A family of peregrine falcons who have made their home on a church spire in Worcester have become an internet hit, after the council rigged up a webcam near their roost.
Millions have been tuning in to watch the parents raise their four chicks, named Charlie, Bobbin, Potter and Tinker in a competition.
And like the best TV soaps, the birds of prey have had their fair share of drama.
Eight-week-old Charlie was the first to fly the nest earlier this week. But days later a passer-by found the adventurous youngster injured and under attack by seagulls and took her to the local police station.
Thankfully Charlie made a full recovery after she was nursed at a nearby wildlife centre and has been placed back in the nest with her siblings.
Chris Dobbs from Worcester City Council said: ‘We want to say thank you to the lady who brought Charlie to the police and we are very grateful to her for that. I think this is a steep learning curve for Charlie.’
The Peregrine falcon is the fastest animal in the world and can reach a flying speed of 200MPH. They measure up to 48cm long with a wingspan up to 110cm. The female is up to one-third larger than the male.
Those watching the webcam in March and April discovered that peregrine falcons do not construct a nest. Instead the female bird lays her eggs directly on the surface – in this case the roof of St Andrew’s Church.
The first Worcester chick broke though its shell on 3rd May and since then the male has been providing most of the food for his four young
In the past few weeks Charlie, Bobbin, Potter and Tinker had been perching on the riverside parapet and flapping their wings to prepare for flight.
All four have now fledged but will remain dependent of their parents for another two months. The Worcester family feed on the local pigeon population as well as the odd starling.
There are about 1,400 breeding pairs of Peregrine Falcons in the UK and they have protected status. Two of the chicks have already been ringed and researchers at the University of Worcester will track the birds in later years and see how far they travel.