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Public asked to name peregrine chicks

by Michael Ford last modified 05 Jun, 2020 12:38 PM

A recent ringing exercise of the peregrines at our Cathedral revealed 3 females and a male chick, and to mark the 800th Anniversary of the Cathedral (the first foundations stones were laid in 1220), the chicks have been named after people who had a big hand in the early life of Salisbury Cathedral.

The names correspond with special blue ID tags with unique initials attached to their left leg.

YG - Honor
YF - Ela
YJ - Katherine
YK - Osmund

Each name was assigned a character, based on the exploits of the respective historic person. Voters could simply just vote for a name, or do a little background research by studying the chicks on the nest, via this livestream.

700 people took part in the public vote, choosing from a total of 13 names linked to people who have played a role in the Cathedral’s early history and as a way of mark the Cathedral’s 800th anniversary this year.

Names included Honor for Pope Honorius III (who permitted the Cathedral move from Old Sarum) and Ela and William/Wilhemina (for the real life Earl and Countess of Salisbury, William and Ela Longspee, who laid the first foundation stones 8 centuries ago).

The naming was made possible because the Cathedral rings its chicks annually. The ringing was done on Friday 22nd May at 8am. Observing strict social distancing guidelines and without entering the main building, Phil Sheldrake, the Cathedral's Nature Conservation advisor and naturalist Ed Drewitt, South West peregrine ringer, ringed the 4 chicks on the Cathedral Tower. The chicks were weighed, measured and fitted with 2 rings - the key ring for peregrine spotters is the blue ID ring with two initials on their left leg, identifying each individual chick.

Ringing is an essential part of the peregrine project. It means that when the birds fledge, anyone with sharp eyes, binoculars or a telescope should be able to identify one of the falcons – and even let us know where they saw them and how they were. From Peter the peregrine (who was shot, rehabilitated and is now raising his own family in a Hampshire quarry) to Pansy (who sadly died in an accident last year), these rings give a clues as to the secret lives of these magnificent birds.

Pictures of each chick can be downloaded via this Dropbox link.

There are details of each historic character on the (now closed) voting sheet, here.

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