Banding of the falcon chicks of Uccle Saint-Job

This Friday, May 12, the 3 falcon chicks from the Saint Job church in Uccle were ringed.

It was in 2015 that a Peregrine pair nested for the first time in the bell tower of the Saint Job church in Uccle. The male was hatched at the Saint Rombaut's cathedral in Mechelen in the spring of 2012, while his partner, initially not ringed, was ringed in Uccle in the spring of 2016, at the same time as her offspring.

But how is it that a bird that is able to fly at 400 km/h lets itself be captured and ringed with its chicks??? In fact, she didn't let herself be banded... She was so aggressive, she was so protective of her chicks, that she came to plant her talons in the bander's hand! The only way to free himself was to remove his hand from the nest. But hanging on the hand, there was still the female Peregrine! She had clearly decided not to let go his hand! It was another person, present during the operation (ringing is always done as a team), who freed the hand, gently, squeeze after squeeze. And that's how you ring a female Peregrine!

This pair nested successfully every spring in Uccle until last year. In 8 years, they raised 29 falcons, an average of 3.6 falcons per spring. Not bad, knowing that the “normal” maximum is 4 juvenile falcons per brood!

But all of that is in the past. The “historic” couple was not seen again in Uccle this spring. Peregrines are faithful, very faithful, to their nesting site. And if one disappears, for one reason or another, the survivor will seek to attract a partner. It is therefore more than likely that they are both dead. Why ? We do not know because no body was found. But the avian flu epidemic which is currently raging in Europe and particularly in Belgium, is a very probable cause…

Still, a new couple came to settle in the Saint Job church this spring. The place did not remain vacant for a very long time! And we have before our eyes three healthy falcon chicks, as evidenced by the short medical examination carried out next to the ringing. The brood has 3 females weighing 572 g, 633 g and 678 g. The mother did not point the tip of her beak (nor her talons!). We won't complain!

Blog 10052023 video 1. The ringing of the 3 female falcons from Uccle