First adventures in Uccle
The two male falcons of Uccle have been discovering the neighbourhood of the Saint Job Square for a week now.
Their first flight was observed on May 22nd: the young falcon marked with the N / 2 ring, had been spotted and photographed on the window sill of a house not far from the bell tower (photo 1 & 2).
Two days later, the same falcon is seen again at Saint Job. The telescope reading of the code of its ring makes it possible to determine that it is indeed N / 2. It's an aerial festival! N / 2 flies from left to right above the square. Sometimes he frantically flutters his wings as if he still does not understand how to use them. At other times, he flies perfectly at about ten meters above the planetrees that surround the square. However, it is still difficult to reach the wind vane at the very top of the bell tower, but it regularly lands on the guardrails of the dome at the back of the church. From there, he jumps on a corner of the roof and then onto another railing. He is discovering the world! These first flights, these first discoveries are made under the watchful eye of both parents. The falcon mother is particularly attentive and keeps a close eye on her youngling (photo 2).
The next day, N / 2 is still present: it is washing itself on the edge of the roof of one of the buildings facing the church. St. Job's Square is one of the places in Belgium where you can best observe the Peregrine Falcons because both the church and the surrounding buildings are relatively low compared to what is generally observed among Peregrine Falcons.
N / 2 spends many minutes stroking his feathers conscientiously (photo 4 & 5). Plumage maintenance in a bird, and particularly in a Peregrine, is essential for its survival. Plumage in poor condition, broken feathers, will inevitably reduce its ability to effectively capture prey. This behaviour is innate in birds, it is not the parents who teach it to their falcons!
The falcons have a lot to learn, especially when it comes to hunting techniques. Here too, the falcon must fend for itself. It's a combination of instinct - which makes it a "born hunter" - and self-learning by the famous "trial-and-error" system. The falcon has the instinct to hunt, so to spot prey in flight, to pursue it, to seize it, to kill it. But that's the theory. It is imperative that the falcon learns from each of his attempts to become more and more successful. It must memorize the most effective technique or techniques. It is the acquisition of experience that is crucial for its future.
The early days of the young falcon outside the nest are therefore particularly delicate. And mishaps happen from time to time. This was the case with falcon N / 3 who found himself stuck in a block of buildings located a small kilometer from the Saint Job church. He could no longer walk up the facades of this "well" of concrete and remained on the ground. Informed by residents, the League for the Protection of Birds sent a team from its hospital for wild animals on site. No sooner said than done, the young falcon was recovered and immediately transported to the veterinary office at St. Job Square. A quick examination revealed that he was in perfect health; he was able to return to the roof of the church very quickly.
Since then, the two falcons have been observed regularly on Saint Job Square. If you go there, listen! For it is the cries of the young hawks, who still beg for a little food from their parents, which are easiest to spot.