All Four Peregrine Chicks have Fledged!
- Mum: Peggy
- Dad: Peter (to mark the Dean's retirement)
- Chick: Penguin (we just loved the story of the person who misheard talk of 'penguin' falcons)
- Chick: Penelope
- Chick: Percie
- Chick: Mr Lazy (the male who took forever to fledge)!
- Since Mr Lazy fledged on Saturday the nest is now empty, so the livestream has ended.
Live Peregrine Webcam: Watch the Latest Action from the Nest
Since all of the chicks have now fledged, the livestream has ended. We very much hope to welcome Peter and Peggy back next year and bring you more action from the nest... watch this space!
After a gap of over 10 years, a mated pair of peregrines moved into the Cathedral Tower in 2022 and successfully nested, produced and fledged four chicks! They returned to the nest built by our Works Team again this year, and on Mothering Sunday, the female laid the first egg of the season. There were four eggs in total and on Wednesday 26 April, the first chick hatched, closely followed by a second, third and fourth.
The exciting news this year is that we were able to install a live hi-res camera, that operated 24 hours a day.
Thousands of viewers enjoyed watching lots of milestones: hatching, feeding, ringing and fledging, with lots of activity in between.
Let's hope they return in 2024 for more of the same!Latest News
Peregrine Drop-In Sessions
We enjoyed a series of drop-in sessions where our resident peregrine experts welcomed visitors to view the birds through a scope and shared their vast knowledge of this fascinating species - the fastest living thing on earth!
We very much hope to do the same again in 2024, when hopefully Peter and Peggy will return to once again nest at the Cathedral.Latest News
Q How long do peregrines live?
Mortality can be up to 70% in the first two years, but if the birds survive that they can live11-15 years, but the average is 6 to 8 years. The oldest recorded peregrine in the wild is 19 years 9 months in Minnesota, USA.
Q Why are they called Peregrines?
It comes from the Latin word “peregrinus” which means wanderer or pilgrim. Outside the breeding season the birds can travel widely although in the UK they tend to be more localised. In some countries they can migrate with the seasons. The scientific name for peregrines is Falco Peregrinus.
Q How many peregrines are there in the UK?
About 1750 pairs, including 30 pairs in London. Worldwide there may be over 250,000 individuals and they occur on all continents except Antarctica.
Q Do they pair for life?
Technically no, but they do return to the same nest site each year to breed so this often results in a regular breeding pair if both survive. There can be disputes though and sometimes individuals are replaced, occasionally after fierce fighting.
Q How many eggs do they lay, and why do they sometimes leave them unprotected?
From 2 to 5 but usually 3 or 4. During the first layings, usually 2 days apart, the eggs are not incubated until the penultimate egg, and often left unattended (although they are usually watching). They will then tend to hatch together and be a similar size as they grow. Otherwise there could be uneven competition for food and the smallest, if too small, may lose out.
Q Do both parents look after the eggs and young?
Yes and they have different roles. Most incubation is done by the female, but the male will sit on the eggs while the female is feeding, and often brings prey in for her to take away to a favourite feed perch. Both birds will hunt and bring food in for the young birds after hatching, and they are very attentive.
Q What do peregrines eat?
Mainly feral pigeons but also occasionally smaller birds, also wildfowl and waders, jackdaw, magpie, and perhaps smaller gulls. They always hunt on the wing and take prey in flight, sometimes at night in urban areas, where birds are illuminated from below by city lights. Adults will eat about 70 grams of meat a day.
Q How long before the eggs hatch and the young fly?
The eggs will hatch 31-32 days after the last egg has been laid. The young grow very fast and are able to fly after 5 weeks, but need a lot of practice before being able to hunt for themselves, and the parents will continue to feed them for a few weeks at least, gradually reducing dependence.
Q Are peregrines rare?
Peregrines were heavily persecuted in the 1970s and suffered from DDT accumulation until the chemical was banned. They are a Schedule 1 species in terms of wildlife legislation definition, with the highest protection, and in the Amber List of protected species.
Q What is the tiercel?
Peregrines are often referred to by gender, the falcon is the female and the male is the tiercel. She is a third bigger than him, a species characteristic called sexual dimorphism. Tiercel means a third in French, he being one third smaller.
Q When will the chicks hatch, and will they all do so?
Our clutch of eggs is likely to hatch around April 25th. Some may not hatch or get damaged, in which case the mother will move them out of the way. If a chick is too small to compete for food, however careful the adults are to share, it may not make it. If this happens, unfortunately, it likely becomes part of the food chain.
Q How fast can they fly?
Peregrines are the fastest living thing on earth, able to reach speeds of over 200mph (322kph) in a dive while hunting (called a stoop). It's much faster than a Cheetah at 70mph (113kph).
Q Will the chicks be ringed and if so why?
Yes the young are usually ringed at 3 weeks old with special “hi viz” rings so they can be identified easily with binoculars later as they mature. Each nest site has a unique colour code, the Worcester one is orange with black lettering. Ringers are specially trained by the BTO. Ringing helps research into the species and adds to a national database about the birds. (We've had no reports yet of last year's 3 ringed birds.) They will not breed or find their own territories until over 2 years old, over which time their plumage changes from browner to the grey and white of the mature peregrine.
Q Where do they go in winter?
UK peregrines are mostly resident but may move around the country. Our female tends to stay around the City and has several favourite perches. It's warmer than the countryside (urban heat island effect) and there is always plenty to eat!
Q Will the camera stay on all year?
There is little to see once the nest activity stops, with the active time being between March and June. There are two cameras, and we use one for research and monitoring which might stay on longer. If we see anything interesting (it has a motion sensor) we can record and put any news/video clips on the website. The most active month by far is May, with the parents bringing in food for the young. Look out for our May watch sessions with scopes from College Green.
Q What if I see a young peregrine on the ground unable to fly?
This can happen especially if all the chicks hatch and grow and the nest area becomes very crowded. Please call the Cathedral office and they will know who to contact. If the bird is in a dangerous place they can be moved carefully by throwing a coat or similar over them but they have very sharp claws. Please don't endanger yourself though, especially if by a road or similar. Mostly just leave them alone and report in. Once safe and uninjured we then take them back up near the nest so the parents can continue to feed them until strong enough to fly and hunt. If we suspect injury, we take the birds to be checked at the Wildlife Hospital and Rescue Centre at Beckford, who do exceptional work 365 days a year. This happened 4 times last year.
Q How long have peregrines, and this pair, been in Worcester?
Peregrines have been in and around the City for hundreds of years. They are depicted in the great West Window and parts of the stonework too. In recent years they have bred on St Andrews Tower in Deansway, and before that probably on the Cathedral. The territory, which is the whole city area, changes hands as pairs move around or are injured over the years. Our pair today has been here for four years, although we suspect at some point there was a new male. Mortality in birds of prey is quite high.