The breeding colonies of Eleonora’s falcon stretch across the Mediterranean, from Greece to the Balearic Islands in Spain, and even the island of Mogador in Morocco. Thanks to small Argos beacons placed on these discreet travelers, we now know much more about their extraordinary itinerary during this migration, and about their surprising adaptation to the great rhythms of nature. Before and during this great journey.
Eleonora’s falcons are insectivorous for most of the year. These birds of prey only start to lay their eggs in the middle of summer. This is very surprising at first glance. The chicks will be born only during August, at the very moment when the insect resources around the colonies start to decline.
But this time lag is going to prove to be very useful. From mid-August, the first migrations towards Africa of passerines breeding on the European continent start. During these two months, the falcons will change their diet to take advantage of this manna, to ensure the growth of their chicks and to build up reserves for their own migration.
Their arrival in the Sahel, at the end of the great Saharan desert, shows a very fine adaptation to the rhythms of nature. Their arrival in the Sahel, at the end of the Saharan desert, is another example of a very fine adaptation to the rhythms of nature. It coincides with the end of the rainy season in the countries of the Sahelian belt and the insect explosion that is linked to it, insects which the falcons will once again feed on.
The young falcons, born less than three months earlier, will also engage in this migration. Without knowing the landscapes they are flying over, they will cross the Sahara, cross the African continent from West to East, gradually refining their direction, to finally reach the island of Madagascar.
From the Mediterranean to Madagascar, this episode of Secret Migrations will follow the odyssey of this hawk with truly extraordinary orientation abilities.
Broadcaster(s) : ARTE, RTBF, Curiosity Stream
Director(s) : Alexis de Favitski
Year : 2019Duration : 43 minutes