Hatching at Uccle!

Since the beginning of March both falcon pairs of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre and Uccle have been incubating four beautiful brick-red eggs. We didn’t know exactly the day of egg- laying, but we had expected the first egg to hatch around April 10th.

This 9th of April, at 7:15 am, at the Saint Job church in Uccle, a piece of empty shell is laying beside the female peregrine in the nest! A falcon just hatched, that's for sure. 07:45, the peregrine gets up and we can distinguish well the chick in white, fluffy down. His legs are pink. His eyes are still closed. It must weigh about thirty grams. At least one other egg is cracking. 9:02, the male comes to relay the female on the nest. She flies out, probably to get some food, and in the meantime entrusts the newborn to her partner. 11:15, a second falcon hatched!

At 18:24, the male arrives at the entrance of the nest. He has in his beak a carcass of pigeon,  patiently prepared for his falcons. All the feathers were torn off, the neck and legs cut, the viscera torn off. All that remains are the muscles and the chest. Delicious!

The male transmits the prey to the female. She lifts herself up, gets a little away from the nest. There are already three chicks! Instinctively, they line themselves up, pointing their bills upwards. They must have understood that the first meal would be given soon. And indeed, the female blocks the prey in her right paw - her talons (the nails of a raptor) are impressive - and she begins to feed. At 6:33 pm, there is not much flesh left on the carcass. End of the meal! The female departs, bypasses her offspring so as not to hurt them and leaves the nest with the remnants of the prey.

The chicks seem to be satisfied. But they should not have cold. They are only a few hours old!  Less than a minute later, the male reappears. He must have seen the female leaving the nest site. Or did she call him? Little is known about the communication of peregrine falcons. Anyway, he came to incubate the chicks and keep them warm, at 6:39 pm, the female returns to the nest. Quickly he leaves. The female is so much bigger than him and will have it easier to cover the whole clutch at night.

The night falls on Uccle, the falcon family sleeps. A new generation of peregrines was born today in this commune in the south of Brussels. In 2015, the falcons nested there for the first time in the church of Saint Job. 

In Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, the female was terribly nervous today. She was turning her eggs all the time. Are they about to hatch?

 

Photo 1: The male and chicks of Uccle.

Photo 2: There are 2 chicks under the female.

Photo 3: Three chicks!

Photo 4: Relay between the male (on the left) and the female

And the video!

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