Three chicks in Chichester Cathedral peregrine nest

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THREE of the four Chichester Cathedral peregrine eggs hatched over the weekend.

The first hatched on Friday afternoon with the second hatching the same day. On Saturday, the RSPB team announced the third egg had hatched.

All four eggs were laid over a seven day period but the fourth is yet to hatch.

Speaking on Friday, Lauren Terry, RSPB Date with Nature project officer, said: “Everyone involved with the project has been counting down the days for the first egg to hatch – it really is one of the highlights.

“This year the wait has been filled with a little more anxiety due to the fact we believe we have a new male, but now the first has hatched the rest should soon follow.”

Since the RSPB’s Date with Nature Project at Chichester Cathedral launched on the April 12, hundreds of visitors have flocked to the viewing area to see the peregrines for themselves. People can also meet RSPB staff and volunteers and find out more about the birds.

In a few weeks, the only visit to the nest will take place, when identification rings are put on the chicks’ legs and their sex is determined by specially licensed experts from the Sussex Ornithological Society.

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.