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Malham Peregrine Young Disperse
One of the 2019 young peregrines, by Dave Dimmock, a volunteer at the public viewpoint
It’s ‘all change’ for birds in the Dales: as starlings mass, the last swifts depart for Africa – and the closely-watched peregrine young of Malham Cove leave home.

The pair of peregrines at the Cove has this year put on a great show, successfully fledging a brood of four young. It is only the second time four young have been fledged since peregrines returned to the Cove to breed in the early 1990s.

Between the start of April and the 5th August, more than 16,500 people stopped at a free public viewpoint at the foot of the Cove to see the birds.

A dedicated team of volunteers from the RSPB and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority contributed 151 full-time equivalent days to staff the viewpoint and help visitors enjoy the spectacle of watching the peregrine family.

Wildlife Conservation Officer at the National Park Authority, Ian Court, said:
“It is great news that once again the peregrines have bred successfully at the Cove and managed to get four young away. Visitors have been enthralled to watch their story unfold and it has been great to see so many people enjoy watching this iconic bird.”

Anthony Hills from the RSPB said:
“The name ‘peregrine’ comes from a Latin word meaning ‘wanderer’ – and that is what the four young will be doing now. The birds aren’t tagged but we know peregrines can range far and wide. Eventually they’ll look to find a suitable rocky outcrop or tall building to nest.”

The viewpoint at the Cove was part of the Malham Peregrine Project, a partnership between the YDNPA and the RSPB, now in its 17th year. Since the project started, more than 282,000 people have used the viewpoint to marvel at these magnificent birds.

MALHAM PEREGRINE FALCON FACT FILE

· Malham Cove is one of the most successful peregrine nest sites in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, with at least 61 young raised since a pair first nested in 1993.

· The peregrine is the largest British breeding falcon. It is 38-48 cm long, and its wingspan is 95-110 cm. The female is considerably larger than the male. The upper parts are dark blue-grey, and the under parts are pale with fine, dark bars. The head has a black ‘hood’ with black moustache-like markings on the face. Juvenile birds are browner and heavily streaked below

· Peregrines typically pair for several years and may live up to 10 years old - the oldest known wild peregrine was 17 years.

· Both adult birds tend the young, which take their first flight after 5 or 6 weeks

· Peregrines feed on medium sized birds, predominately pigeons, which they catch in high-speed aerial stoops – although more often than not they fail to make a kill.

· When they go into their famous aerial stoop, peregrines have been recorded reaching speeds over 200 miles an hour, making them the fastest animal on the planet.

· Peregrine numbers crashed in the 1960s due to the impact of pesticides and they have historically been persecuted by humans. Due to the ban on the use of certain pesticides and better legal protection, peregrines have now increased in numbers, to about 1,300 breeding pairs in the UK, although they do still suffer from persecution in parts of the country.


Malham Peregrine Young Disperse, 2nd September 2019, 11:01 AM