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.”
Nigel Middleton – Hawk and Owl Trust Urban Peregrine Projects Co-ordinator
Tuesday 14th June 2016