One happy family: Joy as peregrine chicks born on church tower

The peregrines with their new hatchlings atop Cromer's parish church tower.

The peregrines with their new hatchlings atop Cromer's parish church tower - Credit: Chris Skipper

Necks have been craning skywards in Cromer following a very special birth.

Two peregrine chicks have hatched in the nesting box at the top of the town's church tower for the first time in two years. 

Chris Skipper from the Cromer Peregrine Project said people had been flocking to a watchpoint in front of the nearby Cromer Museum in recent weeks, all of them eager to catch a glimpse of the chicks' parents.

The second peregine chick of the 2022 season is hatched atop Cromer church.

The second peregine chick of the 2022 season is hatched atop Cromer church - Credit: Chris Skipper

Mr Skipper said: "It's been brilliant. The second one hatched right in front of the camera.

"It's always good to see new life being born. We've had record figures on YouTube as well, of the livestream from the camera that's up there."

Kim and Chris Skipper from the Cromer Peregrine Project. 

Kim and Chris Skipper from the Cromer Peregrine Project - Credit: Chris Skipper

A pair of peregrine falcons - the world's fastest bird - took up residence at the top of Cromer's St Peter and St Paul church in 2019, and that year they had three chicks. 

Another three followed in 2020. One egg was laid last year but no chicks were born, which Mr Skipper said was perhaps due to the presence of another 'intruding' female.

The peregrines with their new hatchlings atop Cromer's parish church tower.

The peregrines with their new hatchlings atop Cromer's parish church tower - Credit: Chris Skipper

At the watchpoint and at Upstairs Downstairs gift shop in Church Street, people can buy merchandise including cards and keyrings featuring photos of the peregrines taken by Mr Skipper and his wife Kim, with the proceeds going to the church.

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Mr Skipper said they knew the female adult there now was the same one that arrived in 2019, but it was not so easy to be sure about the male, as there was an increasing number of peregrines in our skies.

The female peregrine in flight at Cromer.

The female peregrine in flight at Cromer - Credit: Kim Skipper

In the first season, he named the male Henry - after legendary Cromer lifesaver Henry Blogg - and the female Poppy, after the nickname for the region, Poppyland - and the names have stuck.

Mr Skipper said the chicks would start to wander around on top of the church tower towards the end of May which would give them a chance to build up their flight muscles. The young birds will probably make their first attempt at flying in the second or third week of June. 

People observe the peregrines from the watchpoint next to Cromer church. 

People observe the peregrines from the watchpoint next to Cromer church - Credit: Chris Skipper

Mr Skipper said there was a third, unhatched egg in the box, but it was now probably too far into the season for that one to hatch. 

People gathered at the peregrine watchpoint next to Cromer church. 

People gathered at the peregrine watchpoint next to Cromer church - Credit: Lynn Rudd