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Young peregrines have fledged. Thousands of people watched the first weeks of their life


During this year’s successful nesting, two peregrine pairs have had eight young on the chimneys of refineries in Litvínov and Kralupy. They have now fledged and will be getting their hunting experience and skills to have their own young in their established territories in the coming years. The peregrines’ nesting at the ORLEN Unipetrol Group’s sites has been supported since 2011 in collaboration with the ALKA Wildlife organisation. Since then, the peregrines have had 49 chicks on the chimneys of our production sites, which increases the number of this critically threatened raptor in the Czech ecosystem.
The wider public could follow the entire nesting period of the peregrines on the​ website, where they could observe the youngsters’ rapid growth through non-stop online streaming. This year, the number of visits to the peregrine-watching site climbed to more than 100,000 between February and May.

A successful year – eight young birds

This year, young peregrines have made it at both refinery sites in Litvínov and Kralupy nad Vltavou. The peregrine pairs had four young at each site. Ornithologists fitted all eight nestlings with rings on 12 May. After climbing up 100 metres to the level at which the peregrines nest, ornithologists also checked the young birds’ health condition and the vicinity of the nest box. During ringing, it was possible to determine what food the peregrine parents bring to their young. The peregrine diet consists mainly of starlings, pigeons, black-headed gulls, and hawfinches. Their rich menu mostly includes various smaller birds but also bats.

Dangerous first weeks

Eight hatchlings are a great success. In the first weeks of life, many pitfalls await the young. In addition to freezing and rainy weather, which are the most common causes of unsuccessful breeding, some pitfalls are really unexpected. For example, last year one of the chicks fell victim to an attack by a foreign female falcon. Another female even ate her own eggs. Ornithologists explain this phenomenon with a poorly set behaviour pattern of the female, who repeatedly eats her eggs after several days of incubation, despite plenty of food around the nest. In both cases, according to ornithologists, it was an unusual situation, which fortunately is very exceptional in the falconry world. Despite these difficulties, the falcons on the chimneys of industrial plants do very well and the numbers of this rare bird of prey, which is the fastest flyer in the bird kingdom, grows every year.

From Litvínov to France

The young raptors will fly into the world to gain experience. When they are two to three years old, they will find their own territory to get enough food and breed the next generation of this threatened bird species. Peregrines can live up to 20 years and return to their favourite nesting grounds all their lives. Ornithologists can monitor how the peregrines are doing with the help of their ID bands. For instance, a male peregrine, which hatched in Litvínov three years ago, had young with a German female peregrine on the chimney of the nearby Teplárna Trmice. Peregrines that fledged from ORLEN Unipetrol’s chimneys can be seen not only in the Ústí Region but also in the neighbouring Saxony and Poland and further afield, for instance, in France.


The ORLEN Unipetrol Group is the largest refining and petrochemical company in the Czech Republic. It focuses on crude oil processing and the production, distribution and sale of vehicle fuels and petrochemical products – particularly plastics and fertilisers. It belongs among the key players on the Czech and Central European markets in all these areas. The ORLEN Unipetrol Group encompasses refineries and production plants in Litvínov and Kralupy nad Vltavou, Paramo in Pardubice, Spolana in Neratovice, REMAQ in Otrokovice, and two research centres in Litvínov and Brno. ORLEN Unipetrol also includes the Benzina ORLEN filling station network in the Czech Republic and a network of ORLEN outlets in Slovakia and Hungary. In 2005, ORLEN Unipetrol became a member of the ORLEN Group, the largest multi-energy company in Central Europe. ORLEN Unipetrol employs almost 6,000 people and is active in corporate social responsibility. It seeks to promote initiatives that cultivate and support sustainable development, education, local communities, and the environment.

Contact: Pavel Kaidl, spokesperson, telephone: +420 736 502 520, e-mail:

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