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Three little birds hatch to happy parents on church tower

PUBLISHED: 11:35 05 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:35 05 May 2020

A shot from May 2 of the peregrines on top of Cromer Curch tower. Image: Cromer Peregrine Project

A shot from May 2 of the peregrines on top of Cromer Curch tower. Image: Cromer Peregrine Project

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Three peregrine falcons chicks have hatched at the top of Cromer Church tower.

A shot from May 2 of the peregrines on top of Cromer Curch tower. Image: Cromer Peregrine ProjectA shot from May 2 of the peregrines on top of Cromer Curch tower. Image: Cromer Peregrine Project

The younglings are all healthy and doing well, having already fed on a variety of birds hunted for them by their parents, Poppy and Henry.

Chris Skipper, from the Cromer Peregrine Project, said webcams set up around the peregrines’ nesting box had given the world a ‘bird’s eye view’ of the chicks’ first few days.

Mr Skipper, a founder member of the project along with his fiancée, Kim Paul, said all three eggs hatched on May 2 - the day they were due.

He said: “They’ve all had a good feed and both the adults are feeding them regularly so it’s looking good - there’s been a starling, a blackbird and a pigeon.

A shot from May 2 of the peregrines on top of Cromer Curch tower. Image: Cromer Peregrine ProjectA shot from May 2 of the peregrines on top of Cromer Curch tower. Image: Cromer Peregrine Project

“But because they’re quite small they’re not eating huge amounts.”

This is the second season the breeding pair has had chicks at the top of the tower after taking up residence there early last year. Volunteers formed the Cromer Peregrine Project, and built a nesting box for them which has given Poppy a sheltered spot to lay her eggs.

Mr Skipper said the chicks should develop quickly.

He said: “As they get bigger they’ll start eating a lot more, and they’ll probably start moving around within a couple of weeks. A few weeks after that, they’ll get feathers.”

A shot from May 2 of the peregrines on top of Cromer Curch tower. Image: Cromer Peregrine ProjectA shot from May 2 of the peregrines on top of Cromer Curch tower. Image: Cromer Peregrine Project

Mr Skipper said the Cromer peregrines had an important advantage over their counterparts on Norwich Cathedral tower. While chicks born in Norwich have little space to walk around because their box is attached to the side of the cathedral spire, the Cromer chicks have the top surface of their church’s tower to use before they attempt their first flight.

Mr Skipper said: “Once they get out of the box they can walk around, and increase their flight muscles, and do short, little flights on top of the tower before they take the big jump.”

Mr Skipper said the day of the chicks’ hatching had a special resonance for him and Miss Paul - it was the day they were supposed to be getting married, incidently at Norwich Cathedral.

Peregrine falcons are the fastest animals on Earth, and can reach speeds of more than 200mph (320kph) when in a dive.

A shot from May 1, shortly before the peregrine falcon chicks were hatched on top of Cromer Curch tower. Image: Cromer Peregrine ProjectA shot from May 1, shortly before the peregrine falcon chicks were hatched on top of Cromer Curch tower. Image: Cromer Peregrine Project

Live footage of Poppy, Henry and the chicks in their nest can be viewed on YouTube here.

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