A falcon night
Peregrine falcons are thought to be birds of prey that are mainly active during the day. But it looks like ornithologists were mistaken, or that living in the city has made the behaviour of these birds evolve!
Since a few years we've known that the parents hunt at night. We've witnessed this "live" in the castle of Belfort in France or on the Derby cathedral in the United Kingdom. We could also derive this from the identification of the prey that were found at the feet of the nesting places, including the St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral. Sandpipers, quails and other cuckoos are night birds which the peregrine, by logic, could only catch at night.
But it looks like the falcons do more than just sleep during the night! An analysis of the footage of the night of 29 April going on 30 April brings us following observations:
The last meal of 29 April took place during 7:04 pm and 07:15 pm. The three falcons fall asleep shortly afterwards. The night falls at 9:20 pm. At 24 past midnight, the female suddenly appears on the railing of the balcony and keeps watch near the falcons ("nightly arrival 30042012"). She gently calls them, but they don't (or barely) wake up. She leaves a little later and returns at 15 to 1 am "'first nocturnal visit 30042012"). She almost tramples her falcons! At the same time she gently calls them. They wake up. With their eyes wide open they raise their head. The female leaves within a minute. But what was she doing there? 01:41 am, the falcons suddenly wake up ("second nightly visit 30042012"). What's happening? A few seconds later, we hear the cry of an adult falcon, probably flying around the cathedral. The female returns shortly after. It was her cry that woke up the falcons. She arrives, smooths her feathers, looks left and right and then leaves again. The falcons fall asleep again. They'll wake up at 03:50 am and 05:24 am. Dawn comes at 05:46. The camera, which was in infrared modus and shot the footage in black and white, automatically passes to visible light. Colour has returned! The chicks don't seem to respond to the first rays of light. They won't wake up until 06:26 am. They have to wait for breakfast, the mother brings her chicks their first meal at 07:20 am ("breakfast 30042012"). It appears to be a delicious pigeon. The meal lasts for 7 minutes. The night is now behind them.
The videos are found here.