The 5 falcon chicks from the University of Brussels (ULB) have been ringed.
The quintuplets of the Solbosch campus have been ringed this Friday.
The operation was conducted in the early morning and lasted about twenty minutes at most. It takes almost longer to climb up to the pinnacle that houses the nest and back down!
The falcon chicks have been ringed one after the other. The official number ring of the Royal Institute of Natural Sciences is positioned on the right leg. It is the Institute, which also houses the Museum of Natural Sciences - the dinosaur museum - which organizes this individual bird monitoring system throughout Belgium. Each country in Europe has a similar scientific service forming a network of forty-six scientific institutions spread across the continent. Obviously, the birds do not know the borders and the cooperation is daily within the network.
A black ring engraved with a code in 3 white characters is positioned on the left leg. This ring allows remote tracking. It is therefore not necessary to recapture the bird – or find it dead – to decipher the code of the ring and therefore know the origin and age of the bird. This double ringing system is only used in the context of specific programs. The Peregrine Falcons which, as a reminder, had almost disappeared from Europe during the 1950s to 1980s, are the subject of special monitoring which uses this system, among other things.
After being banded, each falcon is weighed, and its wing is measured. This allows, in combination with the observation of the size of the legs, to determine if it is a female or male falcon. There are 3 female falcon chicks and 2 male falcon chicks at the ULB. Weights range from 305g to 478g.
The attached video presents the process of ringing this exceptional Peregrine family!
As soon as they are all ringed, the falcons are obviously put back in their nest. Birds do not recognize their chicks by smell, unlike mammals. Parents therefore never reject their chicks, which have nevertheless been manipulated by humans. However, this does not prevent them from being very angry at the sight of the hand of an intruder inviting themselves into their nest, as shown in one of the photos in the appendix to this blog!
Blog 05052023 video 1. The film of the banding of the ULB quintuplets.
Blog 05052023 photo 1. The Peregrine mother from ULB does not appreciate the intrusion of a hand into her nest (photo DV).
Blog 05052023 photo 2. One of the ULB falcon chicks back in its nest (photo DV).