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A real egg in time for Easter!

Wednesday 5th April 2017

The first egg of 2017, webcam image from Derby Cathedral Peregrine ProjectThe first egg of 2017, webcam image from Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project

Fears that a new male peregrine at Derby Cathedral would be unable to breed this year have been laid to rest as an egg was spotted by sharp-eyed webcam viewers this morning.

It’s the latest date on which the first egg has been laid since 2007, probably because of the disruption caused by the arrival of the new (ringed) male. There were concerns that he might be immature or somehow not up to the job have proved wrong. His plumage suggests he is fully adult, and his frequent offerings of food to his new partner, he's entirely capable of successfully replacing the old male.

It is expected that there will be more eggs laid at roughly two day intervals. It remains to be seen if we will we get a full clutch of four this year; one nest at an urban site elsewhere in the UK had a remarkable six eggs! Watch the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project webcams at www.bit.ly/derbyblog over the next week to find out.

The peregrine is the world’s fastest bird, reaching unbelievable speeds of up to 390kph. Numbers fell dramatically in the 1950s and 60s due to the use of persistent pesticides, and by the 1970s, peregrines were so scarce that in some years not a single bird was seen in the county. After the pesticides were banned peregrine numbers started to slowly recover.

A pair of wild peregrine falcons adopted Derby Cathedral's tower in 2004. A specially constructed nest platform was built for them and the birds laid eggs for the first time in 2006. They have raised between two and four chicks each spring ever since.

The Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project is a partnership project between Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Derby City Council, Derby Cathedral and Cathedral Quarter; it aims to bring people a little bit closer to these amazing wild birds of prey. Donations to the project are always welcome, contact Derbyshire Wildlife Trust on 01773 881188 during office hours for further details.