Pigeons, watch out!


They had previously disappeared from Belgium, and even largely from Europe. But now they are back: peregrine falcons. 12 couples have settled in Brussels alone, including a couple in the tower of the Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula in the heart of the capital city, since 2004.

The peregrine falcon is Belgium's largest native falcon. It is often considered as 'the fastest bird in the world'. If it swoops down on prey from height, it can indeed reach almost 400 km/h. Of course this is not active flight, but rather a 'fall', since its aerodynamic build and posture provide barely any resistance to falling. Males measure 46 cm from head to tail and have a wingspan of 85 cm. Females overshadow males, at 54 cm and 115 cm respectively. Peregrine falcons have a pale white underside, with dark cross stripes. The upper parts are blue-grey. They have a dark-coloured head with a broad black beard stripe. Their necks and cheeks are white. Their legs, eyerims and cere are yellow, but their beaks are dark grey. Young peregrine falcons are brown and striped lengthwise, before they get their adult plumage. Their legs are also yellow, but the cere and eyerims are blue-grey.

Until 27 May, you can observe three nests of peregrine falcons in Brussels every day, around the clock, with commentary (via the blog). The images are streamed in HD on the website falconsforeveryone.be. An innovation this year is that there is now a mini camera in the nest. Fantastic!