The five of the University of Brussels (ULB)

They did it! The Peregrine Falcon pair from the Solbosch campus are raising a clutch of 5 chicks!

By dint of repeating it, no one will believe it anymore, and yet it is absolutely true. So many Peregrine chicks, it's really exceptional and - happening in Brussels! How to explain it? By particularly favorable living conditions? Probably not. According to various studies, the genetic quality of the parents has the greatest influence on clutch size and hatching success. Success at fledging stage will also be explained by the experience of the parents. However, this is not the case for all bird species. The reproductive success of nocturnal birds of prey, for many species, is influenced by food availability. So much that when it is lacking before the breeding season, the couples simply do not nest at all that year!

But back to the ULB. Another aspect is extraordinary this spring for the Peregrine pair who nest at the top of the belfry: the attachment with which the two parents feed their 5 chicks. Among the Peregrines, female and male share the brooding of the eggs and the rearing of the chicks. This is normality. But normally the parents only pass each other in the nest. Sometimes even the female refuses that the male feeds the chicks. But here, female, and male feed their 5 chicks together. Side by side! And they even  give each other a bite to eat!

The 3 videos in the appendix are exceptional. Unique? Probably!

Video 1 shows the first time the chicks are fed in the morning. It is 07:10, it is the female who arrives with a prey already plucked and decapitated. But look at the top right of the image, the male is there. We can clearly see its feet; it is placed on the edge of the nest. In fact, it was he who brought the prey to the female.

Video 2 is taken at 10:26. This is the second feeding of the day. Both parents are feeding the 5 chicks. The male is on the left, the female on the right. Seven Peregrines together in the same nest, are we dreaming!?

It is 5:09 p.m. when the images for video 3 were shot. It is the male who feeds the falcon chicks and then "brooding" them. He lies down on them to protect them from the cold. But because there are 5 of them and he himself is much smaller than the female, he can't really do it. Yet he does!

Blog 26042023 video 1. Caption in text

Blog 26042023 video 2. Caption in text

Blog 26042023 video 3. Caption in text