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Fourth Peregrine Chick Hatches at Norwich Cathedral Nest Platform

The 4th peregrine falcon egg at Norwich Cathedral has hatched!

A tantalising glimpse of four chicks
A tantalising glimpse of four chicks

The peregrine falcons using the Norwich Cathedral nesting platform, installed by wild bird of prey conservation charity the Hawk and Owl Trust, have hatched their fourth and final egg of 2013!

At 20:26 last night, 27 hours after the hatching of the third egg, the 4th egg hatched. Just moments before, the male brought food to the nest but the female, who was covering the egg and 3 chicks, just wasn’t interested so he took it away. She then turned around and pulled two still-connected halves of an eggshell from beneath her – and started to eat it, as she had done with the other 3 shells.

David Gittens, the Hawk and Owl Trust Technical Support Officer responsible for the webcam says:

‘So, the ‘race for life’ for these four little peregrine chicks begins. It won’t be an easy ride. The Laws of Nature are tough and unyielding, or at least that’s the way it seems to us humans sometimes. To the peregrines though it’s just the way it is. They know no different and have no option but to deal with it as best they can. We will see what fate awaits them in the coming weeks. Fingers crossed!’

You can see the latest video clip of chick activity and live webcam feed at:

http://upp.hawkandowl.org/live/

Normally a bird of the sea cliffs, wild peregrines have been slowly moving into our cities, especially over the last few decades, earning themselves the nametag of ‘urban peregrines’. In Norwich, a male peregrine first appeared at the Cathedral a few years ago and was then joined by a female. The Hawk and Owl Trust installed the nest platform, 75 metres above street level, in February 2011 to give them somewhere secure to nest. The birds started to use the new platform immediately and hopes were high for successful breeding in 2011, but the female was then driven away by a larger juvenile bird. Although the juvenile female was not expected to breed because she was too young, she surprised everyone by laying an egg but it did not hatch successfully.

Happily the peregrines returned to the spire in 2012 successfully fledging two chicks, the first recorded in the city. Their first egg of 2013 arrived at about 4.30pm on Thursday 21st March 2013, the 2nd about 04.55 on Sunday 24th March. The third egg appeared at about 17.00 on afternoon of Tuesday 26th March. Their fourth and final egg for 2013 arrived on 29 March, Good Friday morning, around 6.35am.

Over a million people watched the trials and tribulations of the daily life of the peregrine family in 2012 via the live peregrine webcam or through the telescopes at the Peregrine Watch Point, set up in the Cathedral grounds by the Trust. These dedicated followers and many more are once again settling down to enjoy another season in the life of our own pair of ‘urban peregrines.’ The Watch Point started again on 25 March and will be open daily until the chicks fledge sometime in July. The live webcam is available at www.hawkandowl.org; click on the Urban Peregrine button, or on the Norwich Cathedral website www.cathedral.org.uk where you can also find directions to the Cathedral.

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