WINCHESTER'S resident peregrine, who has nested at the cathedral since 2017, has died. 

Winnie recently returned to her perch at Winchester Cathedral, but it was announced that she had died last week.

Three peregrines, including Winnie and her partner William, had been recently seen. The third was another female, who appears to have taken Winnie's place. 

In a post on Winchester Cathedral's website Keith Betton, chairman of Hampshire Ornithological Society, said: “After the return of our regular pair Winnie and William just over a week ago people saw three peregrines in the air last Wednesday. Clearly an unattached bird had arrived on the scene and a scuffle followed. This happens quite often and usually it ends quite quickly, but occasionally it can lead to injury – and now we can confirm Winnie was found dead the next day.

"Although this is upsetting, it is the natural course of events in nature – the younger individuals displace the older ones, and the cycle of life goes on.

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“William has been at the nesting tray regularly since then and when he has not been around, the new female has checked it out as well. She clearly likes it as she has already made a dent in the shingle indicating she wants to lay eggs there. Let’s hope that we will have the joy of welcoming a new brood of peregrine chicks soon.

“Winnie had nested at the cathedral since 2017, and prior to that she reared several broods on the old Police HQ. She was probably quite young then, but by this year she was at least 15 years old which is a great age for a peregrine. In that time, she reared at least 27 chicks to fledge and her chicks are known to be nesting in several nearby counties.”

In a post on the Wild Winchester Facebook page, Mr Betton added: “I have known Winnie since she first nested in Winchester in 2011. She was a fantastic mother – she reared five chicks in 2020 – something that very few peregrines ever do, and she was an ambassador for her species, being watched not only by us, but by thousands of people around the world. 

“I am sure this new female will stay and William will have a new partner. I hope you will all welcome her just as you welcomed William after the death of Chester. The cathedral will come up with a name for her – that’s not our job.

“Peregrines have bounced back from the dark days when they were super rare but they are still special birds and we are so lucky to have them in our city.

“Winnie – you’ll never know just how many people adored you. I know I did.”

The world's fastest animal, with their hunting dives reaching 200mph, the peregrines help keep the city's pigeon population under control.