Ringing Salisbury Cathedral’s avian belles

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THREE PEREGRINE falcon chicks have hatched in a nest on the spire of Salisbury Cathedral.

A year ago three chicks became the first to hatch in a new nesting box halfway up the cathedral’s 403ft spire, for more than 60 years.

Gary Price, the cathedral’s Clerk of the Works, said the chicks can be watched from a telescope on the lawn or on a screen in the cathedral cloisters.

Four eggs were laid in the nest but the cathedral webcam has gone offline so Mr Price said they were waiting to see if there is a fourth chick to report.

Peregrine falcon numbers declined owing to illegal shooting and use of certain pesticides on farms.

But recently a pair was spotted at York Minster.

They have been nesting high up on the North Tower since November and staff at the historic place of worship suspect that the female has laid eggs.

The pair have been beaten to producing their brood by the arrival of new born peregrine chicks in Lincolnshire, where two of the birds have produced the last of three offspring over the bank holiday weekend at their nesting spot atop St James’s Church in Louth, according to reports.

North Yorkshire wildlife artist Robert Fuller, who has captured photographs of the birds that have been nesting at York Minster, said the York peregrines – dubbed ‘Mr and Mrs Minster’ by locals – are a little late as normally peregrines lay eggs in early April, if not before.

Two peregrine chicks hatched on a specially-erected nest platform on the University of Sheffield’s St George’s Church lecture theatre four weeks ago and the Sheffield Bird Study Group, which studies their movements, said the chicks were now starting to exercise their wings. Earlier this month the chicks were ringed by members of the Sorby Breck Ringing Group. A licence was obtained by the group to allow Sorby members to access the nest.