Page last updated at 15:03 GMT, Sunday, 14 June 2009 16:03 UK

Rangers 'drop' in to chicks' nest

Ranger abseiling to reach a falcon chick
Peregrine falcons build their nests on ledges to protect their young

A specially trained team has been called in to ring rare birds of prey in a Northumberland Forest.

The rangers had to use abseil ropes to reach two 25-day-old peregrine falcon chicks in their nest on a crag in Kielder Forest.

The peregrine population in the area is now stable after almost reaching extinction a few years ago.

When a pair nested in Kielder in the early 1990s there was a 24-hour security operation to protect the site.

The number of pairs of breeding peregrine falcons in the UK have risen from 360 to about 1,500 since the 1950s.

To protect their young from predators they build their nests on ledges.

The bird is a "schedule one" species, giving it the highest legal protection from disturbance.



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