Four peregrine falcons born at Malham Cove this spring have taken their first flights, creating a spectacle for people visiting a free viewpoint at the base of the Cove.
Initially only three downy heads could be seen popping up as the adult female fed them, but as the chicks got older and started to wing flap, better views confirmed there were four of them and not three.
Over the past two weeks the young have taken to the skies but will be dependent on the adults for food for quite some time. They will spend the next few weeks staying close to the nest site, practicing their flying skills.
Anthony Hills from the RSPB said: “It’s so exciting to see four peregrine chicks taking to the skies. Last year we had two so to have double that number this year is incredible. These famously fast falcons provide daily drama, so why not bring your family along to the viewpoint to spot the peregrine family practice their hunting skills, encouraged by their watchful parents.”
Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) Wildlife Conservation Officer, Ian Court, added: “This is brilliant news as once again the Malham peregrines have done us proud, and it is great to see the young take to the air. We are looking forward to the highlight of our peregrine season as we hope to spend the next few weeks watching the youngsters hone their flying skills right above our heads. Visitors to the Cove will hopefully be treated to spectacular views as the two adult birds will have their work cut out looking after four very mobile youngsters”.
The free public viewpoint is open from 10:30 to 16:30 five days a week, from Thursday to Monday (closed Tues and Wed) until 5 August. RSPB and YDNPA staff and volunteers – including Dave Dimmock, a photographer who is capturing the birds’ activities – are on hand to show people the falcons through telescopes.
People are being asked to adhere to the seasonal access restrictions that are in place at the Cove to help prevent any unintentional disturbance to the peregrines. These will be in place until the young birds have left the area.
The viewpoint is part of the Malham Peregrine Project, a partnership between the YDNPA and the RSPB, now in its 17th year. The latest information can be found at: