Brussels: the city of the Peregrine

It was 18 springs ago! March 2004, for the first time in the memory of an ornithologist, a couple of Peregrine Falcons settled in the heart of Brussels, at the Cathedral of Saints Michael and Gudula. Both the male and the female are incubating the beautiful brick red eggs. In mid-May 2004, for the first time, three juvenile falcons fledge at the thousand-year-old building. The show is magnificent and incredible at the same time.

Spring 2021, there are now about fifteen pairs of Peregrines settled in this city with 1,200,000 bipeds! Peregrine falcons have settled in almost all neighborhoods, from the most wooded to the most urban ones. What an adaptation! What an evolution!

The Peregrine is an ancient Egyptian deity, Horus, a divine bird. It is the fastest bird in the world, able to dive at 400 km/h (or 248 mph) to catch a prey in mid-air. It is also a bird that was exterminated from Belgium and most parts of Europe during the 1970s and 1980s. The cause: formidable pesticides poisoning food chains and relentless poaching. What a sad fate.

But we reacted! DDT has been phased out, at least in Europe. A European directive, applied since 1979, ensures the conservation of wild birds in all member states. And it works! The Peregrines return year after year. A pair nest in the Meuse valley in 1994 after more than twenty years of absence in Belgium. From this first "new" nesting, a Peregrine monitoring program was organized by the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in order to monitor the population. And it is in this context that… the first nest in Brussels was discovered in the spring of 2004. A couple of Peregrines in the center of Brussels, a perfect occasion for sharing the news, and the spectacle, targetting a broad audience!

Today, like every spring since 2005, we invite you to discover the Peregrine Falcons that nest in Brussels and beyond. Come and discover every detail of the life of this magnificent bird thanks to a camera system that transmits 7/24 in live streaming the nesting cycle of several pairs living in Brussels.

Welcome to the website of the Peregrine Falcons of Brussels !

Didier Vangeluwe

Go tot he video album

Map of the breeding sites of the peregrine falcons in Brussels