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Name that Chick

by glynch — last modified 12 Jun, 2017 06:12 PM

New names and new rings for Cathedral Peregrine Chicks

Name that Chick

Photo (C) James Fisher.

On Saturday, the Salisbury Cathedral peregrine chicks were ringed, weighed, measured and named in the Cathedral Tower.

Amelia, daughter of Salisbury Cathedral stonemason Alan Spittle, named the orphan chick Wylye. The nine-year-old pulled the adopted male chick’s name out of an envelope of names sent in by Cathedral staff.

She was also allowed to hold Dene, the chick that hatched on the Tower this year. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the delighted youngster. Not many people get to hold a three week old falcon.

The home-grown chick was named Dene after Dene Turner, the Cathedral's much loved facilities manager, who died in 2012. Staff wanted to remember him in this very special way.

Lorraine Whatley, PA to the Clerk of the Works, said, “Dene would have been at the forefront of our peregrine work here and would have done all the clambering about getting the live feed cameras up and running with our technician Phil Court. He was such an important member of the Cathedral family, and naming one of the chicks after him will help to keep his memory alive, both for those who knew him and for those who never had that privilege.”

Phil Court and Gary Price, Clerk of the Works, set up two cameras this year, alongside the BBC Springwatch cameras that have been following the chicks’ progress. Footage from one of the Cathedral cameras is relayed live to a screen in the Cloisters and streamed live on the Cathedral website. Check it out here:  

The ringing was carried out by specialist Hamish Smith, who was assisted by Phil Sheldrake, RSPB Conservation Officer and his daughter Ellie, a veterinary nurse. Hamish Smith rings peregrines in the South West, including Salisbury Cathedral, as part of a long-running colour ringing project set up ten years ago by peregrine expert Ed Drewitt.

Phil Sheldrake, RSPB Conservation Officer said, “It has been a busy year peregrine-wise, given the Springwatch coverage, the satellite tagging of the female and the arrival of the orphaned chick. All worthwhile activities and now it will be nice to sit back for a while and let the youngsters get on with fledging.

“We have learnt an enormous amount about our birds this year and hope, via the female’s solar-powered satellite tag, to learn even more. These are fascinating and very beautiful birds but where they go and what they do is still something of a mystery. Now at last we will be able to discover where the female is when she is not at the Cathedral.”

“So far the female has only flown locally but she has ranged as far as Dinton and Nunton. It will be interesting to see if the same mated pair return to the Cathedral next year.”

The rings will also help the RSPB and British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) to keep track of the fledglings. Wylye the orphan was given a blue ring (denoting that he was ringed in the South West region) bearing the initials KT.

Dene also has a colour ring with the initials KV. His parents were also ringed and named a few weeks ago. The adult female, Sally, has a blue ring with initials SY and the adult male, named Sebastian, has a blue ring with the initials SB.

Marketing assistant Amber Rawlings joined the ringing team in the Tower and broadcast live on Facebook once the birds had been ringed:

Both chicks settled back into their nests happily after being ringed. Their story is charted in a special multimedia gallery on the Cathedral website, along with stories of the peregrine chicks that preceded them:

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