Girls on Top!
First Trio of female chic

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June 2009 video footage �Janet and David Shaw

Sussex's famous peregrines breeding on top of Chichester Cathedral have produced three girls and a boy.

 This is only the second time a hat trick of females has been produced by the peregrines since the birds began breeding here in 2002.

The chicks hatched at the end of April.  Their sex was identified by measuring their feet, as female peregrines have bigger feet than males.

The four new arrivals were given unique rings to identify them in the future.  DNA samples were also made during the ringing by removing a tiny feather from each chick.

The Sussex Ornithological Society's Graham Roberts, who conducted the ringing, said: "It's always an exciting moment when I step into the turret to ring the young.  When I installed this nestbox for The Sussex Ornithological Society 14 years ago, peregrines were very rare breeding birds in Sussex.  The peregrine poplulation has made a remarkable recovery and I'm delighted that so many people now have the opportunity to see these thrilling birds."

The RSPB beamed live footage from the peregrines' nest to a screen in the Cathedral's grounds below until 21 June for its Date with Nature project. 
Around 6500 people have visited the RSPB Date with Nature viewpoint since the project began at Easter.

Even though the RSPB project is now finished, the peregrines can often still be spotted (and heard!) flying over the Cathedral Green.

Resized Peregrines 2008 11
Resized Peregrines 2008 22
Carnyx chicks 20081

The peregrine is a large falcon and the fastest flying bird in the world, known for its spectacular aerial dives or 'stoops' in pursuit of its prey.  Dives have been known to reach up to 180km per hour.  The Cathedral peregrines do not hunt around the immediate Cathedral precincts, however, as there are too many other buildings and not enough space.

In Britain, most peregrines nest on cliffs, including the Sussex coast between Brighton and Eastbourne, but Cathedral turrets - such as our own - will do as they are similar, i.e. high and made of stone!

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May 2009 video footage �Janet and David Shaw

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