Second peregrine chick killed at Norwich Cathedral - remaining chicks taken away

The second peregrine chick died at Norwich Cathedral spire. Photo: Hawk and Owl Trust

The second peregrine chick died at Norwich Cathedral spire. Photo: Hawk and Owl Trust - Credit: Archant

An intruding peregrine at Norwich Cathedral has attacked and killed the final fledgling chick and the surviving siblings have been taken into care.

One of the surviving chicks, 41, on Saturday evening

One of the surviving chicks, 41, on Saturday evening - Credit: Archant

It is the second chick to die since Thursday last week after being set upon by the female from Bath who usurped the place of the chicks' mum back in May.

Now there will no longer be any chicks at the nest box on the cathedral spire as members of the Hawk and Owl Trust fear for their safety.

On May 15, the resident female disappeared after an altercation with the intruding female falcon, and has not been seen since.

The male did a sterling job of feeding the four chicks single handed, but last Thursday the first chick to fledge landed on the Deanery wall.

'This created a problem as it is known that the Tiercel would not come that low to feed, so it was taken back to the bell tower,' said Nigel Middleton, of the Hawk and Owl Trust. 'Within a matter of minutes the new intruding female started to attack chick 43, knocking her onto the bell tower roof on several occasions.

'By 5pm the Hawk and Owl Trust received a call from a member of the cathedral staff for say that 43 had been found dead in the Cathedral grounds it had suffered a severe eye injury. The body was sent to a local vet for a post mortem the results are still to be confirmed.

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'On Friday evening chick 41 fledged from the platform and was found on Saturday morning in the Upper Close. After four attempts at putting her back on the Cathedral, she finally succumbed to the barrage of attacks from the new female forcing her to land on the pavement in Tombland. 'The Hawk and Owl Trust staff decided to intervene as these were exceptional circumstances. It was found that she had an open wound injury on her wing.

'She is now being rehabilitated under the supervision of Neil Forbes; one of the country's top avian veterinary surgeons.'

On Monday morning at 5.21am, chick YY fledged from the platform and subsequently landed at ground level. She was immediately put back on to the Cathedral only to be attacked by the new female and ended up on the ground, again a second attempt was made to place her back on the Cathedral, which also failed. So a decision was made to take YY into care.

'With a single chick 42 left on the platform, the hope was that the Tiercel could provide more food, enabling her to become strong enough to fledge and fly. Sadly this was not to be and at around 9.15pm on Monday evening the new female attacked chick 42, knocking her off of the platform.

'She was subsequently found dead on the bell tower roof this morning. The behaviour of the new female has baffled not only the Trust but also peregrine experts, it was widely known that adult female peregrines and male will attack each other over territories but for adults to attack fledglings in juvenile plumage is very rare.

'The Hawk and Owl Trust hasn't taken the decision to bring birds in for rehabilitation lightly and it is on welfare grounds that this has been taken. Once the remaining chicks are fit and healthy, they will be released back in to the wild at a location here in Norfolk to allow for our male and females' legacy from 2016 to live on.

'Also as of midday on June 14, the new female, GA, has been seen entering the nest box to consume a feed there. This has shown to us here at the Hawk and Owl Trust that she has now asserted her dominance on what she now recognises as her territory on the Norwich Cathedral spire. With evidence recently that our resident Tiercel has been seen to be showing bonding behaviour towards GA, there is now a possibility that she could be the new breeding female at Norwich Cathedral for 2017 onwards, but we will have to wait and see.

'The Hawk and Owl Trust would like to take this opportunity to thank our followers online and on social media, the staff and volunteers at our Cathedral watchpoint and the cathedral community and staff for the resounding support during this very traumatic time.'