Peregrine falcon chicks ringed at Winchester Cathedral

May 12, 2021

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The three Peregrine falcon chicks which hatched at Winchester Cathedral last month, have been ringed by fully licenced members of the Hampshire Ornithological Society. The group of two females and one male were ringed on Friday morning after the members were given special access to the nesting site so that they could carefully give each chick an identification ring as well as weigh and measure the birds to check on their progress.

As per previous years, placing special identification rings on the legs of the chicks will allow their future lives and journeys to be tracked so that information can be collected on their movements and behaviours. This check is done under a government licence and each chick was given a small metal leg ring with its precise details and a larger orange plastic ring, which has big letters and numbers that can be read from a distance, using a telescope or binoculars. This will allow each chick to be individually recognised so that they can be tracked as they disperse from the territory of the Cathedral, hopefully to be picked up breeding at other neighbouring sites in future years.

Keith Betton, Chairman of the Hampshire Ornithological Society, said: “This is our one chance to check that the chicks are doing well, and to give them individual leg rings which enables us to receive information about their future travels. This is how we know that one of the 2019 chicks is alive and well in Romsey, while those from other nests have travelled to neighbouring counties and as far as Holland! Everything is done under a government licence and the birds are not hurt in any way. Winnie and Chester are great parents so they will go back to their chicks once the brief visit is over.”

Following the work of Keith and the Hampshire Ornithological Society, a male Peregrine, identified as one of the chicks that hatched at Winchester Cathedral in 2019, was recorded at St. Andrews Church in Farnham and is now known to be regularly visiting Romsey Abbey. There is increased evidence that Peregrines born at a particular type of nest site will go back to something similar when they are ready to breed. 

Now that the chicks have been ringed, they will spend another month or more around the Cathedral learning how to be independent before going their own way.

Live footage from the nesting site is currently being streamed to the Winchester Cathedral website.

Further information, pictures and diary updates on the progress of the chicks from hatchlings to fledglings is available here.


Image taken by Keith Betton, Chairman of the Hampshire Ornithological Society of the male chick