Friday, August 05, 2016

The Tale Of A Falcon Nest In The Auvergne

As I mentioned in one of my previous summer 2016 posts, a pair of falcons had built a nest in an attic opening of our stone farmhouse here in the Auvergne. My husband discovered the nest and its four tiny white fluffy occupants shortly after we arrived here at the beginning of June.

The little ones seemed to grow daily as the parents brought a steady ration of field mice to their offspring.  The protective parents kept a watchful eye on the chicks and every time we walked below the window, they warned us with their calls or circled over us.

Unfortunately, the nest was located right below the central beam of our roof. Since the roof was being replaced this summer, that created a problem. There was no other solution than for the roofers to transfer the nest and the chicks to the front of the house where there is another small attic window. For almost a day, the parents flow around the house while the little chicks called to them. and stared down almost accusatively at us.  Needless to say, we felt guilty and were holding our breath.

The parents kept on returning to the original nest site, but eventually one of them located the chicks and brought them nourishment. What a relief, I tell you.

As they grew, the little ones' white down feathers turned grey. It did not take long till they developed their first brown and white feathers. And then, overnight, it seemed as though they had doubled in size. They were almost as big as the parents.

The four chicks became more courageous, venturing closer and closer to the edge of the window sill.
Early one morning, just a few days ago, my husband saw the first one leave the nest. It flow about 40 yards onto the roof of our neighbor's house.Its siblings seemed impressed as they looks on.

Shortly afterwards, the second and then the third chick left the nest and joined the other, landing safely next to it.
One last one hesitated a bit more  Below is a video of this last remaining chick as it perched ever closer  to the edge, ready for its first flight. Unfortunately, I was not able to capture the actual 'leaving of the the nest' of this remaining chick. It happened just a few minutes after the video was taken.

The parents and the four chicks are still near our house. We occasionally see and hear them in the tall trees around us, but with every passing day, it seems as though they are moving further away. I hope they stay safe and grow into magnificent adults.

What a privilege it has been to witness this falcon family up close.


Anonymous said...

Amazing. Wonderful. Thanks for this. People here in Brooklynjust seal up the Kestral's perch or put rat poison out. I hate brooklyn.

Charles said...

Thank you. Things are much more dull herein cobble hill

Anonymous said...

I'm curious, is that round window not covered with a vent or glass? Don't you get all sorts of critters in there?

Katia said...

The window is an what was once the barn, so it was for aeration. We have a grill behind it, so that birds can't get into the attic, The stone walls , however, as rather thick, so that it still provides a effect nesting spot for larger birds.