Peregrines at the Cathedral

By 14th April 2014 No Comments

Whilst in our previous blog we suggested bird watching at Chichester Harbour, it is by no means the only place to see some stunning wildlife. Right now, one of the most exciting places for ornithologists in the city is the cathedral, as it’s home to a pair of breeding peregrine falcons.

The cathedral has long been a breeding place for peregrine falcons; whilst their natural breeding places are usually in sheer cliffs, the tall spire is a perfect manmade alternative. However this year has seen something of a change, as the long-lived female who has been seen over the last thirteen breeding seasons didn’t return with the spring. Instead, there is a new peregrine female, who had three males vying for her attention over the last few weeks.

Having made her choice, last week it was confirmed that the first egg had been laid, to the delight of observers including the Sussex Ornithological Society, who supplied the nest box.  According to experts, peregrines can lay up to four eggs, but at the time of writing only one has been seen. Both parents will help to hatch and nurture the chick, which is expected to hatch around the beginning of May.

Visitors to Chichester will be able to follow the peregrine family at the Cathedral’s Cloisters Café, with live footage beamed to a screen and a host of well-placed telescopes as part of the RSPB’s Date with Nature project, which runs until the 6thJuly.

You can also view the peregrines on a webcam at the RSPB’s website, which is focussed on the nestbox so that you can see the parents protecting their egg and keeping it warm.

The peregrine falcon is a bird of prey renowned for its speed; its high speed hunting dives reach 200 miles per hour, making it the fastest member of the animal kingdom. They suffered a population crash in the 1960s and were endangered or extinct in many parts of the world, however thanks to conservation and protection work their population has bounced back in Britain. They are wonderful birds to watch, and we will be keeping an eager eye on their progress!

The peregrines are just one of many attractions in the city and surrounding area this spring and summer, making it a wonderful time to visit. If you are looking for Chichester hotels for your stay, here at the Crouchers Country Hotel we would be very happy to welcome you!

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