Falcon drama at Salisbury Cathedral with a new egg and a lost bird

The rollercoaster saga of the Salisbury Cathedral peregrine falcons is continuing this spring, with one bird protecting an egg on a balcony of the great building but another missing in action.

A female that has been visiting the balcony regularly in recent weeks has laid one egg and can be viewed hunkering down on the nest via a cathedral webcam.

Less cheerfully, a GPS tracking device that was attached to a bird, known as Sally, that used to nest at the cathedral has stopped giving out its signal. It could be that the device has stopped working or that, sadly, Sally is no more.

Phil Sheldrake, species recovery officer with the RSPB, said: “It’s great that we have an egg – and quite a bit earlier than last year.”

The female on the nest does not have an identity ring, meaning that it is not known if she is the same one that produced four eggs last year, but Sheldrake said it was highly likely that it was the same bird.

“Peregrines do not like to be overlooked,” he said. “Salisbury Cathedral sticks out like a sore thumb above the rolling countryside. It’s like a five-star hotel for them.”

There are generally three or four eggs in a clutch and incubation doesn’t start until the last egg is laid. Once that has happened, the female – and male – will sit on the nest at intervals to keep eggs warm. Incubation lasts 29-32 days, so if all goes well, chicks should appear in early May.

Meanwhile, the tracker attached to Sally, who became a television star after featuring on BBC’s Springwatch in 2017, last pinpointed her on 3 November 2019 above the village of Coombe Bissett, three miles from Salisbury – but no signal has been picked up since.

Sheldrake said: “We don’t know if she’s alive or whether the tracker has simply stopped working. We haven’t seen her on the cameras at the cathedral and it’s quite possible the tracking device has just stopped working after nearly three years.

“She is possibly 10 now, and whilst the oldest peregrine known was at least 24, the average lifespan is around 10.” The tracker works on solar power, so if Sally has died it would probably not receive enough light to carry on working.

Salisbury Cathedral has a historic bond with peregrines, which was broken in the 20th century because of persecution and pesticides. The first pair to breed in modern times arrived in 2014. The birds have done well there since then, apart from in 2018 when no eggs were laid following an unholy scrap between Sally and an unringed female.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Enter Your Information Below To Receive Free Trading Ideas, Latest News, And Articles.

Please Enter Your Email Address:




Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us and our affiliates. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!

Latest

Lemon juice, legumes and local activism: what green habits have you adopted in 2020?

Embracing the good life with sustainable eating We started to order food from the local store for curbside pickup. We went online and bought a...

Almost 3 billion animals affected by Australian megafires, report shows

Nearly 3 billion animals were killed or displaced by Australia's devastating bushfire season of 2019 and 2020, according to scientists who have revealed for...

Crown Estate grants leases for floating windfarm off Wales

The Queen's property managers have given the green light to the first floating offshore windfarm to be built off the coast of Wales, as...

Air pollution particles in young brains linked to Alzheimer’s damage

Tiny air pollution particles have been revealed in the brain stems of young people and are intimately associated with molecular damage linked to Alzheimer's...

15 of the best online second hand shops – in pictures

With campaigns such as Oxfam’s Second Hand September urging more of us to buy pre-loved clothes, here are 15 of the best places to...