On Monday 28th April as Salisbury Cathedral celebrated its 800th birthday – the day the first foundation stones of the Cathedral were laid in 1220 -the following day there were celebrations of a different kind as the first Peregrine Falcon chick hatched, followed by a second
At around 08.14 in the morning, with no fuss or ado, out it popped and the Cathedral has the pictures for posterity.
It’s no easy job hatching – the whole process takes around 72 hours from pip (when the shell is first broken) to hatch. Generally that happens around 32 days after incubation begins – and incubation begins when the last egg was laid. We’ve kept a record of each egg’s arrival and timing and guess what? It was bang on time:
First egg 22 March 10.26
Second egg 25 March 02.27
Third egg 27 March 02.00
Fourth egg 29 March 11.49
So far, so textbook…
Newly hatched peregrines weigh in at about one-and- half ounces and double their weight in just over a week - that goes up to tenfold after three weeks. So expect to witness lots of feeding on the webcam.
The new chicks are covered with fluffy white down, and it will be at least three weeks before they get feathers, and around five weeks before they fledge. So the Tower balcony, after a long spell of being very quiet and serene, will now become incredibly busy and noisy…and rather competitive.
Staff at the Cathedral have been trying to keep a tally of page-views on the peregrine webcam page – currently it stands at around 120,000.The resident peregrines are so popular they even have their own YouTube channel
One of the peregrines, Sally (an adult female), is fitted with a satellite tracker.