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Peregrine Falcons

Peregrine Falcons breed chicks nesting at St Albans Cathedral

Last month, the news was that the pair of Peregrine Falcons (now named Alban and Boudica after a public opinion poll) were nesting at St Albans Cathedral. And now news that one of the eggs has successfully hatched!

To celebrate, Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust teamed up with the RSPB St Albans team to set-up a stand each weekend.

Telescopes at the stand will get you up close and personal with Alban and Boudica as they raise their young chick.

If you’re lucky, you might see the chick fledge for the first time or you might be fortunate enough to see the parents do a flying food drop as they teach the young chick to fend for itself! 

Pop by St Albans Cathedral any Saturday or Sunday between 11am-3pm and our volunteers will be there to help. You can also share your experiences with us on social media using the hashtag #PeregrineWatch.

The chick hatched in a purposely installed nesting tray in a location very high up on the cathedral and is being tended to by its parents. The peregrine project is part of the larger Wilder St Albans project, a collaboration between Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and St Albans City and District Council. 

The news that St Albans now has its very first peregrine chick is very exciting for everyone who has been following the story and whilst one of the eggs failed to hatch, it is understandable given that this happens in nature and it being the first time the inexperienced pair have bred.

It was a few years ago Watford was lucky to have it’s own Peregrine Falcons nesting on top of the YMCA.

The adult peregrine is a powerful bird of prey with blue/grey plumage, a white face and a contrasting black moustache, who is extremely quick and agile. It holds the record for being not only the fastest bird in the world, but also the fastest member of the animal kingdom with a diving speed in excess of 200 miles per hour.  

Numbers of the species fell through the first-half of the twentieth century to critical levels in the 1960’s but today peregrine falcons are protected by law as a Schedule 1 listed species of The Wildlife and Countryside Act. With it now being an offence to disturb the birds in any way, their numbers are slowly increasing – albeit with an estimated 1,500 breeding pairs nationwide their recovery still has ways to go.

Peregrines are only found in a small number of isolated spots in the South-east of England and the St Albans pair are one of only five pairs breeding in Hertfordshire. To celebrate the successful breeding of the peregrine pair, St Albans Cathedral ran a poll to name the birds resulting in Boudica and Alban winning the public vote.

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