Latest news and a taking stock of 2018

01/06/2018

The Saint Hubert Church in Watermael-Boitsfort is the second "historic" site where a couple of Peregrines have nested in Brussels.

It was in the spring of 2008 that Peregrines nestled there for the first time, four years after the first appearance of Peregrines at the cathedral. Nesting failed last year, for some unknown reason. This year was a great success : 2 female falcons and 2 male falcons. As at the Basilica, these Peregrines are directly related to the couple of the cathedral! But here through their father. Indeed, he was hatched at the cathedral in the spring of 2011. His parents are the Peregrines who raised 1 hatchling this spring in the center of Brussels. The mother is a newcomer to Watermael-Boitsfort. Her ring tells us that she was hatched at Wesel, along the Rhine in Germany, in late April 2014, at the top of a telecom tower. The distance between the two sites is 185 km.

The Saint Antoine d'Etterbeek church is another well-known nesting site in Brussels. A couple was spotted there for the first time in 2008, but the first brood came along in 2012. The male who had been nesting there since 2009 was found dead on January 1, 2017.He was hatched in April 2005 in Vilvoorde, a town located just north of Brussels. A new male has taken his place this spring. This new male is ringed, but the code on his ring could not be deciphered. The couple is currently rearing 3 falcons (2 females and 1 male) that were banded on May 24th.

In Schaerbeek, the the Peregrines settled in the town hall in 2014. Since then, it has always been the same female that nests there. She was ringed on 19/05/2010 on the Plate Taille tower which dominates the lakes of Eau d'Heure, in Hainaut. This spring, the family consists of 3 younglings, hatched around May 5, so a bit later than the other hatchlings in Brussels this spring.

The couple of the Collegial Church of Saint Guidon of Anderlecht is also nesting this spring. As usual, the female brooded at the top of the steeple, about 75 m above the ground! Needless to say, the nest is inaccessible. The younglings, therefore, could not be ringed and we don’t exactly know how many of them there are. But we konw there is at least one!

So, we know for certain that ten couples of Peregrine Falcons have nested in Brussels this spring, on the following sites: the Saint Michael and Saint Gudula Cathedral, the town hall of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, the Saint Job church of Uccle, the Saint Gilles town hall, the Church of Our Lady of Laeken, the Church of St. Anthony of Etterbeek, Church of St. Hubert of Watermael-Boitsfort, the Basilica of Koekelberg, the Collegial Church of Saint Guidon of Anderlecht. In total, at least 22 falcons have taken their very first flight in Brussels this spring. Among the 21 who were ringed and whose sex could be determined, there are 9 females and 12 males. The report is therefore relatively balanced with respect to the nests monitored by camera that count ... 0 females and 6 males!

In addition to these 10 breeding pairs, 4 other territorial pairs were spotted in Brussels this spring. It is very likely that one of them has also nested, but this has yet to be confirmed. This is the couple installed on the IT tower at the end of Avenue Louise, just on the edge of the magnificent Bois de la Cambre. Two other couples, located in Evere, apparently didn’t nest because the site doesn’t allow for it. They have been known for several years but one seemed to have disappeared. A last couple is installed on the church of Helmet, in Schaerbeek. They are newcomers, the surprise of 2018! In all likelihood they did not nest. 10 + 4 = 14, so 14 pairs of Peregrine Falcons have made their home in Brussels this spring!

Brussels the city of the Peregrine Falcons!

Thank you to all, visitors of the observation posts of the cathedral, the Saint Job church of Uccle, the town hall of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, and the visitors of website, passionate about the Peregrines, passionate about Nature, or new enthusiasts, patrons and other supporters, specialists in the systems for capturing, transmitting and distributing videos on the internet, for your interest in Peregrine Falcons and the observation of Nature. Long live the spring of 2019!

Didier Vangeluwe

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