2000 Local Activity Reports

August 31— Eve Ticknor, who has coordinated the OFNC’s Falcon Watch for the last 2 years, has won the Elizabeth LeGeyt Award. Presented by Elizabeth LeGeyt herself, Kathy Nihei of the Wild Bird Care Centre, and Heather Bishop of the Ottawa Citizen, this award is given “in recognition of outstanding contribution to public awareness and care of wild birds.”

Modest as ever, Eve says, “As delighted as I am with being the recipient of this award, I truly feel part of this belongs to all those who have supported and encouraged me, especially members of the Birds Committee and the Peregrine Falcon Watch volunteers.” Those of us who know how much time and effort Eve devotes to the annual Watch know that it just wouldn’t happen without her. Congratulations, Eve! Well done!

July 20 [from Melanie Moore] — Zephyr has been found dead. Eve and Daryl were called to investigate this morning, and confirmed that it was him on top of Tower B tucked down in one of the air duct holes. By the sounds of things, it would appear that poisoning of some sort is the most likely cause of death. This is very alarming of course, as it puts the remaining three peregrines at risk too. We are hoping that the MNR’s toxicology tests can be done quickly, so that action can be taken to prevent further tragedies if poisoning is in fact the problem.

July 20 [from Eve Ticknor] — Today, I was called down to Tower B of Place de Ville, where, along with Daryl Seip of MNR, I collected the body of our youngest peregrine chicklet, Zephyr. No, he didn’t appear to have hit anything. We aren’t sure, yet, what caused his death, but MNR will be analyzing the body for poison, etc. He appeared to have died a few days ago.

As you may have heard Qetesh, an adult peregrine visiting from Toronto with her CPF handlers, Mark and Marcel, disappeared from Le Breton Flats on Saturday evening. Luckily, she was found Monday afternoon on Lemieux Island! Although very hungry and tired and suffering a minor wing strain, she was very happy to see us and the chicken breast we brought for her!! Several of our Falcon Watch members assisted in the search, along with the two handlers from CPF.

July 4 [from Eve Ticknor] — The Peregrine Watch officially ended on Friday, 30 June. By all counts it was successful, in spite of Windracer’s death.

Thank-you to all who volunteered, and to all who followed our progress and gave words of encouragement. A big thank you to Sandy who faithfully puts our events on this website.

A more detailed report will follow in a few days, after I have a bit of R & R!

June 28 [from Eve Ticknor] — I regret to tell you that we lost Windracer, one of our juvenile Peregrines, today. He and his brothers were doing really well, better than the gang last year. Unfortunately we think it was an accident, a miscalculation coupled with possibly a gust of wind. He hit a glass sided building about an inch or two from the top.

June 26 [from Eve Ticknor] — Freedom, Windracer and Zephyr have been having lessons over the past few days. At times they seem to resent having their diet severely curtailed and stand and scream at Horizon or Connor whenever they show up. However, they seem to be paying attention to the lessons.

They are showing more skill at entering the nest ledge or perching part way up the huge antenna on Tower C than last year’s 3 chicks. This year, they tend to favour the top of the Marriott Hotel, rather than the Standard Life Building as did last year’s crew, but haven’t yet ventured south of the Constitution Square building.

Our watch will be curtailed after the end of this week unless the need to continue arises. We will no longer need more volunteers and thank those who came forward to help us!

June 21 [from Eve Ticknor] — After the chicklets were banded (see June 11 report, below), we settled in for the long wait until the start of our watch on the 17th. However no one told our chicklets….

Whether by design or mistake, Freedom tried out his wings on the 16th! he was observed bumping into a window on Tower C where there was no ledge to land on. He then bounced off a window on Tower 1 of Constitution Square, left his imprint and made an undignified landing below on the sidewalk! Lise, of Constitution Square and Bob, of Transport Canada, called as soon as they saw him.

I received the “peregrine emergency” call at work, and, thanks to Marlene, Linda and Catherine, was able to leave work and collect Freedom who had been rescued by Bob and G.P. After our vet, Dr Robin Roscoe, gave him a clean bill of health, I returned him to his lofty home.

