Norwich Cathedral peregrine falcons star on the internet

Birdwatchers are hoping to find some unusual Easter eggs at Norwich Cathedral, because a pair of peregrine falcons which have made the historic building's spire their home have mated.

And everyone is invited to keep a watch on the comings and goings at the unusual nesting platform – some 250ft above the city's streets – thanks to a webcam installed on the box.

Members of the Hawk and Owl Trust worked with Norwich Cathedral to create the platform after two falcons were spotted flying around the cathedral last year.

A female in her first breeding year and a male were seen mating on the platform, which is one metre long and 60cm wide, in March, so hopes were high for some eggs.

But then the female was ousted by a younger, more dominant female bird, and the original female has not been seen since.

However, David Cobham, vice-president of the Hawk and Owl Trust said that, on April 1, the new pair mated and scrapes in the gravel on the ledge suggest the female might be about to lay eggs.

He said: 'There is a 50pc chance that she will lay eggs, a 50pc chance that they will be fertile and then she has to be able to raise them.

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'It might be that the new female is too young, but there will be another opportunity a year from now if not. If she has not had them by the beginning of May, then it is probably not going to happen this year. They are fabulous birds.'

The male peregrine is often seen on the webcam guarding the nesting box, while the remains of pigeons hunted by the birds can be seen.

Nigel Middleton, Hawk and Owl Trust conservation officer for the Eastern region, said: 'If they do breed then they would be the highest breeding birds in Norfolk.'

On Saturday, April 23 and Easter Monday (April 24), the Hawk and Owl Trust is running a watchpoint at the cathedral where they will talk to visitors about the birds and show what they are up to through telescopes.

The project has been sponsored by Archant, publishers of the EDP, iCode Systems, Larking Gowen, Opticron, SIMM Conveyor Services Ltd and WildSounds. Any other organisations which want to get involved should email nigel.middleton@hawkandowl.org

The webcam can be viewed at www.edp24.co.uk, www.hawkandowl.org and at www.cathedral.org.uk

dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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