Peregrines go live

by Michael Ford last modified 26 Mar, 2019 03:24 PM

Things are hotting up on the Cathedral Tower as its peregrine cameras go live.

The resident female Sally has been seen on the nestbox and balcony, but there are challengers.

An unringed pair have also been caught on camera, making themselves a home on the nestbox and, on 21 March, a food exchange was observed on the parapet above the nest. First the unringed male flew in with a sparrow in his talons, then he was joined by the female, who took his gift.

The Cathedral has told us that a male has been hanging around with Sally too.

Footage and stills here

On 17 March she was spotted on the nestbox and within minutes was joined by an un-ringed male, who sat above her on the parapet. Was he there to court Sally, or was he the other female’s mate keeping an eye on the nesting site?

There didn’t appear to be much love lost between the two peregrines. He departed the moment she moved up onto the parapet and later on she is seen chasing other peregrines that swoop by. So the million dollar question is:

If Sally fails yet again to find a mate, will there be a repeat of last year’s battle for the nesting site?

The unringed pair certainly look like they intend to stay. When they meet on the nest they are most definitely courting, bowing to one another and scraping a hollow in the box’s gravel.

This doesn’t augur well for Sally. Fights over nest sites can result in the death of one or other bird.

Those who followed the peregrine saga last year may remember the battle for the nestbox that was shown on Springwatch. Sally and a challenger female fought for nearly an hour.

Both escaped the encounter with their lives, and Sally held her territory, but she did not breed. 2018 was the first time since the peregrines returned to the Cathedral six years ago that no chicks hatched on the Tower.

Footage and stills of the fight, the unringed pair courting, and food sharing here

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