Hassan II Mosque. Credit: Shades
Four peregrine falcon eggs have hatched in an artificial nest box suspended on the 12th floor of the Hassan II Grand Mosque, we learn from a press release.
This marks “the success of efforts to allow this iconic raptor species to nest on the site of this spiritual hotspot in Casablanca”says the source.
At the initiative of this project, a collaboration between the Moroccan Association for the Protection of Raptors (AMPR) and the company Perliagro (Pest Control Company) who pooled their efforts to find a solution based on nature to reduce the nuisance and negative impacts linked to the proliferation of pigeons within the perimeter of the site.
The head of health and safety monitoring at the Hassan II Mosque Foundation had asked Perliagro to reduce pigeon populations through ethical methods and based on natural regulation of the populations of this bird. Hence the idea of using a natural predator of pigeons.
The first step of this project was to set up, in October 2019, a nest box specially prepared to attract the peregrine falcons that had already been observed in the area. This initiative was made with the permission and partnership of the Regional Directorate of Water and Forests in Casablanca, which was involved in monitoring operations.
“The birdhouse was installed at 12th floor of the mosque and oriented towards the East to benefit from the first rays of the sun while remaining sheltered from the prevailing winds »explains the press release.
Less than two months later, a couple of peregrines began to frequent the nest box. Observed by a camera and based on the positive indicators that were recorded during the two years of the project, the AMPR was able to follow live the hatching, during the first week of April, of four eggs of peregrine falcons .
These raptors consume between 600 and 800 pigeons per year, which will prevent their nesting in the area of the Hassan II mosque. A GPS beacon is planned for the newborns on May 10, in order to be able to follow their movements and document their first flights.