It is hoped that 2019 will be another exciting year for visitors keen to see the famous Chichester Cathedral Peregrine falcons. Once again from March until July, visitors can look forward to catching sight of these magnificent birds from the Cathedral grounds.
Since early January, the male and female have been spotted on a number of occasions, at this stage it looks like the birds are settling in well. It is hoped that another batch of chicks will be successfully fledged this year.
Peregrines were seen on the tower in the mid 1990’s and may well have been visiting for many hundreds of years before. They have been very successful nesting on the Cathedral and have fledged more than 60 chicks since the first in 2001. These magnificent birds of prey can grow up to half a metre in length and have a wingspan of over a metre. They live for 15 to 18 years and are actually the fastest animals in the world, diving at speeds of just under 250 miles an hour to catch their prey. They are also incredibly agile, and have been observed flying upside down to catch food dropped by a mate.
This year the peregrine project will be run jointly by the Cathedral, the Sussex Ornithological Society (SOS) and local wildlife enthusiasts David and Janet Shaw who have been observing the birds since 2001. David and Janet can often be found in the evenings during the season watching and photographing the action, and are happy to chat to the public about their observations. They are intending to run a series of Open Days at weekends so that visitors will have a chance to observe the peregrines through a telescope, watch the webcam footage, and learn more about the birds and their activities. The dates are April 27/28; May 4/5; May 18/19; June 8/9 and June 15/16 – all weather permitting.
The image was taken in early February and shows the female chasing the male away from his dinner! Photograph by David Shaw.