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Early Easter egg for Cathedral

Posted By : Amber Rawlings Friday 31st March 2017

(Photograph: Two peregrine eggs in nestbox on Cathedral Tower)

The Cathedral peregrines have produced two eggs so far this Spring. The first egg was laid on Friday 31 March and the second egg was laid before dawn on Sunday.


Peregrines generally lay every two days and only start incubating the eggs when they have laid the whole clutch. Last year the pair produced four eggs, so we are watching and waiting for the next two to appear..

 

The team at the Cathedral hope to have a live video relay up and running on screens in the Tower and Cloisters soon, along with a live stream on the Cathedral website.

 

It has been an eventful year for the Cathedral peregrines. Peter, one of the first chicks to hatch on the Cathedral Tower after their successful re-introduction, was found shot on farmland in King’s Somborne, in Stockbridge on Saturday 11 March.


The wounded peregrine was identified by the blue ring with the initials GX put on him as a chick in the Tower. A member of the public found Peter and he was taken to the Hawk Conservancy Trust in Amport, where he underwent treatment for a fractured wing. He is expected to make a full recovery.



Peter and his siblings, Pip and Paula hatched in May 2014, the first chicks to be born on the Cathedral Tower after an absence of 61 years. The reintroduction was a result of a five year long collaboration between Phil Sheldrake, RSPB Conservation Officer, and Salisbury Cathedral’s Clerk of the Works, Gary Price.


Another peregrine born at Salisbury Cathedral was traced earlier this year thanks to her blue identification ring, bearing the initials SC. Aveline, one of the two peregrine chicks hatched here last year, was spotted this January in Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve, Old Wolverton near Milton Keynes - 81 miles (as the crow flies) away from home.

 

So far there are no reported sightings of her brother, Raphael, has not yet been sighted. He carries a blue ring with the initials ST.

 

Peregrines are Schedule 1 protected birds and killing or injuring one is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Numbers went into a steep decline during the 1950s and early 1960s with just 360 pairs recorded in 1963. According to the RSPB this was largely due to the widespread use of organochloride pesticides (e.g. DDT), which worked their way up the food chain, causing egg shell thinning and failed nests. Subsequent reduction in the use of these chemicals and increased protection of the birds meant that over the last 52 years numbers have begun to climb again.

 

For any other enquiries contact Marie Thomas m.thomas@salcath.co.uk or 01722 555148.