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Chichester Cathedral's peregrines to become stars of the screen

Last modified: 04 April 2012

Peregrine on eggs

Image: The RSPB

Starting from 13 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 38 chicks together at the Cathedral, and four more eggs have been laid this year.

Visitors will be able to view live images from the nestbox (installed by the Sussex Ornithological Society) and use binoculars and telescopes to watch the birds flying and perching on the pinnacles and turrets of the Cathedral.

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

The project runs until 8 July, and entrance to the Cathedral and use of the viewing equipment are free of charge.

Molly Dailide 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 the female is spending her time sitting on the eggs. She regularly moves about, changing position, which gives you a chance to see the eggs. The female does most of the incubating, but the male tries to help out to give her a chance to stretch and get some exercise.”

These powerful, majestic 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 12 years.

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

Live footage from the nest camera is now being broadcast at:  http://www.rspb.org.uk/datewithnature/146937-chichester-cathedral-peregrines. Online viewers can also read updates and see new photos and footage at the project’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/chi.peregrines and on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ChiPeregrines.

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