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Peregrine Falcon

Welcome on the website of the peregrine falcons of Amersfoort.

A short summary in English.

 

general

Peregrine falcons are birds of prey that can be found all over the world. In the 1960's they were in Europe almost extinct, as pesticides were the cause of thinner egg shells - so the eggs often broke during the breeding process. Since those pesticides were abolished, the peregrines soon recovered in numbers : from a single pair in 1990, there are now approximately 200 breeding pairs in the Netherlands. Breeding is nowadays usually on tall towers or other high man-made objects. The female of the peregrine is much bigger then the male. They often hunt by diving from a high level on flying birds, like seagulls or pigeons. In that dive they can reach a speed of over 300 km/hour, making them the fastest birds on earth. During the breeding period it is the male that does all the hunting. The female does most of the breeding, and feeds the chicks the first weeks. 

 

Amersfoort

Since early 2013 a pair of peregrine falcons has chosen the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwetoren in the centre of the old city of Amersfoort as their territory.

From their rings it appeared that the male was born in Eindhoven (80km from Amersfoort) and the female was born in Brussels (in Belgium - 160km from Amersfoort).

A nest box was placed on the second gallery (halfway up the tower), but the two falcons were still too young to breed. However the next year they managed to raise successfully 3 chicks (2 males, 1 female).   

The following year (2015) there has been a fight between some peregrines, resulting in the replacement of the female by another female. This female was born in Cologne (Köln - Germany, 160km from Amersfoort). The first female was not hurt and moved to the next town : Hilversum, and chased away the local female peregrine, and since then has successfully been breeding on the main church.  The new female in Amersfoort raised that year only one chick - a female.

Since 2015 this pair of peregrines (new female with original male) has every year successfully raised four chicks, and each year two males, two females.  

 

webcams

The nest box has two webcams : one inside the box, the other viewing the platform near the entrance of the box. You can find the Links to the two webcams on the HOMEPAGE of this website. 

Of course it is mainly during the breeding period (March until May) that there is much interesting activity to be seen on the webcams. Especially in April, when the young are being fed by their mother and you can see them grow bigger by the day. In May the young peregrines start to fly and soon the falcon family moves to some nearby high office blocks (near the station). Here the young get their flying lessons, and are taught how to hunt. End of July they usually disappear and will not return to Amersfoort. The parent peregrines stay behind and hang around the tower and the office blocks, but in a very relaxed mood. 

 

tourists

As the OLV-tower is year-round also climbed by many tourists, a special arrangement was needed to keep the peregrines separated from those visitors. On the second gallery a large area around the nest box is permanently closed for visitors and shielded off with a high fence. The rest of the second gallery can normally be used by the tourists. However as soon as it is noticed that the young peregrines start walking around (outside the nest box), the complete gallery is closed off for a few weeks. Only when it is certain that all the young can properly fly, the gallery is opened for visitors again.   

 

history

On this website you can follow (in Dutch) the entire history of the Amersfoort falcons, as for each year there is a special page (see TIJDLIJN), usually with many pictures. On those pages you will also find a Link to a list of videos of special moments, captured on the webcams.
So even if you do not understand all of the Dutch text, you can get an impression of the breeding process.

 

We hope you enjoy it all.  

 


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