The new year will usher in a high definition era for the peregrines which nest on Wakefield Cathedral.
An HD nestbox camera will go live in January and a new external camera, capturing activity out of the box, will go live in the spring.
Money was raised for the two cameras via a prize draw for a painting of three peregrine chicks by Wakefield artist Hoshi Dee.
Wakefield Naturalists’ Society, who established the nest box on the spire, also teamed up with Santander Bank for a month-long promotion.
Project leader Francis Hickenbottom said: “We have upgraded the nestbox camera to HD and we have added an external camera to look along the wall above the box. The Santander fundraising was a real help in making this possible. The upgraded nestbox camera will become live in January. The external camera will become live in March.”
Mr Hickenbottom hopes the cameras will enable them to read the metal identification ring on the adult male’s leg so they can trace his origins.
The last two broods of chicks were fitted with large Darvic (plastic) rings. These have individual initials on so the birds can be identified in the field.
This has happened recently with this year’s juvenile female. She is known by her code, PAA.
Mr Hickenbottom added: “A peregrine with an orange ring on its left leg has taken up residence at RSPB Old Moor in Barnsley this winter. It is obviously a female and we have suspected that it is PAA, the surviving female from this summer’s Wakefield brood.
“Photographs posted on Facebook this week by Jeremy Hughes have allowed us to see the ring and to read the letters AA, which is enough to convince me that it is a Wakefield bird.
“PAA has become an attraction at the reserve. She seems to have a fondness for moorhens and she is regularly seen feeding. I would expect her to stay there for the winter and it is nice that the reserve staff will now be able to tell visitors who the bird is with some confidence. PAA is the bird that was photographed at RSPB St Aidan’s near Allerton Bywater in the summer, so she is getting around a bit. I am pleased about this little success and my hope is that our new HD camera will allow us to read the metal ring on the adult male’s leg.”
See wakefieldnaturalists.org for more information.