It was a big day for our three Peregrine chicks who hatched at the Cathedral just three weeks ago.

Licensed bird-ringer and Herts Breeding Peregrine Co-ordinator Barry Trevis visited the nest in the early hours on 1 June to see close up how the chicks are doing and to put rings on the birds to help identify and protect them in the years to come.

Herts Breeding Peregrine Co-ordinator, Barry Trevis, explains why ringing is so important and gives us an update on how the chicks at the Cathedral are doing:

"Ringing is a significant milestone for the Peregrine chicks which hatched on St Albans Cathedral three weeks ago.  We asked Herts Breeding Peregrine Co-ordinator, Barry Trevis, to explain why ringing is so important.

When a Peregrine chick was bred for the first time on St Albans Cathedral in May 2022, as a licensed bird-ringer/nest recorder and holder of a government license to visit the nests of such a specially protected species, I ringed the young bird which was seen to successfully fledge the nest in late June of last year.

Today, 1st June, now with three chicks developing well in my nest tray, I went with a colleague to the nest and carried out the ringing of the three young Peregrines, just three weeks after they had all hatched.

We know from the webcam live-stream that the parents have looked after them well, so when we checked them over we saw that they were all in good condition. We fitted a ring on each of their legs. One is a metal ring issued by the British Trust for Ornithology, a bit like a license tag. The other is a larger ring which is coloured Orange with Black lettering which means we’ll be able to track them in years to come."

Why do we need to ring birds?

Although obvious to me, quite reasonably many people ask why do we need to ring birds? Well, if we don’t put rings on these birds we don’t know much about their origins or their future. We see birds sitting around, they turn up at nests and we have no idea where they came from, how old they are or who they are. However, those with the colour-rings which can be read from a distance let us know exactly who each bird is. That means we have a much better idea of how long they live, their movements around the UK and even abroad, along with their relationships as sometimes they might not get on and split up or have mishaps, so the ringing gives us a way of tracking the family trees of  Peregrines going forward.

In addition to fitting the rings we also took measurements which from these, particularly their weights, we can ascertain the sex of each bird as female Peregrines are much larger than males. We concluded that we have one female, known technically as ‘Falcons’, and possibly two males, known as ‘Tiercel’. We will be able to confirm shortly.

With this information the Cathedral along with Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust will soon be organising a naming competition to take suggestions of names from the public and then hold a vote on these, like in 2022 when the female chick was named ‘Artemis’.

Although one can never be sure whether all of the chicks will make it to the flying stage we are very hopeful that the Cathedral three will fledge from their nest ledge around the third week of June and will be seen around the area for some months to come before finding their own way further afield.

Barry Trevis - Herts Breeding Peregrine Co-ordinator