The next 2 days were quiet But little did we know what these birds, who had done little exercising, would have in store for us!

Between Monday morning and Wednesday evening, all 3 tried their wings and each was rescued 1 or 2 times, from the terrace (health club at Crowne Plaza Hotel), a Jeep hood, and the Glue Pot Pub. I’m glad to say all are healthy, somewhat adventurous inspite of being rather lazy, and definitely NOT in favour of Horizon’s meal reduction plan!!!

Freedom, Windracer and Zephyr (who also visited Dr Roscoe and is fine) have been keeping our volunteers busy!

Now, about the rain…

. June 16 [from Eve Ticknor] — We had a bit of excitement today, not the least of which was a unique way to get out of working on a Friday afternoon.

Freedom, our oldest chicklet at 36-37days, decided to pop off the ledge. He was seen by many who work in the area and who seem to be spending much time at their windows, luckily for today’s adventurer!

I took Freedom to Dr Robin Roscoe, our intrepid vet, who checked him all over, to his displeasure, and pronounced him fit and fine. He has almost no down and very few blood-feathers left, quite a change from the 9th! I returned him to his lofty home, to anxious parents who had just been feeding the others.

Several of us kept watch for the rest of the daylight hours as Freedom vigorously exercised his wings on the top of the ledge, while his brothers peeped their heads out once in a while.

Last year’s debut flight was preceded by days of wing flapping and hopping, as well as the lessening of food deliveries, none of which seems to have happened this year.

June 11 [from Eve Ticknor] — A warm public welcome to Freedom, Windracer and Zephyr! Our 3 chicklets, all males, were banded on Friday, 9 June, by Pud Hunter and Paul Gully (of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources), ably assisted by Shaun Thompson, Mark Nash (Canadian Peregrine Foundation) and myself.

The day was marked by the opening of the CPF Falcon Suite at 350 Albert St. Quite a few people were present to view the proceedings. Pablo, a live peregrine from Toronto, enjoyed the crowd around him. Kerry Coleman of MNR led the way with a few comments about the start of our new falcon season, with praise for all our volunteers, which I echoed during the few minutes I had to explain why we were involved. Mark also spoke about the CPF’s role.

Just before we gathered our equipment to go across the street, Pud Hunter made a point of thanking me and all our volunteers warmly and reiterated the importance of the role we play in the lives of these young birds. He explained that in the wild they have only a faint chance of survival, while in cities, groups such as the OFNC’s Falcon Watch volunteers give them an 80% chance. Mark added his thanks, saying that if it weren’t for us, the chicklets wouldn’t have much chance for life! How nice to have everyone acknowledge publicly that the OFNC makes a major contribution!!

On to the task at hand…. At our arrival at the Crowne Plaza I was delighted to see Daryl Seip, our MNR contact for the past several years! A few delays to sort out the enivitable red tape, and up in the elevator to a very dark,dusty crawl space behind the maintenance ledge that our peregrine family calls home.

Christie Curley of MNR had valliently volunteered to play “predator” while we undertook the banding process. Although she had gone over everything ahead of time with those who know, little did she realize just how scary a job it could be. Her role was to sit out on the ledge protected by a heavy jacket, hard hat, and gloves, waving her arms and screaming to keep the adults (Horizon and Connor) away, while the falcons did everything they could to vanquish this predator in their territory. We could see later how relieved they seemed to be in their victory.

Meanwhile, we spirited a black box of screaming chicklets, down in the hotel elevator, startling a few riders. We dashed across the street, listening to the adult falcons harrass Christie, and into the crowd at the suite. We put the box on the end of the banding table and awaited further instruction from Pud, who asked for quiet and no flash photos until he gave the word.

Shaun lifted the first reluctant chicklet out of the box and plopped him in the weighing can on the scale. Windracer — duly clicked in at 654 grams, aged at 28 days, and banded with 2 bands — let us know he wasn’t pleased, very loudly! The next chicklet, Zephyr, who we had thought was a female, proclaimed his masculinity with a weight of 635 grams and an age of 27 days. Last came Freedom, the oldest at 29 or 30 days and a weight of 644 grams!

