Woluwe-Saint-Pierre: more male hatchlings!

This year, the sole hatchling from the cathedral is male, then we have the two males from the nest in Uccle, and – lo and behold – the brood of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre are also all male falcons!

The three chicks of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre were ringed yesterday. We present you the film of the ringing, performed under a blazing sun – it was 27 ° C in Brussels at the time –, together with this blogpost. It was a routine procedure, but as always carried out to precision: the metal ring is placed on the right leg, the colour ring on the left leg, then the wingspan is measured, a weighing follows,  we harvest some feathers for DNA identification and search for possible unwanted chemicals (including pesticides). Each piece of information is recorded in a field notebook. It takes 2-3 minutes per falcon. Next!         

The measurements speak for themselves: these are – again – males. We collected the egg that did not hatch: it does not appear to have been fertilized or, alternatively, the embryo died early in incubation.

The death of the 2 chicks last spring, only a few hours after they were hatched, is nothing but a bad memory with this new brood. Life goes on ! Their father is still the same falcon from when the nest was first built: on October 26, 2013 he was observed for the first time at the top of the steeple of the city hall’s tower and has nested here every spring since. It was hatched in spring 2012 in the bell tower of the Saint Antoine church in Etterbeek, another Brussels municipality, only a few km away. The hatchling’s mother is not ringed, so we do not know her origin nor her age. Additionally, we can’t be sure that she is the same bird as the one from previous years. It is indeed quite possible for an unringed female to replace another unringed female, without us being aware of it!

Now that we are on the subject; what happens to the falcons after they take flight? In the blog of April 22 you can read about the observation at the Saint Michael and Saint Gudula cathedral, of one of the male falcons hatched in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre in spring 2014, thanks to its colour ring. And there’s more news! One of the females hatched in spring 2015 is nesting in Antwerp this year, about 41 km away. She settled on Christ the King church, south of the metropolis. She had been seen there several times in the spring of 2017, but did not nest. In the spring of 2017, she was in her third year,which means she had just matured. It is not surprising that she did not nest, then. Her brood be ringed in the next few days. They are the descendants of the couple of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre. At least, certainly of the male who is still nesting on the tower of the city hall this spring.