Peregrine falcon lays egg on spire of Norwich Cathedral
The peregrine falcons at the top of Norwich Cathedral have laid their first egg this year.
Conservation charity the Hawk and Owl Trust, which has been following the progress of the falcons since they first arrived a few years ago, said the egg was laid in the early hours of today.
The trust said a few more are likely to be laid in the next few days - and people can follow the progress via the special webcam focusing on the falcon's nesting platform on the cathedral spire.
Leanne Thomas, from the trust, said it was likely the mother bird would lay an egg every 24 hours or so over the next few days.
'We would expect over the next week or so that she will keep laying until she has three or four eggs,' she said.
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'We are looking forward to hopefully having some chicks hatch in a month's time and hope lots of people will enjoy watching what happens.'
A male peregine falcon first appeared at Norwich Cathedral a few years ago followed by a female, and in February 2011 the Hawk and Owl Trust installed a nesting platform 75m above the city's streets on the cathedral spire.
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Hopes had been high for a successful breeding season in 2011 but the female was driven away by a larger juvenile bird who went on to lay a single egg that did not hatch successfully. The peregrines have been at the cathedral all this winter and the trust now believe the falcon that laid the egg today is too old to be the juvenile female from last year. They believe it could perhaps be the original female falcon or another female.
Another peregrine has also been seen trying to visit the platform in the last couple of days, and could perhaps be the juvenile female from last year.
Cecile Tuddenham, marketing manager at Norwich Cathedral, said: 'We are absolutely delighted the peregrines have been successful in laying an egg this year and we hope very much that it will hatch and we will have some little peregrines on the spire.'
She said the cathedral peregrines had attracted a huge amount of interest and she hoped people would enjoy watching the developments via the webcam and also via a watchpoint the Hawk and Owl Trust are setting up during the Easter holidays.
• The peregrine falcon webcam can be viewed on this site.
The Hawk and Owl Trust will be running a watch point at the cathedral where the public can view the birds through telescopes during the Easter holidays starting on Saturday, March 31 March from 10am. Anybody interested in volunteering to help at the watch point should contact the Hawk and Owl Trust on 01328 856788.