Eggs-iting surprise from rare birds of prey

Peregrine falcon laying egg at nesting spot at St George's Church, Sheffield.

Peregrine falcon laying egg at nesting spot at St George's Church, Sheffield.

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EASTER has come early for a couple of rare birds who set up home in Sheffield.

There was an eggs-iting development at St George’s Church in Broad Lane as Yorkshire’s first pair of peregrine falcons showed successful signs of breeding for a second year running.

Bird of prey Mildred, mating partner of George, overcame the winter weather conditions to lay her first egg of the season at the Sheffield University-owned building.

Remarkable scenes featuring its incubation were captured on a camera set up by the university.

The pair successfully reared two chicks last year despite harsh weather conditions and it is hoped they will lay three or four eggs in total over the coming days.

Professor David Wood, chairman of the Sheffield Bird Study Group, said: “It’s really exciting to see that the Peregrines have laid their first egg, within days of what we’d anticipated as a likely date.

“They clearly find the nest platform erected and maintained by the university to their liking.

“They’re a few days later than some other pairs monitored by webcams elsewhere, but given the weather that’s no bad thing. Late snow is seriously bad news for birds that have got the breeding season underway early.”

Peregrine falcons have been endangered because of factors including pesticide use and being a target for egg collectors. Their population has steadily increased since the 1970s.

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