Calne is in a flap after a pair of peregrine falcons were spotted at the top of St Mary’s Church – and it seems the feathery companions may not be alone for long.

The Rev Bob Kenway and wife Sadie say they believe the pair are nesting, so chicks may be on the way.

The sightings have brought flocks of twitchers to the church, with the first of the new arrivals being nicknamed Perry.

Mrs Kenway said: “We do want to be careful, as not everyone is going to be pleased that a pair of peregrine falcons have taken up residence in Calne.

“They do hunt smaller birds, and we are concerned that they might end up becoming targets, which may also result in damaging the church.”

Mr Kenway said: “They are protected – killing of birds of prey was outlawed years ago – and our main concern is that they remain so in the town.

“They are very fast and very efficient killers. It is pretty amazing to have these rare birds here, and it’s an exciting addition to the town.”

Amateur photographer Sam Whit, 53, who lives in The Knapp, spent weeks visiting the churchyard with a long lens on his camera after friend Dale Wood spotted one of the falcons.

He only managed to get the picture on Monday last week after his patient wait, and said: “Every time I went down there, I’ve never been able to see it, and I started to ask my mate if he hadn’t seen a pigeon instead.”

Mr Whit, who says he has seen red kites in the area before, finally spotted the falcon perched under the clock. “It’s pretty rare to see a bird like that in the town, so it was great to finally see it,” he said.

Perry Chadwyck-Healey, of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, said he hoped that the birds were nesting.

“It is quite rare for them to be somewhere like this,” he said.

“However, it is fairly common for them to use big churches, like St Mary’s, as their natural habitat would be more like a cliff-face.

“We are now really hoping that they are going to nest. It would be absolutely wonderful.

“I think that if the female were to lay, it would be either very soon, or it could have already happened.”