Volunteers manning a special viewpoint in the Yorkshire Dales are waiting for their first glimpse of some extra special new arrivals.
Two peregrine falcons nesting in Malham Cove are now spending their time hunting for food for their new chicks after eggs hatched but RSPB and Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority staff and volunteers at the peregrine viewpoint still do not know how many youngsters there are.
Ian Court, the authority’s wildlife conservation officer said: “It’s fantastic that the eggs have hatched but we can’t see into the nest so we don’t know how many chicks there are yet.
“As they get bigger and start to move around we will know how many there and we should be seeing them in the air in the next few weeks.”
Kate Struthers, the RSPB’s regional people engagement officer, said: “Yet again the peregrines have produced some young, which is fantastic news.
“Visitors to the viewpoint over the next few months will be able to watch through our telescopes as the birds stretch their wings and learn how to hunt.”
Peregrine falcons have recorded speeds of more than 200 miles an hour – about three times as fast as a cheetah – and have earned themselves the title of the fastest animals on the planet.
The free viewpoint will be open from Saturdays to Wednesday between 10.30am and 4.30pm, weather permitting, until August 2.
As in previous years, visitors are being asked to stay away from the nest site and the British Mountaineering Council has once again agreed to impose temporary voluntary rock climbing restrictions around it. An area at the top of the cliff has also been sealed off and visitors are asked to follow any on-site signage.
Weekly updates will be provided on a special park authority website at www.malhamperegrines.org.uk.