Latest news and a taking stock of 2018
The Saint Hubert Church in Watermael-Boitsfort is the second "historic" site where a couple of Peregrines have nested in Brussels.
First adventures in Uccle
The two male falcons of Uccle have been discovering the neighbourhood of the Saint Job Square for a week now.
The young Peregrine of the cathedral took its first flight!
It happened at 3:31 pm today. The young Peregrine of the cathedral took off from the balcony where it was hatched exactly 42 days ago. The attached video shows his last flutters on the balcony. So exciting!
First flight in Uccle! Exciting observations at the cathedral and in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre!
It was to be expected: with only male hatchlingss under observation, the first flight would take place sooner than usual. Indeed, males are significantly smaller than females but they grow faster than their sisters. They leave the nest a little earlier thanafter the 6 "classic" weeks. Moreover, when there are only one or two falcons to feed, we can imagine that they grow a little faster than when there are four beaks to feed!
News from other Peregrine Falcon families living in Brussels
In Brussels, there are a dozen (or more!) pairs of Peregrine Falcons. As is the case for all animal populations, not all of them nest, however. In some cases, it is because the building on which they settled, although very attractive because of its height and because it dominates the territory, does not present a good spot for the female to lay her eggs. In other cases, nesting has simply failed for one reason or another. Here is the latest news about three couples living in Brussels.
He ate a Cuckoo - a Peregine’s menu.
The couple of Peregrines from the cathedral captured a gray Cuckoo and fed it to their hatchling!
Woluwe-Saint-Pierre: more male hatchlings!
This year, the sole hatchling from the cathedral is male, then we have the two males from the nest in Uccle, and – lo and behold – the brood of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre are also all male falcons!
Video of the ringing in Uccle
The two younglings of Uccle were ringed yesterday (video 1). Their weight, relative to their wingspan makes it possible to determine that they are both males. Another way to conclude that they are male, is that they are much thinner than females. Female Peregrines are much bigger than males and are able to catch large prey such as ducks or even wild geese. Evidently, males would be unable to transport this type of prey back to their nest, since it is impossible for a male Peregrine to carry a mallard of a kg or a greater white-fronted goose of 2.5 kg!
The young falcon of the cathedral was ringed this morning!
It's a male and it weighs 617 gr.
The ringing of the young Peregrine from the cathedral.
What is (scientific) bird ringing? It is marking a bird with a ring engraved with a unique code so as to be able to recognize it individually. And why recognize it individually? To collect information on its movements, longevity, behaviour of an individual, and of several individuals, to obtain real "life stories" that can then be extrapolated to the population of the species studied. In other words, ringing makes it possible to have quite concrete information on the lives of individual birds.
Exceptional visit to the cathedral
Peregrine Falcons are (very) territorial birds during the breeding season. Why are these birds of prey ready to fight - at the risk of injury or even killing each other - to defend an air space and 3 gargoyles? We can propose two reasons.
The sole hatchling of the cathedral.
A first chirp is heard on April 12 at dawn at the cathedral. Forty-eight hours later, a first falcon hatches. It’s down still wet, it briefly shows itself for our admiration. This is the fifteenth year in a row that a pair of peregrine falcons nest in the heart of Brussels, at the top of the north tower of the Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gudula.
More news from Woluwe-Saint-Pierre
The three falcons of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre will obviously not be joined by a fourth. The last egg has not yet hatched and it seems now illusory to hope, 4 days after the outbreak of the third, that this will still happen. But it is one of the eldest that now leaves us puzzled.
The family of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre is growing!
The couple installed at the top of the tower of the town hall in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre has been brooding since March 17, and yesterday morning the two first falcons hatched. The male and the female Peregrine had been taking turns day and night, brooding their 4 eggs since March 17, to ensure they maintained a near constant temperature of 37.7 ° C. Thirty-two days of incubation is exactly the norm for the Peregrine Falcons!
The hatchlings are here!
A first falcon hatched this morning around 06:37 at the top of the north tower of the Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gudula in the center of Brussels. Watch video excerpt 1 here! The camera still films in infra-red, so the images are in black and white. The female falcon rises slightly; we see an open shell and two little feet beat the air. The falcon is still partly in its shell, but makes a final push. It's time to get out!
First little falcons hatching!
This morning, around 07:15, the female Peregrine from Uccle rose slightly, and a piece of shell appeared! The camera is still filming in infra-red and thus the image is black and white, but there can be no doubt : the first falcon of 2018 has hatched.
The Falcon calendar and ... 5 eggs at the cathedral!
The nesting season of Peregrine Falcons begins relatively early; in February, with the courtship displays. However, these are generally brief, especially when the couple already knows each other.
The joys of observation
It’s here, a new Peregrine Falcon-watching season begins today! And it will last for about two months, until the younglings fly out.