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Five peregrine chicks from Kralupy and Neratovice successfully ringed. They will soon leave the nest.

31-05-2021  

The peregrine falcon is an endangered species that has become fond of the ORLEN Unipetrol Group’s industrial sites in recent years. High smokestacks of local facilities provide this bird of prey with enough peace and food to raise their young. This year, the Kralupy refinery saw one male and one female born, while Spolana Neratovice reports three healthy peregrine boys. They have now been successfully ringed by ornithologists to monitor their future fate. ORLEN Unipetrol has been collaborating with the ALKA Wildlife non-profit organisation on the peregrine nesting project since 2011. This joint initiative has helped to hatch 40 chicks to date. 

The peregrine falcon is one of the few species that became almost extinct in our country in the past century yet managed its successful comeback. About 110 pairs currently live in the Czech Republic. This number has recently started growing, also thanks to the strict protection. “The peregrines do not build nests on their own. Therefore, we started placing nest boxes on the chimneys in our industrial sites about ten years ago to enable them to raise their young safely. In nature, these birds of prey often get disturbed by tourists and other natural enemies,” explains Katarzyna Woś, Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of the ORLEN Unipetrol Group. Those interested can watch the peregrine nesting online on starameseosokoly.cz, she adds.

After a one-year break, the refinery in Kralupy nad Vltavou can boast a new arrival. “Although the mom laid three eggs in March, we saw only two chicks in the box in the end – one female and one male. They were in excellent condition. Each of them received two rings – an ornithological ring and a ring that can be read from a distance by binoculars or on a photo trap,” says ornithologist Václav Beran of ALKA Wildlife.

A pair of the critically endangered peregrine falcon raised their young in Spolana Neratovice a month ago, too. The peregrines nested in the second part of the site for the first time, beyond the web camera’s finder. They muscled out the original tenants, the kestrels. Therefore, it was initially impossible to see how many young had hatched. “Before we started climbing up the tower, we saw the female flying in with a caught pigeon. In the end, she settled on the opposite cooling tower, watching us very closely. In the meantime, we found three peregrine teenagers in the box, whom we ringed amid loud squawking. They were almost feathered but nice, so the ringing was successful as planned,” Václav Beran concludes optimistically. 

The peregrines start reproduction fairly early. The mating call lasts from February, and the female settles on eggs in March. It sits on them for 30-32 days. Once the chicks hatch, they do not stay in the nest for long. They can leave it after a month, flying around in the surroundings. Ornithologists ring the chicks ideally when they are 15–⁠25 days old. If they were younger, it would be impossible to ring them. Older birds can fight back and be aggressive. The ringing team would then risk their injury or fall from the box. 

                 


The ORLEN Unipetrol Group is the largest refinery and petrochemical company in the Czech Republic. It focuses on crude oil processing and on the production, distribution and sale of vehicle fuels and petrochemical products – particularly plastics and fertilisers. In all these areas, it belongs among the critical players on the Czech and Central European market. The ORLEN Unipetrol Group encompasses refineries and production plants in Litvínov and Kralupy nad Vltavou, Paramo with its Mogul brand in Pardubice and Kolín, Spolana Neratovice, and two research centres in Litvínov and Brno. Unipetrol also includes a network of Benzina ORLEN filling stations in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. With 420 filling stations, Benzina ORLEN is the largest chain in the Czech Republic. Since its entry in 2019 to Slovakia, Benzina ORLEN has been one of the fastest-growing chains and currently has 20 stations in its network. ORLEN Unipetrol employs more than 4,800 people. In 2005, ORLEN Unipetrol became a member of the ORLEN Group, the largest crude-oil processor in Central Europe. In addition to its business development, ORLEN Unipetrol is proud to be a socially responsible corporation. Therefore, it pays an equal amount of attention to initiatives, focusing on the cultivation and support of sustainable development, education, local communities, and the environment.

Contact: Pavel Kaidl, spokesman, telephone: +420 736 502 520, e-mail: pavel.kaidl@unipetrol.cz

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