The Peregrines at the University of Brussels (ULB)
The first observations of a Peregrine Falcon on the ULB campus in the Solbosch district date back to winter 2017-2018. During the same period, a falcon is from time to time spotted, perched on the Church of Saint Adrian, just 500 m southeast. Considering that a pair nests on the IT tower located at the end of Avenue Louise at the entrance to Bois de la Cambre, only 850 m from the Solbosch site, the establishment of a new pair has hitherto been excluded. Mistake, serious mistake!
In fact, in early spring 2019, a ULB student spotted a pair of Peregrines who were brooding at the top of the tower of the building of the Faculty of Law and Philosophy and Letters. No doubts, despite this proximity, a new Peregrine pair has settled in Brussels.
The building that shelters the nest is the oldest building of the University in Brussels. It was built in 1924 as a result of the generosity of an American foundation. Incredible but true, it was the US benefactor himself who imposed the construction of the tower as a "Memorial Tower, intended to commemorate America's generous deeds." Almost 100 years later, it is a pair of Peregrines who benifit!
Quickly after his first observations in March 2019, the "discoverer" realizes that the two partners are ringed. A diligent observation, good light, not too much wind and yes, he manages to decipher the code of the two rings with a telescope! Superb success!
Information grabbed, the female did hatch in April 2014 at the Netherlands, not far away of Maastricht, 106 km away from Solbosch. The male is a real Brussels resident. He hatched in 2012 on the Church of Notre-Dame de Laeken, north of the city. Thus he now nests only 8 km away from his native nest! Of course, this doesn’t mean that the bird flew from one site to the other in a straight line. Nothing says he hasn't flown hundreds of miles in the meantime! We’ll talk about it later.
Considering that 2019 is the first year of Peregrines brooding at the ULB site (which is indeed very very likely) and that Peregrines do not move nesting sites once settled, we may conclude that the male wandered for 7 years before nesting for the first time. Astonishing!
In 2019, they raised 2 falcons. Strange, one of them, a young male, will be observed, again by our assiduous discoverer, on February 3 of the following year, together with his two parents on the tower where he was born. Normally, young Pilgrims leave their parents' territory during the fall following their hatching. Is it the consequence of an instinct which pushes the young Peregrines to leave in search of a territory or rather, more prosaically, because they are chased away by their parents who must preserve a pantry and at the same time start to think of a new brood. Honestly, we don't know! But in this case, this juvenile Peregrine is obviously showing little interest to explore!
In 2020, the same pair raised 3 falcons.
What about this year? To be continued !