A new peregrine pair in Brussels !

Last spring, we could be sure about ten peregrine pairs nesting in the 19 municipalities of the Brussels Capital Region. These include the following nesting sites: the cathedral of Saint-Michael and Saint-Gudula, the Church of Notre Dame in Laeken, the City Hall of Schaerbeek, the Churchill of Saint Job in Uccle, the basilica of Koekelberg, the Saint Antonius Church in Etterbeek, the Saint Guidon Church in Anderlecht and the City Hall of Anderlecht. In addition, four other territorial pairs have been localised, although it was not possible to conclude whether or not they had been nesting. This spring we might discover more about them!

And it is about a rather unexpected site we have the (first?) surprising news of this spring. Why so unexpected? Because a peregrine have been observed there often on the building for the last three years, but nesting itself was judged to be "impossible" because another pair is already nesting at exactly and only 864m apart. Et bien, I was wrong! A pair of peregrine falcons is really nesting at the top of the historical building of the Brussels University (VUB), campus Solbosch in Brussels.

It was a student of the ULB who spotted the couple and found, through the telescope, that they were nesting. But it is not all; he has, by careful observation, spotted that the two adults were ringed. And he managed to decipher, from a distance, the code of the rings of each one. A magnificent feat! The male hatched in the spring of 2012 at Notre Dame Church in Laeken, located 8 km north. On March 18, 2017, this peregrine male was already observed at the Saint Antoine church in Etterbeek, most likely in search of a territory. His partner comes from far away. And this is most often the case in peregrines. The average distance between the sites they were born (natal site) and the site they will settle (new territory) is around 80 km for female peregrines; for males it is less:  on average 18 km. A strategy, possibly to ensure genetic mixing within the population.  The female of the VUB was ringed in Born in Dutch Limburg in May 2014. Born is near Maastricht (and Genk), but 103 km from Solbosch. She was ringed in a nest box installed on a factory of a car assembly line.

The couple of Solbosch broods on a clutch 4 eggs on a small ridge (cornice) of a dormer window. The start date of incubation is not known exactly but was certainly in progress on March 20th. Will they hatch soon?

By the way, what does “Solbosch” mean ??? Well, it is the historical name of a plateau that is today straddling the municipalities of Brussels and Ixelles and whose etymology is "'s Wolfs Bosch": the forest of the wolf!


Photo 1: The couple relays on the nest at the top of the VUB historic building on the Solbosch campus (photo by Diego Fernandez Martinez).

Photo 2: The ring of the Dutch female is perfectly visible (photo Diego Fernandez Martinez).

Photo 3: The nest of the Solbosch peregrine pair (photo DV).

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