treat them, however if any of the chicks were to die as part of an accident then sadly that is nature.'

Chick 43 was found dead at 5.30pm yesterday, almost 12 hours after fledging. A post mortem will take place today.

•To watch the live feed visit www.hawkandowl.org

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter