IT takes humans decades to leave the parental nest - but Winchester Cathedral’s Peregrine chicks are almost ready to fly away after only a few weeks.

The four Peregrine chicks hatched on April 25-26 and have since been reared by their parents, Winnie and Chester, who returned to Winchester Cathedral to nest in February 2019 for the third year in a row.

The chicks were ringed by the Hampshire Ornithological Society on May 13, enabling the experts to track their movements and follow their progress.

Since the end of May, the young Peregrines have been exploring the nest site and testing their wings. They have delighted visitors and birdwatchers alike, who have enjoyed watching them fly around the Cathedral Close.

They are expected to leave within the next few weeks.

Their parents have been making a dent in the city’s pigeon population.

A live web cam on the cathedral website of the next has had 180,000 hits since it went live in January.

After decades of persecution Peregrine numbers have been on the increase.