It’s ‘all change’ for birds in the Dales: as starlings mass, the last swifts depart for Africa – and the closely-watched peregrine young of Malham Cove leave home.
The pair of peregrines at the Cove has this year put on a great show, successfully fledging a brood of four young. It is only the second time four young have been fledged since peregrines returned to the Cove to breed in the early 1990s.
Between the start of April and the 5th of August, more than 16,500 people stopped at a free public viewpoint at the foot of the Cove to see the birds.
A dedicated team of volunteers from the RSPB and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority contributed 151 full-time equivalent days to staff the viewpoint and help visitors enjoy the spectacle of watching the peregrine family.
Wildlife Conservation Officer at the National Park Authority, Ian Court, said: “It is great news that once again the peregrines have bred successfully at the Cove and managed to get four young away. Visitors have been enthralled to watch their story unfold and it has been great to see so many people enjoy watching this iconic bird.”
Anthony Hills from the RSPB said: “The name ‘peregrine’ comes from a Latin word meaning ‘wanderer’ – and that is what the four young will be doing now. The birds aren’t tagged but we know peregrines can range far and wide. Eventually they’ll look to find a suitable rocky outcrop or tall building to nest.”
The viewpoint at the Cove was part of the Malham Peregrine Project, a partnership between the YDNPA and the RSPB, now in its 17th year. Since the project started, more than 282,000 people have used the viewpoint to marvel at these magnificent birds.