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Visitors to Salisbury have got even more of a reason to visit the city’s famous cathedral, especially as peregrine falcon chicks have hatched in the spire for the first time in more than 60 years.
While many know the cathedral from staying in a Wiltshire countryside holiday cottage because it is home to the tallest spire found anywhere in the UK, its height also makes it an optimal location for birds of prey to raise their young in safety. Despite this, the last bird of prey to nest at the cathedral before now was in 1953.
After setting up a box on the east side of the tower, a nesting pair completely ignored it and laid three eggs on a nest on the south side. The RSPB acted quickly to install a suitable nesting box on the south side, some 68 metres up the spire. Unfortunately the eggs rolled away and were unable to be incubated.
Pippa, Peter and Paul
However, the nesting pair returned to the cathedral earlier this year and, thanks to the nesting box, three new chicks have now hatched and are said to be making good progress. While they are yet to be sexed, they have been given the names of Pippa, Peter and Paul.
The discovery of young falcon feet was made by cathedral worker Gary Price, who had previously been worried the eggs weren’t going to hatch. His fears were put to rest following a visit on Sunday.
It’s also fantastic news for the species as a whole, especially considering that there are currently fewer than 1,400 breeding pairs of peregrine falcon left in the UK. With records of the peregrine falcon at Salisbury Cathedral dating back to the mid-1800s, it is said to be the ancestral home of the urban peregrine.
If you are already looking forward to staying in a beautiful Wiltshire country cottage in the coming months, be sure to a pay a visit to Salisbury Cathedral and catch up on the progress of these beautiful birds of prey.