Peregrine watch point opens today at foot of Norwich Cathedral
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
The spectacle of Norwich Cathedral's peregrine falcons hatching their chicks will be on offer to the public as of this morning as a special watch point has been erected at the foot of the spire.
Halfway up the cathedral, the Hawk and Owl Trust nesting box has been in place since 2011 and seen five generations of peregrine chicks fly the nest.
Last weekend the first two eggs of the season arrived to much excitement, and now a 60-strong team of volunteers are on hand to guide people through the breeding season.
The watch point will be available until the middle of summer, after the 2016 chicks have fought for their survival and become independent.
Nigel Middleton, of the Hawk and Owl Trust, said events will now develop very quickly on the cathedral spire.
'It is quite wonderful how this has captured the imagination of residents of Norwich,' he said. 'While we get a lot of visitors, a large proportion of those we see are local people. We usually get around 30,000 people visiting from now through to the end of June.
'Over the next three or four days we will get the other two eggs, then the female will start to incubate. Some people get concerned when the eggs get left on their own, but she will not incubate until she has laid them all.'
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This year the established pair of birds will also feature on a big screen at Norwich Castle, opening access to the falcons for even more visitors.
'The chicks will all hatch around the same time and that is when it can get exciting. The screen at the castle will open towards May, and the benefit of that is the chicks will just be starting to hatch.
'The idea stemmed from when the castle had the Wonder of Birds exhibition, and as that was so successful they invited us to set up a live link.
'This building is synonymous with Norwich, and so many people around the world have links here that it has become so popular.
'The birds come here because they can use it as a huge cliff face, and it is one of the highest boxes in the country.'
Six telescopes and binoculars have been lent to the watch point by Viking Optics, and are available free from 10am, when the watch point will open to the public.
More than 60 volunteers have already signed up but the team are welcoming more.
For more information call 01328 856788.