Norwich Cathedral chicks 'set to fledge'

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Media captionThe four healthy chicks look set to fledge the nest within days

Four peregrine falcon chicks nesting on Norwich Cathedral look set to fledge within days, experts say.

Lin Murray, from the Hawk and Owl Trust, said they were starting to "stretch their wings" despite recent rain reducing chances to hunt and eat.

The chicks, two males and two females, are now "the size of a bag of sugar" so predation is unlikely, she said.

"We're looking at any time now as they... want to get out of that box," she added.

The first egg of the brood was laid on the spire platform, 75m (246ft) above the ground, on 18 March, with the fourth arriving six days later. The first chick hatched on 26 April.

"Their next hurdle really is leaving the nest, but it was at this stage last year when we lost two chicks - one broke its neck in a flying accident and another just wasn't getting enough food," said Ms Murray.

'Resilient and forceful'

Dave Gittens, who has been monitoring the live webcam feed from the platform, said: "After the earlier heart-stopping incursions by various intruding peregrines, particularly the large sub-adult from east London who came into the nest box, the chicks' subsequent development has been relatively trouble free.

"There have been continued occasional visits from other peregrines looking for mates and nest sites, but our adult pair have been resilient and forceful in seeing them off."

Four chicks hatched in 2013, the second brood in the city since 2011 and among the first in 200 years.

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