Norfolk

Norwich Cathedral peregrine falcon chicks take flight

Peregrine falcon chick fledging
Image caption The first peregrine falcon chick took flight on Thursday evening and landed on one of the pinnacles around the top of the bell tower

Two peregrine falcon chicks recently hatched at Norwich Cathedral have taken flight, the Hawk and Owl Trust said.

Four chicks, believed to be three females and one male, hatched at the end of May and the beginning of April.

The first left the nest on Thursday evening and the second followed in the early hours of Friday.

Peregrine falcons took up residence on the side of the spire in 2011 and last year hatched three eggs - the first chicks born in Norwich for 200 years.

'Flying strongly'

This year's brood was captured on a live webcam placed near the nest by the Hawk and Owl Trust.

Dave Gittens, a volunteer with the trust, said the first chick left the nest at about 17:20 BST on Thursday and landed on one of the pinnacles around the top of the bell tower.

"The parents have been looking after it and bring it food," he said.

The second took flight at 04:40 on Friday. Mr Gittens said it was later found in the grounds of Norwich School and "seems well".

There are currently fewer than 1,400 breeding pairs of peregrine falcons in the UK.

Although they usually favour rocky cliff tops to make their nests, pairs have bred successfully in places as diverse as a disused nuclear reactor, and on top of a building belonging to Nottingham Trent University, as well as cathedrals in both Norwich and Derby.

The webcam which captured the Norwich peregrine chicks was set up on a platform 75m (246ft) above ground by the trust, and the cathedral also has a viewing point open to the public.

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