22/03/2014
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Peregrines return to Norwich Cathedral

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The Norwich Cathedral Peregrine Falcons have been busy building scapes in their nestbox, in anticipation of the coming breeding season. Photo courtesy the Hawk and Owl Trust.
The Norwich Cathedral Peregrine Falcons have been busy building scapes in their nestbox, in anticipation of the coming breeding season. Photo courtesy the Hawk and Owl Trust.

For the third year running, a pair of Peregrine Falcons has returned to Norwich Cathedral, Norfolk, and is already starting to prepare for the breeding season, the Hawk and Owl Trust (HOT) has announced.

The pair has been seen visiting their nestbox, some 80 m up the spire of the cathedral. They are also calling loudly to each other, while the male ‘swaggers’ to the female to impress her. Two nest scrapes are visible in the nestbox; the female will choose one when she lays her first egg. Laying usually takes place in late March into April, with a clutch of three to four eggs.

It hasn’t all been pre-breeding bliss for the pair, though. At this time of year Peregrines that have not yet found a nest site and partner will be searching for them in earnest – and desirable nesting sites are in short supply. Those that have staked their claim on one have to vigorously defend it against those that come prospecting, as happened in Norwich earlier this month.

The male gallantly defended the nest against a determined intruding female. After much hollering and aerial tussling she was finally repelled by the resident pair. This exciting struggle was caught on camera; you can view the video below.

When staff at HOT watched the footage they found that the intruder was wearing an orange/red ring with the code ‘DP’ on her left leg. This information was sent to the British Trust for Ornithology, who revealed that the bird is from London and about three years old.

The trust will again be running its Urban Peregrine Watchpoint, from 1 April. Viking Optical are sponsoring the event and will provide telescopes for visitors’ use. Last year some 30,000 people visited and even more are expected this year.

Click here for more information on the Peregrines and the watchpoint. And you can view a live stream of their antics here.

 

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Written by: Birdwatch news team