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Peregrines take flight at Malham, Yorkshire Dales

Seven-week old Peregrine Falcons are now 'on the wing' at Malham Cove, delighting visitors by practicing their flying skills often directly overhead.

The three young birds are quickly becoming masters of the air – as illustrated in Dave Dimmock's photographs. They are building up their strength by spending long periods chasing each other and harrying the local Jackdaws.

The parents are bringing in food several times a day. It means that, with luck, people visiting the cove will be treated to the spectacular sight of a 'food pass'. That's when an adult bird brings in prey and calls to the juveniles, who fly up to meet the parent, turn upside down and take the food from the talons.

Juvenile peregrine in flight
Juvenile peregrine takes flight

Beautiful Malham Cove: picture courtesy of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

Given that there are three siblings, there is often a lot of squabbling to get to the food first.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority's Wildlife Conservation Officer, Ian Court, said: “It's great to see how well our three chicks have done over the last few weeks, transforming from small 'balls of fluff' to free flying youngsters. They still have a lot to learn but, under the watchful eye of their parents, they will start to develop the skills needed to survive on their own. With three hungry youngsters to feed, we can look forward to seeing plenty of activity over the next few weeks.”

There is a free public viewpoint at the base of the Cove. Information Assistants and a team of volunteers are on hand to show people the birds through telescopes. It is open Saturdays to Wednesdays (closed Thursdays and Fridays) until Sunday 30th July.

Paul Brady from the RSPB said “Now is the perfect time for the public to come and see these famously fast falcons in action. The dramatic cliffs of Malham Cove provide the perfect backdrop for watching the three youngsters and their parents swoop, dive, hunt and perch. Bring the whole family along to the viewpoint where the staff and volunteers will be only too pleased to point out the birds and give you the latest news.”

The viewpoint is part of the Malham Peregrine Project, a partnership between the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) and the RSPB.

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