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And to end the week a good news story:

National Trust sites prove successful breeding grounds for peregrine falcons - National Trust

Peregrine Falcon with chick at Corfe Castle in Dorset, cared for by the National Trust. Credit Richard Caldow
Peregrine Falcon with chick at Corfe Castle in Dorset, cared for by the National Trust. Credit Richard Caldow

Eleven rare peregrine falcon chicks have successfully hatched and are soon to fledge at four sites cared for by the National Trust.

A pair of peregrines, which first found fame at the start of lockdown when they built a nest 70 feet (21 metres) up on the Keep walls of the 12th Century Corfe Castle, have successfully reared three chicks; and eight chicks have been discovered over the past few weeks at three sites cared for by the conservation charity in the High Peak Moors area of the Peak District. A ninth chick is also about to fledge on a site adjacent to National Trust land.

It is the first time the raptors have nested in the ruins of Corfe Castle since the 1980s, and the discoveries of the breeding pairs in the Peak District mark a doubling in numbers of this special bird since recording began in 2012.

At Corfe, the team suspect the birds moved in because of the absence of visitors due to lockdown. Tom Clarke, Nature Engagement Officer for the National Trust says: “Despite the peregrines having up to 700 visitors walking past each day after we reopened, the youngsters are doing well and are starting to fledge. The peregrines moving in just as we went into lockdown was perfect timing. It gave them a quiet castle to make a nest and lay their eggs. By the time we opened the eggs had hatched and the parents were very unlikely to abandon their nest."

The latest discovery of two chicks and their parents in the High Peak Moors was made by volunteers from the Peak District Raptor Monitoring Group (PDRMG). This new breeding location takes the total number of successful breeding pairs discovered in the moors of the National Park this year to six, double the average since the Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative began reporting in 2012, and its aim is to work towards encouraging at least 17 breeding pairs.

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