People wanting to see the world's fastest animal breed and hunt are being invited to a viewpoint opening at Malham Cove on Saturday.
The opening will mark the start of the 15th year of the hugely popular Malham Peregrine Project, a partnership between the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) and the RSPB.
The free public viewpoint is at the base of the Cove, where Information Assistants and a team of volunteers will be on hand to show people the birds through telescopes. It will be open from Saturday 1st April until Sunday 30th July, Saturdays to Wednesdays (closed Thursdays and Fridays).
Interest is expected to be high, not least because the Malham peregrines have been starring in Channel 5's "A Year In The Wild" documentary series set in Yorkshire.
The Malham Peregrine Project is designed to enthuse local residents and visitors to the Dales about the spectacular wildlife that can be seen in and around Malham Cove, with a particular focus on the peregrines.
A report published by the YDNPA in January shows that the project helps to contribute a minimum of £330,000 to the local economy each year.
Based on a visitor survey, it shows that tourists coming primarily to visit the viewpoint contribute at least £109,000 to the local economy per year. It estimates that people who come to Malham partly to go to the viewpoint help to bring in a further £223,000.
YDNPA's Wildlife Conservation Officer Ian Court said: "We are all looking forward to what we hope will be another successful season. It's our 15th year at Malham Cove, in which time more than 230,000 visitors have come to see these magnificent birds of prey.
"It is always exciting at the start of the season, as we welcome the first visitors to the viewpoint and watch the Peregrines settle down to nest.
"It will also be a good time to work out the whereabouts of the other resident bird species such as the Green Woodpeckers, which can be seen in and around the Cove."
The RSPB's Face to Face Area Manager Jon Carter said: "It's so exciting to be back celebrating the 15thyear of the Malham Peregrine Project. The viewpoint gives visitors to Malham Cove the chance to see these fantastic birds up close. Staff and volunteers will be on hand with telescopes and we're hoping for another successful breeding season, so it's a great opportunity for the public to come along and experience the fastest animals on the planet in action!"
The latest information on the Malham Peregrine Project can be found at:
The project forms part of the RSPB's 'Date with Nature' programme of events around the UK, which make rare and spectacular wildlife accessible for everyone to see. Dates with Nature give people the opportunity to get up close to all sorts of wildlife and enjoy impressive views of creatures they may never otherwise see. Most Dates with Nature take place away from RSPB reserves and are run thanks to partnerships with other organisations such as the YDNPA. Visit rspb.org.uk/datewithnatureto find out more.
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 56 young raised since a pair first nested in 1993.
· Peregrines normally live for around six years, and so it will not be the same pair that has nested at the Cove every year.
· Peregrines feed on medium sized birds, which they catch in high-speed aerial stoops - although more often than not they fail to make a kill.