They may not have the silver screen pedigree of Kes the kestrel, but South Yorkshire’s second most famous birds of prey are back in the spotlight after their latest chicks hatched.
The breeding pair of peregrine falcons became internet stars after making their home in St George’s Church near Sheffield city centre.
They have a special nesting platform in the University of Sheffield building and their lives have been recorded on a webcam since 2012.
This year the pair laid four eggs and on Tuesday the first chick started to hatch. This was closely followed by a second, and the third and fourth should be on their way very soon.
Professor David Wood, from the university’s department of Hispanic studies, chairman of Sheffield Bird Study Group, which initiated the project in 2010, said: “This is now the fifth year that peregrines have successfully bred at St George’s church on the platform provided by the University of Sheffield.
“The birds continue to provide a huge amount of interest around the university and among the local community more widely; it’s a great project and a chance to see one of nature’s most spectacular species on our doorstep.”
The pair successfully reared two chicks last year from the four eggs laid.
Following analysis of the unhatched eggs, under licence in the university’s department of animal and plant Sciences, Dr Nicola Hemmings concluded one egg failed at an early stage as a result of genetic developmental problems.
The other egg failed at a later stage, probably due to exposure to cold weather.