Church gives birds of ‘pray’ a home

Nest where there have been some perigrine falcon chicks
Nest where there have been some perigrine falcon chicks

We’ve all heard the story of Mary giving birth to Jesus in a stable.

But, when a pair of peregrine falcons decided to start a family in Chorley they chose a much holier place.

In fact, the rare birds of prey chose none other than St George’s Church in the town centre, and the congregation is thrilled with the new additions.

Vicar Tim Wilby said: “We are delighted that the birds have chosen the finest building in Chorley to roost their young.

“We have policy of inviting families into the church, but this is totally different.

“I have been to several churches, and the worst thing that I have seen is a few bats, but nothing like this.

“It is attracting considerable attention, with plenty of people sitting on benches looking up watching them.

“We are lucky that people have respected them being here, and not tried to steal or damage their nest.”

Twitchers have also been rejoicing at their arrival, and have been flocking from far and wide to see the brood, which has set up home in the west clocktower.

The parishioners now believe that the young birds are about to spread their wings and leave, and specialists have been called in to make official records. Church Warden Brian Addison said: “We had a few experts down here and they abseiled down the towers to chip them.

“They are a protected species, and lots of people have been talking about them and some have arrived with long lens cameras to take pictures.

“We knew that the peregrine falcons were nested close by, because we saw them flying around the tower and they were making a really loud noise.”

Mr Addison said that the birds have been spotted for around six weeks now, and he expects them to move on in the coming days because the chicks have hatched.

He said: “The falcons had been in the area for quite some time before they came to the clocktower.

“I can remember when they were on the tower at Morrisons in spring last year, and they were trying to make a nest then. But, as far as I know, this is the first time that they have had some chicks in a nest on a Chorley church.”

The church is situated in the St George’s conservation area and is a Grade Two listed building.