Celebrations to welcome peregrine chicks to town

Peregrine falcons at County Hall in Walton Street, Aylesbury
Peregrine falcons at County Hall in Walton Street, Aylesbury
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NATURE lovers will be able to celebrate the birth of two peregrine falcon chicks in Aylesbury at a special event in the town next week.

The chicks hatched at the top of County Hall last week and soon telescopes will be on hand to observe the new family, including the birds feasting on the town’s unlucky pigeon population – who are being consumed at a rate of up to six per day.

Experts believe a third egg is now unlikely to hatch, but Paul Holton, biodiversity officer at the district council, said this was good news for the two chicks.

“It gives them more chance of surviving as there is less food that the parents need to bring.”

Mr Holton said the peregrines were proving to be good parents.

“They have been divvying up parenting responsibilities between them. The male in particular, compared to other peregrines we know about, is doing more than his fair share of egg incubating.

“The chicks are small at the moment but they will get big in a short space of time and able to fly by themselves at six weeks.”

He said that in mid-May the chicks will be ringed and tagged so that they can be kept track of as they fly off around the country.

The special event will be held on Thursday, May 17.

“A couple of marquees will be set up near the clock tower where there will be loads of scopes and binoculars,” said Mr Holton.

“There will also be a stuffed peregrine from the county museum and experts and volunteers from the wildlife trust and Bucks Bird Club will be on hand.

“It’s a celebration and a chance to engage the people of the town and get them on board. They will be able to see the peregrines flying around, bringing in prey and hopefully get a sight of the chicks.”

A letter in last week’s Herald from Jean Nelson claimed that peregrines had killed birds in her garden.

But ornithologist Bill Robson said it was very unlikely the world’s fastest animals were responsible: “For a peregrine falcon to kill a bird in her garden would most certainly cause death or injury to itself.” Bird watchers have been able to keep tabs on the family via a webcam, the cost of which was met by an anonymous donation.