New at the Rijksmuseum: two peregrine falcon chicks

Peregrine falcon in flight
Peregrine falcon. Photo:
Peregrine falcon in flight
A peregrine falcon. Photo:

A pair of peregrine falcons which have made their home in the bell tower of the Rijksmuseum have produced two chicks.

‘We thought something was afoot because bird spotters were telling us the birds were behaving differently,’ Rijksmuseum spokesman Casper van der Kruit told het Parool.

Then in May the birds started to fly to and fro with bits of meat, a sign that the eggs had hatched, he said.

A subsequent visit to the nest by building manager Igor Santhagens earlier this week revealed two healthy chicks of about two weeks old. ‘They were snuggled up close together, Santhagens said.

The Rijksmuseum pair, the first to choose the city centre as their home, were discovered by bird watchers in March last year. There are some six pairs in all in the capital, including at Zuidas, Zuidoost, the port area and on Steigereiland.

The museum almost chased the pair away when it decided to install nesting boxes. ’They were building a nest on top of the tower and that is not a good spot,’Van der Kruit said.

The birds then upped sticks and tried the Westerkerk church tower but returned to the Rijksmuseum a month before the breeding season started, deciding to move into one of the boxes after all.

‘We try to disturb them as little as possible. We will install webcams as soon as the breeding season is over,’ Van der Kruit said. He is hopeful next year’s chicks will be enjoyed by the public because, he said, once the birds find a good location they will stay.

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