A viewpoint will open at Malham Cove this week for people to watch the world’s fastest animal, the peregrine falcon, up close.
The opening marks the return of the Malham Peregrine Project, a long-running partnership between the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) and the RSPB, which was paused during the ‘Covid years’.
The free public viewpoint is at the base of the Cove.
Volunteers will be on hand to show people the birds through telescopes from 10.30am to 4.30pm on 19-20 May, 16-17 June and 21–22 July.
RSPB Membership Area Manager Aimee Heaton said: “We’re delighted at the RSPB to be teaming up with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to hold the peregrine viewpoint once again. We’re looking forward to being there to talk to visitors about the wonderful wildlife seen at Malham Cove and the importance of the conservation work that the RSPB does, with the support of our members, in our fight to bring wildlife back from the brink.”
The Member Champion for the Natural Environment at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Mark Corner, said: “The Yorkshire Dales National Park is a great place to see wildlife and Malham Cove is perhaps the best spot to see peregrine falcons. This is the 30th year that they’ve been nesting here. Following a pause in the Malham Peregrine Project during the Covid years, our staff and volunteers are very much looking forward to helping people once again witness the wonderful spectacle of falcons raising their family on the Cove face.”
MALHAM PEREGRINE FALCON FACT FILE
- Malham Cove is one of the most successful peregrine nest sites in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, with at least 73 young raised since a pair first nested in 1993.
- Peregrine numbers crashed in the 1960s owing to the impact of pesticides and they have historically been persecuted by people. Recent decades have seen a recovery. In the UK there are about 1750 pairs, a figure based on the last population estimate undertaken in 2014. In the past decade there have been between five and seven traditional nest sites that have been occupied in the Yorkshire Dales National Park; there may be more but not all sites are checked each year.
- Peregrines typically pair for several years and may live up to 10 years old – the oldest known wild peregrine was 17 years.
- Both adult birds tend the young, which take their first flight after 5 or 6 weeks
- Peregrines feed on medium sized birds, predominately pigeons, which they catch in high-speed aerial stoops – although more often than not they fail to make a kill.
- When they go into their aerial stoop, peregrines have been recorded reaching speeds over 200 miles an hour, making them the fastest animal on the planet.
- The peregrine is the largest British breeding falcon. It is 38-48 cm long, and its wingspan is 95-110 cm. The female is considerably larger than the male. The upper parts are dark blue-grey, and the under parts are pale with fine, dark bars. The head has a black ‘hood’ with black moustache-like markings on the face. Juvenile birds are browner and heavily streaked below