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Brussels' peregrine falcons welcome first chick of the season

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: This handout picture, distributed by the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences RBINS (KBIN-IRSNB) shows a Peregrine Falcon (slechtvalken - faucons pelerines), flying from the Saint-Michael and Saint-Gudula Cathedral, in Brussels. BELGA PHOTO ROYAL BELGIAN INSTITUTE OF NATURAL SCIENCES HANDOUT
06:03 13/04/2021

The breeding season for peregrine falcons is again well underway. In a tower on Saint-Job church in Uccle, a first falcon chick was born on Monday morning in one of the three nests that are watched live by the Museum of Natural Sciences via a webcam.

After the chick made a first hole in the egg with its beak, it took a few hours of pecking, millimetre by millimetre, before it was able to break open the shell and free itself. And so, the chick became visible for the first time on Monday, becoming an internet star via the livestream.

For the pair of peregrine falcons in Uccle, this is the first egg of four to hatch. The particularly productive pair have been hatching eggs together in the tower of the church for seven years in a row and have raised a total of 23 falcons. In the next few hours, the other eggs should also hatch. The first hatching had been expected since Friday, but due to the snow and the cold weather, the process had been delayed.

In the Brussels region there are two more nests that are observed via livestream. On the Free University of Brussels (ULB) university campus in the tower of Building A, a couple has nested, and are currently hatching five eggs. Their chicks are expected to be born on Tuesday.

No eggs will be hatched this year at the Saint Michael and Saint Gudula Cathedral in central Brussels. Last year, a new couple had settled in, but all their chick failed to survive more than a week. This year, the female did not lay any eggs.

Written by Nick Amies