Peregrine chicks are flying high after hatching at Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales.

The three youngsters are wowing visitors who come to watch them through high-powered telescopes at a special free viewpoint set up below the cove each year by the RSPB and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA).

The two adult birds of prey have already been keeping visitors entertained since the viewpoint, which is now in its eleventh year, opened in March.

But the chicks are now well and truly stealing the show as they explore their new surroundings.

A Malham peregrine chick takes to the skies. Picture courtesy of Phil Smith

A Malham peregrine chick takes to the skies. Picture courtesy of Phil Smith

Ian Court, the YDNPA’s wildlife conservation officer, said, “Given the problems faced by Peregrines in some areas, it is fantastic news that the young birds at the Cove have taken their first tentative flights. Over the coming weeks visitors should be treated to some fantastic views of them as they slowly begin to develop their flying skills – all happening right overhead.”

Peregrines have recorded speeds of more than 200 miles an hour – about three times as fast as a cheetah – and watching them hunt is a wildlife spectacle not to be missed.

Ella Dixon, the RSPB’s Yorkshire people engagement officer, said, “We held our breath as the Peregrines took their first flight from such a height. These young birds managed it well, and we are all looking forward to getting some amusing views as they develop this skill and learn to hunt. It’s a moment with nature not to be missed!”

The peregrine watch viewpoint is open until 31 July and is run by RSPB and YDNPA staff and volunteers from Saturdays to Wednesday inclusive between 10.30am and 4.30pm (weather permitting).

As in previous years, visitors are being asked to stay away from the nest site and the British Mountaineering Council has once again agreed to impose temporary, voluntary rock climbing restrictions around the nesting site. An area at the top of the cliff has also been sealed off and visitors are asked to follow any on-site signage.

The Malham project is run in partnership with the YDNPA as part of the RSPB’s Date with Nature programme of events, which makes rare and spectacular birds and animals accessible for everyone to see.

More information about the Malham peregrines can be found at www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/peregrines.

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