Page last updated at 14:38 GMT, Saturday, 25 April 2009 15:38 UK

Falcon chicks hatch at cathedral

Peregrine falcon
It is the ninth year the peregrine pair has bred at the cathedral

A pair of peregrine falcons nesting on a Sussex cathedral are bringing up their chicks under the scrutiny of visitors via a nest camera.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is beaming live footage from the nest on Chichester Cathedral to a screen in the grounds below.

People can watch the young birds hatching and being fed until 21 June as part of the RSPB's Date With Nature.

The female peregrine laid four eggs at the end of March.

This is the ninth year the peregrine pair has bred at the cathedral, in a nestbox provided by the Sussex Ornithological Society.

'Cheeky juveniles'

Last year, more than 18,000 visited the RSPB's viewpoint to watch as the pair hatched eggs, fed chicks and taught them how to fly.

If all four young fledge successfully, this will bring the total number of chicks raised by the pair to 30.

Ruth Poyner, cathedral spokeswoman, said: "Watching the chicks arrive and grow is fascinating.

"Each day brings something new as they change quickly into cheeky juveniles and then majestic birds of prey, it is quite an experience to follow their journey."

Peregrines are the fastest animal in the world, normally reaching speeds of around 180mph.

The fastest peregrine was recorded in the Guinness Book of Records reaching 217mph.

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Falcon chicks hatch at Chichester



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