WATCH: Crowds gather for ‘heartwarming’ sight as third peregrine chick hatches at Cromer church
PUBLISHED: 17:26 30 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:26 30 May 2019
Birdwatching volunteers at a north Norfolk church where a pair of peregrine falcons are nesting said a crowd gathered to watch the final chick hatch.
The breeding pair took up residence in the tower at Cromer Parish Church last month.
And North East Norfolk Bird Club volunteers, who arranged a nesting box on the spire and a livestream in the church, have been keeping a watchful eye on the pair from below ever since.
But now their efforts have been rewarded with the "heartwarming sight" of three chicks in the nest, and residents and visitors flocking to the church hoping to catch a glimpse of the first time parents and their fluffy fledglings.
The first chick hatched on Saturday, May 25, with the second two making an appearance on Monday, May 27.
Volunteer organiser Ann Cleall said: "We were here when the third one hatched [on Monday].
"I could see all three chicks because the mother had got off the nest - they eat the shell and that's what she was doing.
"The male flew in with a pigeon and took it to the nest, and even the brand new chick had a feed."
But the 76-year-old from High Kelling said despite their hatching hat-trick, the falcon family were not out of the woods yet.
"They are a young pair and we weren't sure they'd be successful in their first year," she said.
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"If all three fledge successfully, we'll be happy. Being new parents they've done really well.
"One of the ones at Norwich Cathedral this year was killed by the adult bird just standing on it.
"They are big birds and they have enormous talons. Or the chicks can fall out of the nest."
But she also said spectators can now expect to see more of the adult birds - a protected species - flying in and out to hunt, and that the church and the museum had been "really supportive of us".
And fellow volunteer, Andrew Gorton, added: "We've had a lot of interest from the public.
"When the chicks hatched the church was full of people.
"It's heartwarming to see.
"I think it will bring in more people here to visit.
"I had two people the other day who said they had come to Cromer just to see the birds.
"It's the first time we've had them and we're hoping they're going to come back year on year."
The 40-year-old from Sheringham added: "Now the chicks are hatched we expect to see the parents more."