Two eggs already laid ahead of Salisbury’s Peregrine Cam going live

Salisbury Cathedral’s famous peregrines have been hard at work and quick off the mark this year.
Ahead of the Cathedral’s planned livestream launch date – on Friday, 17th March at around 6.45pm the female peregrine laid her first egg. The second egg followed at around 1.19am. The question on everyone’s lips is whether the pair can beat last year’s total of four eggs.2023-03-20-06-45-female-with-two-eggs
The nesting pair can be watched via three cameras sited on the balcony of the south tower – two are set up to catch the action on the nestbox, while one is at the other end of the balcony, which has been dubbed the ‘larder’ because that is where the adult peregrines often store spare food.
The Cathedral team has also reopened its Peregrine Facebook Group and is currently admitting new members to share stories and footage.
Experts Phil Sheldrake and Granville Pictor, from the Wiltshire Ornithological Society and the Cathedral’s peregrine, will be on hand to help answer any questions from the public. Granville will also be blogging again this year.
Granville Pictor said: “The Cathedral’s cameras offer us a fascinating insight into the lives of these amazing raptors, and a chance to study their behaviour.
“For example, this female probably won’t start incubating until she lays her next-to-last egg – they generally lay between three and four – so we’ll see the eggs left uncovered for longish periods.
“She’ll know instinctively when to settle down and then we’ll get to see everything unfold.”
Phil Sheldrake, senior advisor at Natural England and nature advisor to the Cathedral, who instigated the peregrine project when he was working as a conservation officer at the RSPB, said: “It is good to see the peregrines back and laying. Being able to watch the breeding process like this is a great way of involving people in wildlife conservation and the natural world.
“And it’s great to see that the Cathedral is extending its environmental programme to include wildflower planting, a giant bug Cathedral, bat and bird boxes and the Queens Green Canopy trees planted on Marsh Close. Every little bit helps and encourages others to do the same.”
To date, 27 peregrine chicks have fledged from the tower and thanks to their colour rings (or Darvic rings) Phil and Granville have been able to keep track of some of them:
● Osmund (blue colour ring YK) was spotted in Guernsey in April last year
● Flo (orange colour ring TND) in Hertford in September last year
● Peter (blue colour ring GX) was spotted with mate in Hampshire and has raised his own chicks
● Aveline (blue colour ring SC) in Milton Keynes in January 2017.Map-of-Salisbury-Cathedral-Peregrine-sightings
The team wants to hear from anyone who thinks they have spotted one of the falcons – just check the letters on the colour ring on their left leg. Salisbury peregrines from 2014-2020 will have a blue ring, those from 2021 orange rings.
The adult peregrines currently nesting on the south tower balcony have been visiting the site regularly over winter, were caught earlier this month engaging in courtship behaviour.
This included bowing (when the male ‘bows’ to the female, lifting his tail and keeping his head down) and scraping (when the birds dig out the nestbox gravel with their feet to create a dip). The team has also observed spectacular courtship flights up and around the spire.
Now that eggs have been laid, Cathedral Close visitors may still see both peregrines out and about for a while, but once the female starts to incubate the eggs, the adults will take it in turns to sit on them, so only one will ever be seen at a time.
The nest box action is also relayed to a screen in the West Cloister.
Watch the live stream here:
The Facebook group is here:

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