The breeding season is over, the webcams off line. But we will never forget what happened these past months! It all started so beautiful. Pa and Ma renewed their life long bond, Pa persuaded Ma to use the nest box on top of the Tower to raise a few chicks again. They mated and three beautiful eggs were delivered. Ma and sometimes Pa too, incubated their precious treasure with great dedication. On April 14 the first eyas hatched and the next day the two siblings appeared from their shell as well. The family was complete.

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However, by the end of this week, the idyllic scene was cruelly disturbed! A two year old female appeared in the territory of Ma and Pa. A battle between the females was inevitable. On Monday April 23, it became clear that Ma had lost the fight. She was last seen on Sunday evening, around 21.30 hrs. During that night Pa sat with the chicks. The next morning he went hunting for food but Ma didn't take over to keep the eyases safe and warm. In the weeks that followed, Pa turned out to be a SUPERDAD! He did his absolute best to feed the chicks.


The new, inexperienced, female took away the prey he brought to the nest box. She probably saw it as part of a courtship. As a consequence the smallest of the three eyases died of starvation and / or dehydration on April 29. The two remaining chicks turned out to be strong and full of spirit. They managed to survive on whatever Pa managed to get to them, despite of S2 taking away much of it. The webcam viewers were tossed between hope and fear. Would Pa be able to keep enough food coming to the little ones? Were the chicks going to survive? Would we see them fledge?

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And so we reached May 13, MOTHERSDAY. That day a miracle happened: S2 finally understood what Pa was doing. That the prey he caught, was for those little loudly screaming fluff-balls in the nest box! Her hormones took another turn and she began to feel the need to feed those hungry beaks too. First she fed them a leftover from a prey Pa had brought in earlier. Then, in the evening, she got tired of waiting for Pa to bring something. She went hunting herself and returned with a HUGE pigeon! As if she had done this many times, she started to feed the prey to the eyases. The two must have been flabbergasted at first by this change in S2, but very quickly they took the food from her beak in full confidence and trust. For the first time in a long period, the kids went to sleep completely stuffed! And S2 stayed with them, took them under her wings and became a great and caring foster mother. Because of this turn of events we could now almost see the two eyases grow by the hour.

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By the end of May Hope and Faith, as the two eyases were called now, were ready to leave the nest box and wander off to the roof of the tower. And then they took to the sky! They truly fledged and started to explore the surroundings. S2 kept supplying them with huge pigeons. She sometimes landed right in front of the outdoors cam, heavily breathing! She also participated in the flying- and hunting lessons to the two chicks. Sometime in early August Hope and Faith have left the tower and it's surroundings. They are independent and will go out into the world to find a place of their own. They were not banded, so we will never know what has become of them. But they had to fight for their lives in the first four weeks and maybe that can help them to reach maturity and lead a long and prosperous life!

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A nice series of shots of Hope and Faith on the ledge of the roof:

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This is what I wrote on my Peregrine Falcons forum when the webcams went off line:
Dear friends and fans of the Peregrine Falcons on the Tower in De Mortel

The webcams are off line. And so, for all of us who are not able to visit the tower, this is the end of the 2007-Falcon Watch season.
It has been an unforgettable, remarkable, amazing and emotional experience!

Firstly because the webcams came online very early. That gave us the opportunity to witness the courting, egg laying and
the hatching of the eyases for the first time.
But also, and not in the least, because of the disturbing and dramatic events with intruders and rivals.
It had a great impact on all of us.
It was an impressive and brutal reminder of the harshness of life in the wild.
The struggle for life is a hard and uncompromising one.
And yet this story had a "fairy tale" turn of events. When S2, the new female, finally got the (hormonal) message,
she turned out to be a great foster parent.

My signature at the BirdCamsAroundtheWorld forum is:
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.

May 13, Mothersday, was such a moment!

The reports of those who visit the nest site tell us that she is very active in teaching the chicks all the skills they need, to
become independent strong Falcons!
Miracles do happen! We are all convinced now.


The last 9 minutes that the webcams were online.
It was as if Pa, sitting on the platform in front of the nestbox,
was contemplating all that had happened during the past months.

And was saying his goodbyes, to us, to Ma and Ukkie
but also to Hope and Faith who, thanks to his percevearance
now could fly and soar away to make a life of their own.