Falcons for everyone

Falcons in the cathedral

At the end of the nineties, Brussels ornithologists discovered a couple of peregrine falcons hibernating on top of the towers of the St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral in the centre of Brussels. In 2001, ornithologists of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) in association with the Fonds d’Intervention pour les Rapaces installed a laying-nest on the edifice in an attempt to encourage nest-building. This laying-nest was never used, but in the spring of 2004, a pair of falcons nested on a balcony on top of the cathedral’s northern tower. At the beginning of March, the female laid three beautiful eggs. According to the ornithologists, this was the first time that this magnificent bird nested in Brussels.

As a result of watching the three chicks perform acrobatic feats on the cathedral’s gargoyles at the end of May 2004, the project “Falcons for everyone” was developed by the RBINS in association with the Commission Ornithologique de Watermael-Boitsfort. Thanks to the project the general public can now  enjoy this display of  nature’s beauty in an extraordinary setting for the seventh year in a row.

For whom and how?

The principle of the project is easy: enable large and small, commuters and townspeople, keen amateurs and day trippers to watch the pair’s nidification develop in detail. Every spring, in April and May, the public is invited to discover the falcons’ secrets thanks to two small cameras placed in the nest at a distance of a few inches from the eggs. The images are transmitted to screens that are put up behind the windows of an observation post, which is placed on the forecourt at the foot of the cathedral.

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