Fledging is imminent in Uccle

The juvenile Peregrines from the Saint Job church in Uccle hatched on the 14th and the 15th of April. So almost 6 weeks ago. And 6 weeks is just the time needed for a Peregrine chick, which weighs around thirty grams when hatched, and is then covered in fine white down, to transform into the fastest bird in the world! We will therefore shortly witness a particularly important and moving stage: fledging. And the least we can say is that this is not without any risk. The young Peregrines which, since hatching, have been careful not to fall, will, from one day to the next, throw themselves into the void several tens of meters high! It is unknown what triggers this mechanism. Is it a hormonal signal? It's possible.

Big new thing in Uccle this spring! A new camera was installed in the nest, last February, to film and therefore observe fledging. The new camera films the entrance to the nest from inside. We therefore see the chicks, and possibly their parents, on the threshold of the entrance to the clock, framed by the dial; which is so symbolic to the site.

For several days, the two Peregrine falcons from Uccle have spent almost the entire day observing the sky from the entrance to the nest. They observe, sleep, observe the sky again, beat their wings to exercise their muscles, hop, come dangerously close to the void and then sleep again. The attached videos show these behaviours in detail.

In the meantime, the parents are obviously still feeding them. But less and less regularly. Do they act like this to trigger their offspring to fledge? It's possible.

The two chicks will soon leave the nest. Not to fledge, but to explore the surroundings on foot. Which surroundings? The clock face and the hands, of course! This phase will probably not last more than 2-3 days. Pay attention, there will be a show! Then the big leap!

And this big jump is risky for young Peregrine falcons. Because if they do not manage to directly lift on an air current in order to rise into the air, if they do not manage to land at a height the first time, they will hover all the way to the ground. And if they are on the ground, there is no chance that they will be able to rise into the air and fly away. They are not yet muscular enough to take off from the ground; they are not yet experienced enough. Fledging must thus be a success at once!

What happens if a juvenile falcon fails to fledge and hovers to the ground? Two possibilities: either he dies of starvation, or he is devoured by a predator like a red fox. It's nature. But not in Brussels! The Peregrines are so well known to citizens that a young Peregrine who lands on the ground has every chance of being immediately spotted. What to do then: 1) prevent him from being run over by a vehicle, therefore “block” him so that he cannot run on the road! 2) make sure it cannot be chewed by a dog. How to do ? Simply push him towards a wall by walking slowly towards him. He won't try to run away, he won't try to fly away because he's completely lost. He doesn't know what's happening to him! Next step, call the League for the Protection of Birds or the Brussels firefighters who have a specialized and particularly competent team: the Animal Rescue Team. The falcon can then be taken care of in order to be brought up as quickly as possible, into its nest or onto a neighbouring roof, in order to... fledge a second time!

Video 1 and video 2 blog 25052024 The two juvenile falcons from Uccle will fledge within some days. They exercise their muscles and observe the sky.