And then there were four!

THE day after the Bishop, Dean and Chapter of Salisbury Cathedral celebrated the 800th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone, there was more good news with the hatching of the first peregrine chick in the nest high up on the Cathedral roof – and then a second later in the day. By the end of the week all four had hatched.

The 1220-2020 anniversary was marked by the official launch, on Tuesday 28th April, of a virtual tour of the exhibition, 100 Years of Spirit and Endeavour. On Wednesday, viewers of the Cathedral peregrine webcam were thrilled to hear that the first of the clutch of four eggs had hatched. As the Cathedral press officer Marie Thomas said: “Very polite of it to wait until the art launch was over.”

Marie reported: “At around 8.14 this morning, with no fuss or ado, out it popped and we have the pictures for posterity. It’s no easy job hatching – the whole process takes around 72 hours from pip (when the shell is first broken) to hatch. Generally that happens around 32 days after incubation begins – and incubation begins when the last egg was laid.

“We’ve kept a record of each egg’s arrival and timing and guess what? It was bang on time:
First egg, 22nd March, 10.26
Second egg, 25th March, 02.27
Third egg, 27th March, 02.00
Fourth egg, 29th March, 11.49
So far, so textbook…

“Newly hatched peregrines weigh in at about one-and- half ounces and double their weight in just over a week –  that goes up to tenfold after three weeks. So expect to witness lots of feeding on the webcam.

“The new chicks are covered with fluffy white down, and it will be at least three weeks before they get feathers, and around five weeks before they fledge. So the Tower balcony, after a long spell of being very quiet and serene, will now become incredibly busy and noisy…and rather competitive.”

The peregrine webcam is a big hit with viewers – this week the page-views topped 120,000. Visit the Cathedral website www.salisburycathedral.org.uk