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Juvenile Peregrine Credit: Whitfield Benson

About peregrines at Malham Cove

Peregrine falcons have nested at Malham Cove since 1993. There are a number of historic peregrine nest sites in the National Park. However Malham Cove is now one of only seven or eight where peregrines regularly attempt to breed.

High-rise climber neighbours

Malham Cove is one of the most popular visitor sites in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and is a popular location for rock climbers. Over the years the peregrines have become tolerant of the large number of people who visit the site each year. So that nesting peregrines are not unintentionally disturbed by climbers, climbing restrictions are agreed with the British Mountaineering Council every year.

Bringing up a family

In 1994, only their second year at the site, the pair managed to fledge five young. This was the first time that this had been documented in Yorkshire and only the third time on record in the UK since 1896. In 1997 there were two failed clutches of eggs, but in 1998, what was presumed to be the same pair of peregrines incredibly managed to fledge a further five young!

Although the site was not monitored for several years, peregrines have continued to occupy Malham Cove. The exceptions were in 2005 and 2023, when the adult female disappeared at the start of the nesting season. However birds have nested successfully ever since. They have successfully nested at Malham Cove on at least 26 occasions and have fledged a total of 73 young.

Did you know?

  • Peregrine falcons can reach speeds of ~200 miles an hour
  • Special baffles in their nostrils help them breathe at high speed
  • Their nest site is known as an eyrie
  • It takes up to 32 days for a peregrine falcon egg to hatch
  • The average lifespan of a peregrine falcon is 5-6 years