Pedro Cotter, Portugal

Pedro Cotter

Amadora, Portugal

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Picture of a Common Kestrel

photo © Pedro Cotter

My 5 year old daughter, Maria, is a nature lover that likes to explore all kinds of living beings. Zuzu is a frequent visitor of my daughter’s window; he is a falcon,Falco Tinnunculus, and, like any other kind of falcon, he is very shy because he never allows me to take pictures.

Picture of the Common Kestrel outside of a window

photo © Pedro Cotter

We live in a city called Amadora, that is located in the suburbs of Lisbon, the capital of Portugal.Amadora is known to be a city crowded of buildings, just like other cities in the suburbs of Lisbon. My apartment is in the 2nd floor and my Marias’s room is located in the back of the building, that is equivalent to a 3rd or 4th floor.

During this year Easter season, Maria had these Zuzu visits more frequent. I’ve tried again to take the picture, and this time with success! Why?

Picture of a nestling and some eggs

photo © Pedro Cotter

We found in that minute that Zuzu adopted the flower window box as a nest and we was hatching seven beautiful eggs! Quickly Maria understood that Zuzu was not alone and there was a female also sharing this task with Zuzu, and her name now was “Margarida”.

Picture of the Common Kestrel's nest

photo © Pedro Cotter

This is where the story “Zuzu & Margarida” begins. Maria decided to move to another room to avoid the noise and movements that could affect the nest. I’ve decided to install a webcam so we can monitor the eggs evolution without being there watching. The webcam was broadcasting to me and my friends at Facebook, then it quickly started to be famous and I had to create a page only for telling the story (facebook.com/janelafalcao).

Picture of a nestling

photo © Pedro Cotter

The Portuguese television dedicated a lot of time telling the story and also the magazines, newspapers and radio. Maria was starting to be famous as a symbol of the child that abandoned her room just to avoid affecting Zuzu and Margarida. Maria speaks to the television explaining exactly how she is protecting the nest.

After one month thousands had a chance to see in real time seven beautiful falcons coming out of the eggs! Everyone had a chance to see the small falcons being feed by Zuzu and Margarida with rats, birds, worms and all kinds of reptiles.

Picture of a Common Kestrel

photo © Pedro Cotter

By this time the risk of affecting the nest was very low and Maria was already known, not only by Zuzu and Margarida, but also by the 7 little falcons.

Picture of some nestlings

photo © Pedro Cotter

One week after the born, one of the baby falcon was found dead in the street by a neighbor.The small falcon couldn’t resist to the competition between brothers and died in the nest. Margarida did her job that was throwing the body out of the nest.This was communicated by Facebook to all the followers that replied with hundreds of comments.

Picture of a Common Kestrel

photo © Pedro Cotter

One month after they were born, they started the small flights that ended by going back to the nest. In about two weeks they were finally free and never came back to the nest. .

Picture of young Common Kestrels

photo © Pedro Cotter

Amadora has now six new little falcons learning how to hunt like Zuzu and Margarida doesAbout 100,000 people saw the webcam and learned how to not interfere with the nest, even when there was a lot of rain and the little falcons look at us almost claiming for help.

Picture of some young Common Kestrels in their nest

photo © Pedro Cotter
A picture of a couple of nestlings

photo © Pedro Cotter