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Peregrine falcon, hatched at Winchester Cathedral, takes up residence at St. Andrew’s Church

January 19, 2021

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As nesting season approaches, a male Peregrine, identified as one of the chicks that hatched at the Cathedral in 2019, has been sighted at St. Andrews Church in Farnham.

Identified by its orange ring, the bird in Farnham has taken up residence in the Parish, but is yet to attract a female despite its handsome appearance. In the hope that it finds a mate, a nesting tray is being placed on the roof of the Church to encourage a female, who will make the final choice when it comes to selecting the nesting site.

Peregrines generally mate for life, returning each year to the same area and even to the same nest. Over the last three years, the Cathedral’s resident Peregrines, Winnie and Chester have successfully reared twelve chicks, having relocated to Winchester Cathedral in 2017 when their home of 6 years, the Police Headquarters on Romsey Road, was demolished.

In particular, 2019 was a very successful year for the Peregrines of the Cathedral. Of the four eggs laid, all four hatched and fledged, with some of the youngsters seen regularly flying over the City of Winchester. In 2020, this was surpassed, when five chicks were reared and fledged.

The UK’s population of peregrine falcons has increased rapidly in the last five decades, from 350 pairs in the 1970s to an estimated 1,700 pairs today. The first pair of peregrines in Hampshire nested on Fawley Power Station in 1993 and there are now about 18 pairs in Hampshire, including the pair at Winchester Cathedral.

Conservationists are hopeful that 2021 will be another successful year for the Peregrines, with the birds of prey having returned to the nest, high up on the roof of the Cathedral, as they have done for several years.

Further updates on the Peregrine page will be available soon.

Photo credit: Felix Collier