The 2023 breeding season brings us news that fills us with hope, but that also shows the complexity of dealing with a delicate species such as the lanner falcon. The wildlife rescue centre of Lake Vico is the only public centre in Europe that was successful in breeding the lanner, and this was possible thanks to the LIFE Lanner project, led by the Ente Monti Cimini. This year, two pairs of lanners laid their eggs at Lake Vico.
The first couple has been at Lake Vico for many years now. Gea and Atlante laid three eggs: unfortunately two were infertile, while the third one hatched. The chick, born with obvious health issues, died on its fifth day. Gea and Atlante had already laid eggs last year.
The new couple, Sirio and Penelope, laid this year for the first time and produced a clutch of four. One egg was infertile, and one hatched with great difficulty, then the chick died after three days. Despite all this sad news, we end on a hopeful note: the two remaining eggs produced healthy chicks, which were treated with the careful protocol developed within the LIFE Lanner project.
In fact, births take place in controlled favorable conditions. For this to happen, all eggs are removed from their nests on the 20th day of natural incubation, replaced with fake eggs and placed in the incubator in our nursery, which we set up thanks to LIFE funding. Once the chicks are healthy and ready, they are returned to their nest, where rearing by the parents is closely monitored.
The two chicks born to Sirio and Penelope went back to their parents’ nest on their eighth day, and are currently in excellent condition. They will stay there until day 28-30, when they will be moved to the hacking box where they will prepare to be released.
These dynamics of failed fertilization, difficult births and early deaths are part of the natural processes of reproduction, and we can only follow these events with a sense of helplessness. What encourages us is the possibility of seeing the luckiest young lanners in flight, when they are finally released.