A PAIR of peregrines look likely to make a nest at Romsey Abbey. 

The two birds of prey were recently spotted and a nest tray has been installed. 

Peregrines have never nested at Romsey Abbey before, although a nest tray was previously put up on the west end of the abbey in 2021. However on that occasion the birds didn't settle. 

Keith Betton, chairman of the Hampshire Ornithological Society, said: “Peregrines have shown interest in Romsey Abbey for several years but have never nested. After discussing this with the Rev Thomas Wharton, vicar of Romsey Abbey, we arranged for a nest tray to be placed in a suitable gulley. A pair was present in the early part of 2023 but did not stay, but this year it does look as though they will nest.

Hampshire Chronicle: Female peregrine, photo: Richard Jacobs

READ MORE: Winchester Cathedral reveal name of new peregrine

“We know from his orange leg-ring that the male this year is one of three chicks born on St Mary's Church, Andover, in 2020. We had not seen him since then and were delighted to find him paired up with the female who has no rings to identify her origin. Most likely she is also a young bird and this may be the first time that either has nested because usually peregrines pair for life.

Hampshire Chronicle: Male peregrine, photo: Simon Colenutt

“Peregrines can get deterred by flags and Rev Wharton has kindly agreed that flags will not be flown until any young birds have fledged. Some people expressed concerns at bells being rung for weddings and other celebrations, but the good news is that peregrines don't worry about such noises.

“We can't see if there is a nest, but from what we can observe, the signs are that nesting is underway, and if that is the case we can expect that chicks will hatch in late April.”

Rev Wharton added: "Hopefully our two Romsey peregrines will lay eggs and rear some chicks. If that is the case I can see a naming competition coming up!”