Peregrine falcons have been successfully nesting in the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant since 2004. A nesting box was mounted on the chimney of the thermal power plant especially for this purpose. Over 30 chicks have hatched since then.
This year, the pair of peregrine falcons had triplets. The two young females and a male were christened Savannah, Svea and Sirius. The little bundles of fluff weigh in at an average of 450 grams and are in excellent health. From a height of around 40 meters, conservationists from the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) brought the young falcons down from their nest with the help of the plant fire department. The chicks were weighed, measured and ringed. Then the falcons were able to return to the parental nest.
"Tagging the birds allows us to track scientific aspects such as migratory behavior, settlement and relocation as well as the habitats chosen by the birds themselves," says Michael Bratenberg of SEC/SUMS Technical Environmental Protection. The color of the rings indicates where the chicks hatched – these so-called "plant chicks" have gold rings. These indicate the nesting box on the chimney of the thermal power plant. One ring is marked with the telephone number of the bird protection center, and the second ring allows the falcons to be identified at all times.
Peregrine falcons have an incubation period ranging from 34 to 38 days, and it takes up to 50 days for the young birds to fledge. The offspring usually stay in the territory of the parents for around four to six weeks before migrating. Peregrine falcons live to a maximum age of 15 years.
In Europe, the peregrine falcon was in danger of extinction by the end of the '70s. At fault was the widespread use of DDT, an insecticide used in agriculture and forestry. Due to its toxic effect on peregrine falcons and many other birds of prey, DDT was banned in the early '70s in all western industrial countries. From its low point of around 50 pairs in 1975, the German population has grown rapidly and now consists of over 1,000 breeding pairs. These settlements are now provided with strong support, mainly through the installation of appropriate nesting aids. In this way, peregrine falcons are also able to populate new, wide-ranging areas without rocks.