Norwich Cathedral Peregrines Update – Tuesday 14th June 2016

It is with regret that the Hawk and Owl Trust has to announce that the final chick to fledge from the cathedral has been killed by the new female (GA) as of 9.15pm on the evening of Monday 13th June.


“The drama all started on the 15th May when our resident female here at Norwich disappeared after an altercation with the intruding female falcon.  With the loss off the resident female, the Hawk and Owl Trust was concerned for the 4 chicks and not sure if the Tiercel (male) could provide enough food.  Thankfully he turned out to be an excellent provider.  Last Thursday (9th June) when chick 43 fledged from the platform at 6.44am, she ended up on the wall of the Deanery, this created a problem as it is known that the Tiercel would not come that low to feed, so it was taken back to the Bell Tower by a Hawk and Owl Trust employee, within a matter of minutes the new intruding female who by this time was well and truly established her dominance at the spire.  She started to attack chick 43, knocking her onto the bell tower roof this happened on several occasions.  Later that day she was again seen attacking chick 43, and by 5.00pm the Hawk and Owl Trust received a call from a member of the cathedral staff for say that 43 had been found dead in the Cathedral grounds it had suffered a severe eye injury.   The body was sent to a local vet for a post mortem the results are still to be confirmed.

On Friday evening (10th June) chick 41 fledged from the platform and was found on Saturday morning in the Upper Close.  After four attempts at putting her back on the Cathedral, she finally succumbed to the barrage of attacks from the new female forcing her to land on the pavement in Tombland.  The Hawk and Owl Trust staff decided to intervene as these were exceptional circumstances.  It was found that she had an open wound injury on her wing.  She is now being rehabilitated under the supervision of Neil Forbes one of the country’s top avian veterinary surgeons.

On Monday morning (13th June) at 5.21am, chick YY fledged from the platform and subsequently landed at ground level.  She was immediately put back on to the Cathedral only to be attacked by the new female and ended up on the ground, again a second attempt was made to place her back on the Cathedral, which also failed.  So a decision was made to take YY into care.

With a single chick 42 left on the platform, the hope was that the Tiercel could provide more food, enabling her to become strong enough to fledge and fly.  Sadly this was not to be and at  approx 9.15pm Monday evening the new female attacked chick 42, knocking her off of the platform, she was subsequently found dead on the Bell Tower roof this morning.  The behaviour of the new female has baffled  not only the Trust but also peregrine experts, it was widely known that adult female peregrines  and male will attack each other over territories but for adults to attack fledglings in juvenile plumage is very rare.

The Hawk and Owl Trust hasn’t taken the decision to bring birds in for rehabilitation lightly and it is on welfare grounds that this has been taken.  Once the remaining chicks (YY and 41) are fit and healthy, they will be released back in to the wild at a location here in Norfolk to allow for the male and females legacy from 2016 to live on.

Also as of midday on 14th June, the new female, GA, has been seen entering the nest box to consume a feed there.   This has shown to us here at the Hawk and Owl Trust that she has now asserted her dominance on what she now recognises as her territory on the Norwich Cathedral spire.  With evidence recently that our resident Tiercel has been seen to be showing bonding behaviour towards GA, there is now a possibility that she could be the new breeding female at Norwich Cathedral for 2017 onwards, but we will have to wait and see.

The Hawk and Owl Trust would like to take this opportunity to thank our followers online and on social media, the staff and volunteers at our Cathedral watch point and the cathedral community and staff for the resounding support during this very traumatic time.”

Thank you

Nigel Middleton – Hawk and Owl Trust Urban Peregrine Projects Co-ordinator

Tuesday 14th June 2016

Chick 42 seen tumbling off of the nesting platform as GA dives at her and knocks her off. (9.15pm on 13th June)
Chick 42 seen tumbling off of the nesting platform as GA dives at her and knocks her off. (9.15pm on 13th June)
Chick 41 seen on the Cathedral as of 7pm Saturday evening (11th June) before she was taken into care. (Credit - Martin Lippiatt)
Chick 41 seen on the Cathedral as of 7pm Saturday evening (11th June) before she was taken into care. (Credit – Martin Lippiatt)
GA seen in the nest box at 12.13pm on Tuesday 14th June showing her dominance in her new territory.
GA seen in the nest box at 12.13pm on Tuesday 14th June showing her dominance in her new territory.

14 Responses to Norwich Cathedral Peregrines Update – Tuesday 14th June 2016

    • Both the male peregrine and GA (the new female) are both being seen in the nest box at the moment.

  1. I think you are forgetting that the peregrines are under conservation and wild life protection. The peregrines is slowly recovering, after a serious decrease back in the 60’s and hence, Britain, Denmark and Netherlands are among the countries, whom are working hard to help these beautiful birds to survive from extinction. Further more, you have no idea how the chicks will be handled and the conception you have about it, is very unlikely. Keep in mind that the chicks HAS been fed by the mother and later on by their father. Over all, your accusation is uncalled for. Get your facts straight before speaking your mind

    • Both the male peregrine and GA (the new female) are both being seen in the nest box at the moment.

  2. I was enthralled by the tiercel and as his four chicks grew into beautiful fledglings was even more enchanted. Their mother the falcon was a marvellously devoted parent too.Its been a thrilling journey . I was terribly saddened by the deaths of two of these fledglings . A huge thank you to the Hawk and Owl Trust for all you have done and still do ,the updates and the brilliant little videos you have posted .

  3. I found this most beautiful nest site late into the season as the babies were beginning to fledge. The view of lush green lawns and large homes is breathtaking and now my favorite nest site. I began watching the baby falcons each morning and until early afternoon my time in Santa Barbara, California, USA.

    I’m so sorry two babies didn’t live after fledging, and that if it weren’t for the new outsider female they would have. Very sad to learn of her.

    I’m very happy baby falcon YY is in care because she was the most feisty of all and I knew she would be a strong survivor once out into her new world of falconhood. So grateful too for falcon baby 41. Now we have great hope for these two to live on and breed more for us to all cherish, love. My new found love of these birds has given me a new appreciation of all the birds I now hear an see for the rest of my life.

  4. I shall so miss following the intimate glimpses into the development of the peregrine chicks.
    It has been a source of joy and wonder and anguish.
    But however harrowing, this is nature and the fine line between observation and involvement seems to have been followed with great sensitivity, both to the birds and the many like me watching on our small screens.
    Thank you.

  5. It’s been wonderful watching the little chicks grow but so very sad for two of them to come to an abrupt end. The dad was a real superstar. Nature is so cruel sometimes. Here’s hoping the two remaining chicks make a full recovery.

  6. A big thank you to everyone involved in the recent events and the rescue of the 2 surviving fledglings. feelings have been running high on the forum over the past couple of days but in retrospect it must have been a lot more distressing for you guys actively having to deal with what happened and a big thank you to all the HOT staff and volunteers for saving the 2 that you could. Hope at some point in the future we will get an update on how they are doing.

  7. How sad nature can be. I was addicted to watching last year. What a fantastic insight into these birds lives.

  8. i want to say a word of thanks for all involved and for keeping a close eye on the situation there. glad the other two are being rehabilitated and hopefully will fledge and be free and strong

  9. Fascinating events. What amazing birds peregrines are. Many thanks to the hawk and owl trust for their input in raising the profile of these birds and for allowing people to keep up to date with what has been happening via the website.

  10. This really is dramatic stuff and such scenes are seldom seen. Whatever one may feel about the intruder falcon what is witnessed here is nature and we should not project human values onto it. Good to see that intervention has a place too and that all the hard work of the volunteers (and indeed the tiercel) is not for nothing.

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