Birdwatchers agog as falcon returns to nest on top of Salisbury Cathedral
The rollercoaster saga of the Salisbury Cathedral peregrine falcons is continuing this spring, with one bird protecting an egg on a balcony of the building but another missing in action.
A female that has been visiting the balcony regularly has laid one egg and can be viewed hunkering down on the nest via a cathedral webcam.
But a GPS tracking device attached to a bird known as Sally that used to nest at the cathedral has stopped giving out its signal. It could be that the device has stopped working or that, sadly, Sally is no more.
The female on the nest does not have an identity ring, meaning it is not known if she is the same one that produced four eggs last year. But Phil Sheldrake, species recovery officer with the RSPB, said it was highly likely that it was the same bird.
he said. “Salisbury Cathedral sticks out like a sore thumb above the rolling countryside. It’s like a five-star hotel for them.”
There are generally three or four eggs in a clutch and incubation does not start until the last egg is laid. Once that has happened, the female – and male – will sit on the nest at intervals to keep eggs warm. Incubation lasts 29-32 days, so if all goes well chicks should appear in early May.
Meanwhile, the tracker attached to Sally, who became a television star after featuring on the BBC’s Springwatch in 2017, last pinpointed her on 3 November 2019 above the village of Coombe Bissett, three miles from Salisbury – but no signal has been picked up since.
Sheldrake said: “She is possibly 10 now, and whilst the oldest peregrine known was at least 24, the average lifespan is around 10.”
A female peregrine protecting her egg at Salisbury Cathedral, which is ‘like a five-star hotel’ for falcons