RSPB: Fourth peregrine egg ‘failed’

The male peregrine in the skies above Chichester
The male peregrine in the skies above Chichester

The final peregrine egg in the Chichester Cathedral nest of the famous pair won’t be hatching.

The RSPB, which is running the nestcam which helped birdlovers see into the falcon family’s rooftop home, confirmed today (Monday, May 13) that the fourth egg had failed.

“Today has been the most telling sign of the fact our falcon has begun to ignore this egg, leaving it outside her warmth for longer and longer periods of time,” said the charity in an online post.

“Our expectations every year is for our peregrine family to be a complete success, but we also understand these are wild birds and this can and has happened before.

“So what happens next? As the eyases grow, this egg will be moved further out and this could result in several possible actions. First of all nothing, or it can be pushed to the very edge of the nest box and forgotten. Secondly it could be carried away and deposited elsewhere, usually by the tiercel, and finally, as happened this season in London with the Fulham and Barnes peregrines, the egg could be eaten by one or both of the adults.

“While this is a sad day for all of us here, we must point our eyes back to our vibrant and energetic peregrine family and we look forward to the exciting events soon to come.”

Out of the 42 chicks previously raised at the nest site there has been an even split of 21 female and 21 male.

This is the 13th year the female has bred at the cathedral in the nest box provided by the Sussex Ornithological Society. If all four eggs hatch and the young fledge successfully, this will bring the total to 46, almost three times more than the average peregrine nest site.

The RSPB will be based at the cathedral until July 12, offering people the rare chance to watch these birds at a close range without disturbing them.

Entrance to the cathedral and use of the viewing equipment are free of charge.

Currently, the project team is based at the cathedral‘s Cloisters Café. Then from the beginning of June, when the young are starting to learn to fly, the RSPB will move out onto the Cathedral Lawn.

Live footage from the nest camera is now being broadcast at: www.rspb.org.uk/datewithnature.

Online viewers can also read updates and see new photos and footage at the project’s Facebook page: facebook.com/chi.peregrines.