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Experts Brave the Heights to Ring Peregrine Chicks at Chichester Cathedral (posted 23 May 2017)

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Experts Brave the Heights to Ring Peregrine Chicks at Chichester Cathedral

Ringing of Chichester Cathedral Chicks 2017
Ringing of Chichester Cathedral Chicks 2017

The ringing of the 2017 peregrine chicks took place on the evening of 22 May 2017.  The visit to weigh, measure and ring the chicks, was led by Graham Roberts, an expert from the Sussex Ornithological Society.  It was a climb of 208 steps and 130ft to reach the peregrines nesting box in the Cathedral's south east turret.

As well as checking that the chicks are healthy the ringing enables the team to establish the sex of the chicks - three males and one female.  They can be told apart by subtle differences in their size, the female will eventually be larger than the males and at this stage she has much bigger feet than the males.  The female chick weighed in at 840g, whereas the three male chicks weighed 675g, 650g and 635g.

The special identifying rings, fitted to the chick's legs, have no ill effects on the rare birds, but allow conservationists to monitor them throughout their lives.  This gives valuable insights into the behaviour of a species.  In total 58 chicks have now been raised from the nest box in the 16 years since they first bred successfully in 2002 - a very productive nest site!

The family of peregrine falcons have been captivating Cathedral audiences for over a month now as part of the RSPB's free Date with Nature event.  Visitors have been able to watch the peregrine family grow and fledge on the Cathedral's south east turret.  The site at Chichester was the first in Europe to host a peregrine webcam that gives an intimate view of the peregrines raising their young.  Live HD footage is beamed from the nest to the Cathedral grounds where a special viewing area is being run by the RSPB.  Entry is through the Cloisters CafĂ© and is free of charge, and telescopes and binoculars are available for visitors to see the birds.  The RSPB Date with Nature event runs until Sunday 2nd July 2017.

Click here for more information about the Chichester Cathedral Peregrines.

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