Breeding peregrine falcons

We try to let nature go its own way as much as possible on and around the Dow site in Terneuzen. But where necessary we also like to lend a hand. For example, in 2004, together with the Zeeland Bird of Prey Task Force, we put up a nesting box for peregrine falcons on our LPG tanks. A peregrine falcon soon came to nest in the box and since then we have had yearly breeding success. That means that every year a few young of this special bird of prey are raised.

The Bird of Prey Task Force weighs and measures the young, determines the sex and rings them before the young fly out. They stay around the nest for several months and then leave for new habitats. Cees van Houwelingen, Operations Regulatory Services Leader at Dow, keeps an eye on them: “The moment I spot a peregrine falcon, I always report it to the bird of prey group, so they know when to go and see if any eggs have been laid. And if there are eggs, they can estimate when the eggs will hatch and plan when they can examine and ring the young. That ringing is always a fun moment. The hatchlings have a high cuddle factor.” 

From opposition to cooperation
The nice thing about working with a bird of prey task force like this is that historically, nature groups were often seen as a potential adversary in the permitting process of a new project. The beauty is that we are now working together to restore the population of a special bird of prey. “The great thing is,” says Cees, “that a peregrine falcon usually nests at great heights, and we don't have that many great heights in the Netherlands. With that LPG tank we actually created an artificial high rock wall in the form of a large concrete wall and this offered opportunities for a nesting site for the peregrine falcons at that location.” There were not very many registered breeding pairs left in the Netherlands in 2004. “Now with the breeding pair in this box we are contributing to the recovery of the peregrine falcon population.” 

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Listen to the Podcast with Anton van Beek

Listen to the Podcast via the link below, in which Maikel Harte talks to Anton van Beek about the sustainable ambition of Dow Terneuzen.