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Three peregrine falcon chicks in Kralupy Refinery leave the nest box


In June, three chicks of the critically endangered peregrine falcons left their nest where they hatched two months ago. The young peregrines will now acquire experience and train their hunting abilities before they settle and raise their own chicks in two to three years. People can watch the entire nesting period in the box on the chimney stack of the Kralupy Refinery of the ORLEN Unipetrol Group each year, right from the early courtship that starts at the turn of February until the young fledge in June. A total of 58 chicks of this rare raptor have already been raised on the ORLEN Unipetrol Group premises.

“The peregrine season is again drawing to a close with the young leaving the nest for the outer world. We are happy that the peregrine pairs have again nested on the chimneys at our sites and raised nine chicks in three of them this year. Peregrine pairs had three chicks each in the refineries in Litvínov and Kralupy, and in the Paramo production plant in Pardubice,” says Lucie Pražáková, Director of the ORLEN Unipetrol Foundation. She adds: “We are already looking forward to another nesting season. During the remaining months of the year, we will again adapt the nest box with ornithologists to prepare it for the next generation of young peregrines.”

After leaving the nest box where the chicks hatched and have been warmed, fed, and tended by their parents for the past two months, the young raptors remain in the area around their birthplace for several weeks. Their parents seek to increase their motivation to leave their territory, and each chick must find its own territory over time, where it will nest in the coming years. Young peregrines fly over pretty large distances when looking for their territory. Ornithologists often observe Czech peregrines in Germany, Poland, and even France. 

Five nest boxes are located in four production locations of ORLEN Unipetrol. The nest boxes were always installed in individual plants in the year when ornithologists observed peregrine falcons in their vicinity, which increased their chance of nesting at the given location. Ornithologists climb the stacks twice a year – in mid-May to ring the chicks with identification bands and in autumn to clean the nest box and prepare it for the next season.

For the first time, peregrine falcons nested on the premises of ORLEN Unipetrol’s production plant in Litvínov in 2011. The nest box at the Kralupy Refinery was installed in 2017 in collaboration with the ALKA Wildlife organisation, which is engaged in the research and protection of free-living animals. Although peregrine falcons nested there during the first years, they were not successful in raising young. Two chicks were born first in 2021, and four others followed in 2023.

"Falcons thrive on the chimneys of industrial sites in the Czech Republic because they have peace and plenty of food. At ORLEN Unipetrol, falcons can nest in five boxes, and this year we managed to raise chicks in three of them. After leaving their nest, the young falcons seek their own territory and travel considerable distances in the process. We have information about Czech falcons from Germany, France or Poland. However, most of them end up nesting in the Czech Republic, e.g. the male ringed on the Litvínov chimney in 2020 nested last year and the year before at the Trmice heating plant with a German female," says ornithologist Václav Beran from ALKA Wildlife.

In addition to the refinery in Kralupy, the Group installed nest boxes in the Litvínov Refinery, Spolana Neratovice, and Paramo in Pardubice. The boxes in Litvínov, Kralupy, and Pardubice have each seen three chicks this year, so nine young peregrines will leave their nests in the coming weeks.

About the ORLEN Unipetrol Foundation
The ORLEN Unipetrol Foundation launched its activities in 2017. Its primary mission is to support education and popularise science, primarily natural sciences and technical disciplines, as well as corporate social responsibility, emphasising local communities and the environment. The Foundation has long been engaged in supporting schools, teachers, and students with grant programmes. The educational project, ‚Plastík a jeho kouzelný kufřík‘, provides schoolchildren from the first to the fifth grade with an excursion into the world of chemistry through entertaining experiments. Educational support and the associated Foundation’s activities gave rise to many educational materials and outputs in the form of tutorials available at Beginning in 2024, the Foundation is also committed to corporate social responsibility related to the environment, support of local communities, and volunteering. Such activities include championing volunteer and community projects, fundraising, fish releases into rivers, nesting of endangered peregrine falcons, and beekeeping. The Foundation cooperates with many non-profit organisations on a long-term basis but also reacts to current events in society and emergencies. More information about the ORLEN Unipetrol Foundation’s mission and other activities is available at

Contact details:
Lucie Pražáková, director of the ORLEN Unipetrol Foundation

Telephone: +420 736 506 939

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