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article imageSagrada Familia falcons produce 3 new chicks (Video)

By Anne Sewell     Apr 27, 2014 in Environment
Barcelona - The famous Peregrine Falcons, living in the iconic Sagrada Familia (Temple of the Sacred Family) in Barcelona, are proud parents of brand-new offspring. Three falcon chicks have been caught on camera in Antoni Gaudí's spectacular unfinished masterpiece.
While the resident Peregrine Falcons are still hugely outnumbered by the local pigeons, they have recently become proud parents to three fluffy chicks. The couple have apparently lived in a bell tower of the iconic building since 2004.
A group of scientists are following the presence of the falcons with interest and their camera caught a view of the mother with her babies recently (in the video above). Reportedly the father is not too keen on visitors and is also keeping an sharp eye on the proceedings.
The huge pigeon population will come in handy as the chicks will be fed on a diet of starlings, pigeons and any other birds the parents can catch in the vicinity. However, according to the La Vanguardia newspaper (in Spanish), this is unlikely to reduce the population overmuch.
According to National Geographic there are around 12,000 pairs of Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus) in Europe, including the Sagrada Familia pair and others living in iconic structures such as the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and the Tate Modern in London.
In the early 20th century, there were reportedly many more falcons in Barcelona, but many were killed as they were considered to be vermin. Nowadays authorities lend a kinder eye to the species.
Peregrine Falcon in flight in Spain.
Peregrine Falcon in flight in Spain.
Juan Lacruz
According to La Lamentable (Spanish language), falcons have been back and active in Barcelona for the last 10 years. Some nested in the Macosa Torre in Diagonal Mar, which has recently been renovated, moving the birds on. Another breeding pair lives on Montjuïc and now the couple in the Sant Bartomeu tower of the Sagrada Familia are happily settled.
La Lamentable describes the father as a "loose chicken from the port" who is around 13 years old, but apparently still attractive to the female of the couple. They apparently had four eggs in total, but only three hatched successfully.
The Peregrine Falcon is renowned for its incredible speed, reaching over 322 km/h (200 mph) during its characteristic hunting stoop (high speed dive), which apparently makes it the fastest member of the animal kingdom. Now to be seen swooping swiftly around the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
The Sagrada Familia viewed from Casa Milà  Barcelona  Spain
The Sagrada Familia viewed from Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain
Bernard Gagnon
More about Sagrada familia, Barcelona, Spain, Peregrine Falcons, Chicks
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