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Springwatch: Breathtaking moments of life and death struggles of incredible British birds

Clips of the three favourite scenes from the marathon three-week show are about to go viral after being compiled by BBC producers.

Nesting peregrine falcons on a cathedral spire, a pair of devoted parent red kites and a barn owl on the wing were given top marks by the wildlife programme’s massive audience.

Birds have always played a major role in the popular BBC2 series since it was first screened back in 2005, but a Tweet put out by producers this morning revealed how nests, eggs and chicks have been enthralling viewers.

The Tweet read: “35km of cable, 30 cameras, 19 nests, 74 chicks, 44 fledged, 10 died, 8 addled eggs – what a series.”

It also carried a collage of videos showing many of the nesting birds such as blue tits, grey wagtails, bullfinches and swallows going about their frenetic duties of feeding and raising fledglings.

While Chris Packham and the Springwatch team were broadcasting live nightly from the National Trust’s splendid Sherborne Park Estate in the Cotswolds, it was the touching story of an orphan peregrine being “rehomed” on Salisbury Cathedral that touched the hearts of millions.

The fluffy youngster was willingly accepted as a foster chick by the pair of peregrine falcons being filmed by Springwatch cameras. How the orphan’s own parents were killed is being investigated by police.

Vantage point cameras set up atop of the largest cathedral spire in England at 404ft gave unprecedented views of the peregrines raising their family and performing nature’s most enthralling aerobatics. Peregrines are the fastest creatures on Earth and are capable of reaching speeds of 212mph.

The tale of the orphan peregrine was chosen by presenter Michaela Strachan as her favourite storyline from this year’s show. Chris Packham chose the delightful scenes of a grey wagtail catching a mayfly.

Not all the bird stories from the series were joyous. Nature is about survival of the fittest and birds such as the great spotted woodpecker bring up their young by feeding them baby birds stolen from other nests.

Summing up how birds played a big part in the programme’s success this year, Springwatch series producer Chris Howard said today: “At the start of Springwatch this year we set out our stall. 

“We wanted to showcase the ‘normal’ British countryside – away from the reserves and areas that are managed specifically with wildlife in mind – to a landscape that is lived in and worked in.

“We wanted to focus on the wildlife that lives and breathes in the bits of the countryside that is accessible to most people, not the exotic and hard to get to edges we have been based at previously.

“So have we succeeded? I think for the most part, yes, we have. 

“We’ve brought lots of familiar species to the screen: robins, blackbirds, chaffinches, wrens, swallows – plus some of the familiar raptors like buzzards, kestrels and barn owls.

“I hope the intimate look into their lives that we have managed to give people has shown them in a new and surprising light. 

“We’ve seen a buzzard chick snooze, a chaffinch ‘helicopter’ fledge and a one-eye blackbird. They are inspiring and fascinating stories. 

“On top of that we have had several Springwatch firsts: the red kite nest has been an utter joy and something we have wanted to do for a long time now. 

“The wagtails were spectacular, and have given us a hugely dramatic ending to the series. We’ve covered kingfishers and stoats in Sherborne like never before.”

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