It’s open house for two of the Yorkshire Dales’ most popular inhabitants from Monday.
The famous peregrine falcons which nest on Malham Cove can be seen from 2 April when the falcon watch station is set up again.
One of the Malham falcons, right. Picture by Carl Watts/RSPB
Last year, 28,500 people took advantage of the high-powered telescopes set up by Yorkshire Dales National Park wardens and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) officials, to get a close up view of the pair, which raised two chicks, Clint and Gryke – named after the formations in limestone pavements – in their nest on the 80m limestone crag.
The viewpoint, at the foot of the cove, will be open from Monday until 5 August. There is no charge for using the facility, which is staffed from 10.30am to 4.30pm by staff and volunteers from the two organisations.
David Hirst of the RSPB said: “The Red Arrows have got nothing on these amazing birds.
“The peregrines provide a fantastic aerobatic display of speed and power for visitors watching from the foot of the cliff. Peregrines are tremendously exciting birds and wherever these fabulous falcons nest there’s always something dramatic happening.
“Lots of holidaymakers, walkers and school groups visit Malham Cove every year and they now have the opportunity to see some stunning birds as well as the sensational scenery.
Ian Court, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s species officer, said: “Peregrines are always a real crowd pleaser and we are delighted to be providing this exciting facility in the Dales.
“The response from the public to last year's Peregrine Watch was fantastic and we hope lots of people will take the opportunity to see these spectacular birds in a stunning landscape. It really is worth a trip out.”
The falcons are reckoned by Guinness World Records to be the fastest animal on earth, with a flight speed of up to 350kph (217mph) when diving in flight. Peregrine falcons declined in numbers during the 1960s due to pesticide use, but their numbers are now increasing. There are about 20 pairs nesting in the Yorkshire Dales.
They feed on smaller birds and usually live until around the age of 10, pairing in successive years and sharing the responsibility of rearing their young.
Details of the Malham peregrines are on the RSPB’s website .