More than 10,000 people have flocked to a special Peregrine Falcon viewpoint so far this year since it opened in the Yorkshire Dales National Park during the Easter weekend.
An average of about 200 people a day have visited Malham Cove and used high-powered telescopes to watch two adult birds and their three chicks as they fly around the majestic limestone scenery.
The viewpoint is set up below the cove each year by the RSPB and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) and is now in its eleventh year.
Ian Court, the YDNPA’s wildlife conservation officer, said, “The Peregrines are, yet again, proving to be real crowd pullers.
“The young are now flying pretty well so it’s a good time to see the whole family in the sky together. The viewpoint closes on 31 July so there isn’t a lot of time left for people wanting to take advantage of the high-powered telescopes and the wealth of information that the volunteers have about the birds.”
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, “It is fantastic that so many people have been able to see these special birds develop in their natural habitat, it just shows how addictive they are. We are keen to show people the array of other amazing wildlife in this stunning area as well.’’
The peregrine watch viewpoint is run by RSPB and YDNPA staff and volunteers from Saturdays to Wednesday inclusive between 10.30am and 4.30pm (weather permitting).
As well as the Peregrines, Redstarts and Wheatears are regular visitors, while House Martins and Swallows can be seen flying around the cove along with Little Owls.
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.