No one has seen them, but it’s certain that peregrine falcon chicks have hatched high up on Malham Cove.
In the past few days adult birds have been carrying food to a nest site. Peregrines have a history of being persecuted in the Dales, but this marks at least the 22nd time that a pair has hatched chicks at Malham since the birds returned there in 1993.
People can witness the world’s fastest animal in action by visiting a free public viewpoint located at the base of the Cove.
Staff and volunteers from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) and the RSPB are on hand to assist with telescopes and information from 10:30 to 16:30 five days a week from Thursday to Monday.
RSPB Area Manager Anthony Hills said: “We’re excited to have seen behaviour that suggests the peregrines are feeding chicks. The next few weeks are going to bring lots of exciting activity as the parents catch food for their hungry young ones, and of course it won’t be long before these chicks are ready to take their first tentative flights. I’d highly recommend a trip up to the Cove viewpoint to see these birds in action and to get the latest updates from the staff and volunteers.”
YDNPA Wildlife Conservation Officer Ian Court added: “The nest site is out of sight, so we don’t know how many eggs or chicks there are. But the adults have been seen taking food to the next ledge, which means they are definitely feeding young. The male bird is also keeping particularly careful watch over the nest site.”
Follow the project on Twitter for regular updates: www.twitter.com/malhamperegrine
Or join the new Malham Peregrine Project Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/malhamperegrines/
MALHAM PEREGRINE FALCON FACT FILE
- Malham Cove is one of the most successful peregrine nest sites in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, with at least 61 young raised since a pair first nested in 1993.
- The peregrine is the largest British breeding falcon. It is 38-48 cm long, and its wingspan is 95-110 cm. The female is considerably larger than the male. The upper parts are dark blue-grey, and the under parts are pale with fine, dark bars. The head has a black ‘hood’ with black moustache-like markings on the face. Juvenile birds are browner and heavily streaked below
- Peregrines typically pair for several years and may live up to 10 years old - the oldest known wild peregrine was 17 years.
- Both adult birds tend the young, which take their first flight after 5 or 6 weeks
- Peregrines feed on medium sized birds, predominately pigeons, which they catch in high-speed aerial stoops – although more often than not they fail to make a kill.
- When they go into their famous aerial stoop, peregrines have been recorded reaching speeds over 200 miles an hour, making them the fastest animal on the planet.