Cathedral, the sequel!
The previous blog set the scene for 2019: the couple who had been nesting for several years on the cathedral did not return this spring. But we do now regularly observe new falcons perched on this monumental building.
The disappearance of the exceptional female, born and ringed in Germany, in the spring of 2002, is not amazing. One can easily think she - unfortunately - did not survive another year. She probably reached the maximum longevity for wild peregrines : 17 years old. In captivity, the longevity of animals is more important than in the wild. The literature reports cases of peregrines having reached 25 years.
The absence of the male is more amazing. Last year, he was “only” 10 years old. In fact, he hatched at the cathedral in the spring of 2008, and came back to nest there from 2010 onwards. Did he leave the cathedral because his female is dead? Or is he dead himself? Who knows ... But who said the female died???
Incredible but true, She is alive! A specialised team of firefighters picked her up on Monday, 18 March, after being called a raptor, unable to fly, was spotted in a container construction in Canal Street (or ‘Rue du canal’) in the centre of Brussels, exactly 980m away from the cathedral ! The firefighters immediately transferred her to the Rehabilitation Centre for Wild Birds and Mammals of Anderlecht. * We easily could identify her because, obviously, she was ringed. She is still alive! This falcon is in her 18th year and still in the centre of Brussels! She’ll never cease to surprise us!
Why was she found on the ground? Nobody knows. The vets who examined and X-rayed her diagnosed wing dislocation. For the moment she can’t fly, but luckily, her overall health is good. She weighs 1050g, and she did not lose a feather. Everything will be done to enable her to fly through the sky of Brussels as soon as possible. We will, of course, regularly keep you informed on the state of her health.
This discovery -unthinkable at first sight- tells us that this "historic" falcon must have been evicted from the cathedral because it is rather difficult to imagine she would have left of her own accord the building, where she had successfully been nesting for 13 years. Evicted by a rival? Likely. Hence, the site at the cathedral did not remain vacant for long!
At the cathedral, in the absence of nesting, streaming will not be available this spring. The permanent observation post will not be installed because the presence of peregrines on the building will not be continuous. The Louis De Waele Enterprises, partners of Falcons for everyone since the very beginning, have promised to keep it warm for next year! BUT! In the meantime, temporal observation posts will be present every Wednesday and Saturday near the cathedral, from noon to 6 pm until the end of May. You may observe the peregrines live through a telescope, photograph them with your smart phones in the telescope, get a peregrine poster, ask questions and listen to our explanations for everyone. Because we wish to keep in touch with the public of Brussels and the Cathedral of Saints Michael and Gudula! Welcome!
*If you find a wild animal in distress, do not hesitate and contact the team of the Rehabilitation Centre for Birds and Wild Mammals of Anderlecht: https://protectiondesoiseaux.be.