Rare Birds Of Prey Return To Cathedral

13 April 2011, 10:11 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

From today (13th April), visitors to Chichester will be able to watch a pair of Peregrine Falcons that are incubating their eggs on the city’s Cathedral.

The RSPB will be based at the Cathedral for its Date with Nature project, offering people a rare chance to watch the birds at close range without disturbing them.

These Peregrines have already raised 34 chicks together at the Cathedral, and four more eggs were laid between 21 and 26 March this year.

Visitors will be able to view images from the nest, and use binoculars and telescopes to watch the birds flying and perching on the pinnacles and turrets of the Cathedral.

Nesting Peregrine Falcons

At first, the project will be based at the Cathedral’s Cloisters Café. At the end of May, when the young start to learn to fly, the RSPB will move out onto the Cathedral Green.

The project runs until 10 July, and entrance to the Cathedral and use of the viewing equipment are free of charge.

Pete Harrison of the RSPB south east, said:

“This pair have been incredibly successful so far, and I’ve got my fingers crossed for another four healthy chicks this year, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Right now they’re taking turns to sit on the eggs. The female does most of the incubating, but the male is trying to do his bit this year, too. He seems a bit awkward as he tries to wiggle himself into the right position”

The powerful birds of prey usually nest on rock faces, sea cliffs and offshore islands, but they sometimes choose buildings. Chichester Cathedral has been this pair’s preferred nest site for the last 11 years.

Incubation takes about 28 to 33 days, meaning visitors could see chicks hatching in the first two weeks of the project.