Brussels: the city of the Peregrine

 

They had completely disappeared in Belgium and in most areas in Europe. The culprits: poaching, hunting, habitat disruption, but most of all the use of pesticides like DDT. But then people mobilized to find solutions for these problems, and they worked! The falcons have returned!

It was in 2004 that a couple of Peregrine Falcons first settled at the top of the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, in the heart of Brussels (link). From there, these mythical falcons dominate the city, overlooking the Grand Place and the Royal Park at the same time. Their ultra-sharp vision allows them to see for several kilometres beyond the city limits!

Since their arrival, these beautiful and amazing birds - they are the fastest animals in the world and can reach 400 km/h while diving, and 100 km/h in horizontal flight – have nested successfully on this age-old building each spring. In the meantime, a total of 45 falcons took flight from the cathedral.

But the story doesn’t end there! Throughout the years, new peregrine falcon couples have arrived in Brussels. There are about twelve couples this spring, unbelievable but true! A world record for a capital?

We offer the opportunity to follow the nesting cycle of three Peregrine families in Brussels live, day and night. From the hatching of the nestlings to their first flight! Cameras were installed very close to the nests. The images are broadcasted in HD streaming on the website. The scenes are 100% natural: no trickery, all the falcons settled on each site on their own.

 In Woluwe-Saint-Pierre (link), the Peregrine couple nests at 65 metres high, on top of the town hall tower. From there, the falcons have a great view over de Woluwe valley and its many parks and ponds. In Uccle, the couple lives at the St. Job Church (link). The nest is located in the centre of the clock on the tower. The falcons can be observed flying quietly over the St. Job quarter, a village in the city! The Soignes forest, a magnificent piece of nature, is only a couple of wing strokes away.

In the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, we study and observe the evolution of the Peregrine falcon population in Belgium since 1994. In every corner of our country, collaborators observe and ring the young falcons. Now we share our discoveries with you!

Every year, more and more people follow the falcons and their chicks. Last year our website was visited 3.230.000 times in 8 weeks. On the day that the eggs hatched alone, the site recorded 116.000 hits. Around 15.000 people came to visit the observation post at the square in front of the cathedral.

To discover the spectacle of hatching, growing and ultimately the first flight of the falcon chicks, connect to our webcams by clicking on the map below.

Do you want to learn more on the natural history of this fascinating predator, particularly about the adventures of the pairs nesting in Brussels? Go visit the blog! Would you like to see them « in real life »? Join us at the observation post at the cathedral from April 5th until May 25th or join us on the temporary observation posts in Woluwe-Saint-Piere and Uccle! Our ornithologists await you with a powerful telescope. You can even take pictures of the falcons with your smartphone, thanks to the ‘digiscoping’ technique!

Welcome on the website of the Brussels’s Peregrine falcons!

 

Go tot he video album

Videos of the falcons

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