Written by Lucy Brzoska
The two agentes rurales had the difficult job of abseiling down Montjuic’s inaccessible cliff face and retrieving the three Falcon chicks from their nest, while one of the adult Peregrines repeatedly dived towards them, calling in alarm. The fiddly work was then in the hands of Eduard Durany, general overseer of Barcelona’s Peregrine population, with help from Josep García, an expert on herons among other things.
First out of the bag was a male, identified by its smaller size. At just over three weeks old, it was still covered in sparse white down.
But a fine set of tail feathers were already on display and the plastic-like protective sheaths were crumbling away. By the end of the ringing session, the area was covered in white dust.
The young male stayed relatively calm throughout.
But both females were lusty screamers. They wouldn’t relent, even with a hood in place, which made it harder for the ringers to concentrate on the job. But it was a good sign they were strong and healthy, particlarly welcome after the sad news from the Sagrada Familia.
The young falcons might look like they’re wearing fluffy bloomers, but their talons are already strong and sharp.
Despite the uncomfortable steepness of the rocky slope, the whole operation was seamless, and soon the chicks were safely deposited back on their ledge. The adult Peregrine took a while to calm down, and vented its stress by harrying seagulls.
Among the meal remains in the nest was a moorhen’s foot and numerous Collared dove feathers.