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Ad Dawhah (Doha) الدوحة

Qatar’s architectural marvel turns safe nesting spot for falcons

Qatar’s iconic structure Interchange 5/6 on Lusail Expressway is receiving the attention of bird watchers as this tallest landmark in the city turned a nesting spot of falcons.
Noted Indian falcon researcher Zubair Medammal found the nesting of Eurasian Kestrel, a species of falcon, during his visit to Doha.
Medammal, Assistant Professor, Department of Zoology, University of Calicut and PA Azeez, former Director of Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology & Natural History in India arrived in Doha after he was informed by Rafeeq Kuttippuram, a house driver staying nearby the falcon nesting site. 
“Nesting of falcons on such a manmade, metallic and fully exposed structure below which there is intense traffic round the clock is first time seen in the country. These birds normally nests on ledges on cliffs, trees and also top of buildings. The bird lays 3-7 eggs in a year that takes almost four weeks to hatch. The hatchlings are fed with chicks of other birds, small rodents, and rarely lizards,” Medammal, the falcon researcher, told Qatar Tribune.

Kestrels are the smalles among falcons, the national bird of the country. Eurasian Kestrel, scientifically called Falco tinnunculus is a relatively small-sized bird species with wide range of distribution in Asia, Africa and Europe.
“On close watch, it was seen that the bird has established its nest in a junction box that hold a red sign lamp on the upper reaches of the lower arch. The hole through which the parental birds enter the box seems apparently only of 10-15 cm in diameter. Looking at the behaviour of the parental birds, frequently bringing food items to the nest, it is sure that the box held more than a couple of chicks. We have photograph of one of the parent birds bringing in a chick of possibly of a pigeon caught from the nearby building to feed the hatchlings. The parental bird that entered with the prey remained almost 15-20 minutes, dismembering the prey item and feeding it to the Kestrel chicks. While one of the parental birds entered the nest the other waited for a while outside the nest and then flew away scouting for another food item (mostly another bird chick, since it seems that pigeon-chicks, easy prey for the Kestrels, are available in plenty in the neighbourhood.” He described. 
Zubair Medammal sighted the species and observed its activities on the arch and believes that the species which has settled its nest on the landmark monument will be safe there.

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