Last Thursday there was high drama in the skies over Chichester Cathedral! Mr and Mrs Peregrine Falcon bacame seriously agitated when a local buzzard decided to take a short cut home via the the cathedral spire. Maybe there was a little more to it… perhaps the buzzard knew that there were tasty chicks tucked away up on the turrets! Anyway she chanced her luck just too far and both Mum and Dad Falcon attempted to drive the intruder away. But the buzzard persisted until finally hit with the full force of the female peregrine and literally knocked to the ground, crashing with full force in front Pallant House.
The buzzard was whisked off to Brent Lodge Hospital where she is slowly recovering from internal injuries and a haemorrage to her left eye. She is still struggling to feed herself and will remain at the hospital for a few more days. Let’s hope she has learnt her lesson and in the future avoids flying too near the cathedral spire.
Mr and Mrs Falcon have been together for ten years now and during this time have successfully reared 42 birds, some of whom are now breeding in northern France.
This year there are four chicks born during the last week in April. They are now beginning to emerge from their turret nest which will of course prove to be a worrying time for the parents. All the goings-on can be seen in the Cloisters cafe where the RSPB have a webcam installed.
Peregrines are large falcons and thought to be the fastest flying bird in the world. They are most well known for spectacular vertical dives – known as stoops – when they can reach more than 180km per hour. They would normally nest on cliffs along the South Coast, but this pair obviously enjoy the exclusivity of the heights of the cathedral spire!