Since 2011, we have been collaborating with the ALKA Wildlife association, monitoring peregrine falcons in our production sites where they have ideal living conditions: peace and enough food. Two nest boxes are currently placed on the chimneys of the boiler house and steam cracker in Chempark Záluží; one box is on the chimney in Spolana Neratovice, one is in the Kralupy nad Vltavou Refinery and the last one is newly in Paramo Pardubice. Peregrine falcon families have raised 49 chicks on our chimneys to date.
Peregrine falcons live up to 20 years and return to popular nesting sites all their life. With a maximum headlong flight speed of more than 350 km/h, it is probably the fastest animal on Earth.
Peregrine falcon is a traditional bird species in the Czech territory. The strongest population of this predator hunting pigeons, ducks, other small birds, and bats dates to the 1940s and 1950s when up to 60 couples had nested in the territory of former Czechoslovakia. They disappeared from the Czech landscape in the 1970s due to excessive pesticide use in agriculture. They reappeared in the 1980s. At the turn of the millennium, we had about 20 couples in Czechia. Thanks to strict protection, ornithologists currently register 130 to 140 nesting peregrine falcon couples.
Peregrine falcon nesting
Their nesting, i.e., the period from courtship dances until raising birds, usually starts at the turn of February and March. Until then, the peregrine couple lives at an average pace. They move around their territory but do not use the nest for life.
The female lays one to four eggs, on which she sits for about 30 days before the chicks hatch. Then, we ring the chicks approximately three weeks after hatching, which helps us identify the birds’ origin in the Czech territory. We also check their sex when climbing up to see the nests.
A genuine whirl of events starts for the parents once the young are born because they need regular care. Then, finally, they are strong enough in June to leave the nest. Their hearty menu primarily includes pigeons, gulls, small birds, and bats.
The young raptors leave home to gain experience and look for their own territory after two to three years to maintain themselves and bring another generation of this endangered bird species to life. Peregrine falcons can live up to 20 years and return to their popular nesting sites throughout their life.