falcons return to the cathedral, LPO fights for their protection

On April 15, 2019, on the day of the fire that partially destroyed the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the birds lost their shelter. Few people know about it, but several species, including the kestrel, actually nested in the cavities of this monument, erected between the 12th and 14th centuries. The League for the Protection of Birds (BIR) is fighting to ensure that we do not forget them.

This is a battle led by Emmanuel du Sherimon, coordinator of the Falcons Group of the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO) Ile de France, who is fighting for the inclusion of birds in the reconstruction of Notre Dame. from Paris. To explain the importance of his work, he cites Allen Bouguren-Dubor, president of the LPO of France, who said that the cathedral was an “ecological pyramid”, where each layer welcomed a new species of birds.

Pusels, jackdaws, pigeons or tits and raspberries … In total, the LPO lists a good ten different species that are evolving around the Paris monument. “Species of which we no longer have news today,” said Emmanuel du Sherimon, who intends to be heard to protect these birds, some of which are protected. “We have decided not to let go,” he warns.

punch holes for protection

His war horse? That the putty holes – square holes that have existed since the Middle Ages at the height of the cathedral’s architecture and in which birds nest – was not filled by the architects of French buildings during the reconstruction of Notre Dame in Paris. If nothing like this is planned at the moment, Emmanuel du Sherimon assures that the risk is real, because the pits of the bell tower of the north tower were already filled during the repair of this one.

“We are not paranoid, but we know who we are dealing with. The Church of Saint-Paul Saint-Louis, the Chateau de Vincennes … I can name all the churches where there were kestrel, which were constantly nesting and which disappeared during the night when these cavities were filled, “he said.

“The pretext is the fight against pigeons,” continues the LPO coordinator, who speaks of “a false pretext that doesn’t make sense,” about the detail of “solving a global problem.” And add: “There are other solutions that have proven themselves. If Parisians think there are too many pigeons in Paris, we must stop feeding them and express those who do.

The first victory

And in its quest, the LPO has already won its first victory, as the wishes for the protection of Our Lady of Paris were unanimously accepted by Parisian elected officials, who met in the Paris Council in early July, consisting of 3 parts. “On the one hand, the League for the Protection of Birds will be auditioned at the beginning of the school year by the Paris elected members of the 8th Commission. [Environnement – Climat et Biodiversité, ndlr]On the other hand, he wishes that those responsible for the reconstruction of Notre Dame de Paris should contact us and, last but not least, that the pits should not be blocked, ”said Emmanuel du Sherimon.

For the LPO, it is, above all, a hope to be heard by those responsible for the reconstruction of Notre Dame de Paris, and especially by General Jean-Louis Jorgelen, who heads the public institution responsible for restoring the cathedral. – did not respond to requests from the association. The request of Emmanuel du Sherimon? “Meeting, even outside” to “agree” and find a “common language”. “I will have enough of his words,” explains one who would be content with a verbal promise.

Return of the Falcons to Notre Dame

Meanwhile, this enthusiast is announcing his struggle and delighted with the good news, for example, recently about the return of the deserts in Notre Dame de Paris. “At least three falcons have been spotted in the cathedral today, including at least one young,” he said, convinced that they were falcons nesting on Saint-Chapelle. [également située sur l’Île de la Cité, ndlr] and who returned to Notre Dame. ” “Much open and higher space,” he said, “to teach young falcons to fly.”

So, a good sign for those who dream that the birds will one day return to nest on the destroyed Paris monument, but “not today, it is impossible” because of the unrest caused by the construction site. “Around 2000, there were about fifty pairs of falcons in Paris, today there are less than 30. This is what we are fighting for, there is no question of this process taking place, which we have documented too well,” adds Emmanuel du Sherimon. .

“We are not asking for a month, salamalaks or press releases. It’s just a verbal agreement, ”he asks. And finally: “in 1840, the naturalist Jean-Joseph Zeffiren Gerbe had already documented the presence of falcons in Notre Dame de Paris. They are part of the place.

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