Eggs are chirping in Uccle!

The first time a pair of Peregrines were nesting at the Saint Job church in Uccle dates from spring 2015. The male is ringed! Deciphering the code on his ring allows us to know that he was born in April 2012 in the Saint Rombaut cathedral in Mechelen. The distance between Mechelen and Uccle is 28 km.

The female, however, is not ringed. We therefore know neither its place of birth nor its hatching date. But, during the ringing of her 2016 chicks, she remained next to them and was therefore ringed at the same time.

The Peregrine pair raises 29 falcon chicks (18 males and 11 females) between 2015 and 2022. With a very good average of 3.6 falcons per spring, the Uccle couple is particularly productive. Which is evidence of both the genetic quality of the parents and the availability of prey in their territory.

In the spring of 2023, the “historic” couple disappeared! In recent months, an unprecedented outbreak of avian flu has developed in Belgium. Thousands of wild birds have been found dead, including several dozen Peregrines. It is more than likely that the two falcons were victims because the cases of abandonment/relocation of a territory are quite exceptional. But the news is good, very good! A new couple is present and the female lays 4 eggs! The fact that the site was not deserted despite the disappearance of the historic couple, indicates that there are enough mature Peregrines "in stock" to directly occupy a place made vacant by normal or... unexpected mortality. This is an excellent sign of the good health of the Peregrine population in Belgium. The new female is not ringed, the new male is. Deciphering the code of his ring was a challenge, hence successful: he was born in spring 2018 at the Saint Antoine church in Etterbeek, another commune in Brussels. The two churches are 4200 m apart.

The same male is present this spring in Uccle. It is impossible to be certain about the female since she is not ringed. She lays her first egg 2024 on March 5, a second on March 6, and a third on March 8. But the shell of the latter seems poorly formed, and the female eats it a few hours after laying it. Incubation of the two “surviving” eggs begins on March 10. Since then, female and male have patiently taken turns on the eggs. Among Peregrines, both parents share the task relatively equally during the day. On the other hand, during the night, it is the female who always broods.

It is April 10, 32 days after the start of brooding. And, and... the first chirps are heard at the end of the afternoon. They arrive! Hatching has begun in Uccle!

Video 1. March 7, the female laid her second egg the day before, she still has to lay a third but the male is already incubating!

Video 2. April 9, the male leaves the nest, brooding is coming to an end. By being incubated, turned and turned again, the eggs have lost their shine, clearly visible in video 1.

Video 3. Also on April 9, the female returned to incubate her two eggs which remained unattended for 22 minutes.