Our chicks then made their media debut posing for family photos before being returned to their lofty home. Wayne Cuddington of The Citizen was able to get many good photos, as did Bob Boisvert, a prospective new volunteer. We made the evening news on CBC and the New RO, and the front of the Citizen City section!

It was nice to see a few of our volunteers present at a difficult time of day. I look forward to seeing more at our orientation session Thursday, 15 June at 7 p.m. at 350 Albert St.

June 9 [from Eve Ticknor] — Freedom, Windracer, and Zephyr are sceduled to be banded today at 9:30 a.m. Anyone who is free and wants to attend should come to the CPF Falcon Suite before 9:30.

May 24 [from Eve Ticknor] — We have names for our chicklets! One is definitely the largest, most likely a female and will be called FREEDOM. The middle kid will be called WINDRACER and the smallest will be ZEPHYR (there’s always a smallest!).

As of 7:45 this evening, they had dined on pigeon and had crops so full that their beaks were resting on them.

Our watch will commence June 17.

May 21 [from Eve Ticknor] — We have 3 chicklets in our family of peregrines now. They were hatched around Friday, May 12th! I was able to confirm that by watching the monitor at the Constitution Square building on Albert St a few days ago. They all look healthy and were resting under Horizon until Connor dropped off dinner! Horizon went off camera range briefly to decapitate the pigeon and returned to begin feeding. She was very careful to feed each one, looking from time to time to be sure she wasn’t leaving anyone out! She then carried away the remains and returned to settle down over the chicklets as it was rather cold and windy. My impression was of one being a bit larger than the others, but that could have been the way they were sitting…..

I am collecting volunteers now and can be contacted by phone (737-7551) or e-mail (sandbird@magma.ca).

April 27 [from Mike Street, Ancaster, Ontario]�— The Hamilton Community Peregrine Project, coordinated by the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club, is very pleased to announce the arrival of “Millennium Falcon,” Hamilton’s first peregrine falcon chick of the year 2000.

Since March 21, when the first egg of this year’s clutch was confirmed, Hamilton’s peregrines and their fans have anxiously awaited the arrival of this year’s brood. Today, just before noon, we were all rewarded when the first of the 4 eggs opened to release a noisy chick.

The chick’s name — Millenium Falcon — celebrates the recovery of the peregrine population in the new millennium and the inauguration of Hamilton Community Peregrine Project 2000. As befits the masters of the sky that these young birds will become, “Milli’s” hoped for siblings will be named “Skywalker,” “Solo,” and “Wookie”.

Toledo and Percy, the proud parents, are known for their room service and will no doubt provide Milli’s lunch in mere minutes. Because Peregrine Falcons do not lay all their eggs on the same day, it will take several days for the rest of this year’s downy white chicks to emerge. At 35 to 45 days of age Milli and siblings will attempt their first flights — with a little help from their friends. Again this year, the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club will sponsor a volunteer Falcon Watch to keep an eye on the chicks as they learn their sky skills.

Peregrine falcon fans can watch as Hamilton’s first chicks of the millennium get ready to spread their wings. Live video coverage of the nest is shown on a TV monitor in the Hamilton Community Peregrine Project 2000 display window at The Foot sporting wear store in Jackson Square on King St. W. at Bay. The nest image is also transmitted to an Internet webcam site.

Supporters of the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club expect lots of work for The Hamilton Community Peregrine Project over the next thousand years!

April 14 [from Eve Ticknor] — I can finally confirm eggs in the plural for our Ottawa Peregrines! I think I saw 3, but it was rather windy, so can’t be sure if 3 or 4 yet. The Canadian Peregrine Foundation is having problems with the camera and computer, so viewing our nest on the web will be delayed.

The nest is located at the northeast corner of a maintenance ledge on the Crowne Plaza Hotel, which is bounded by Queen, Lyon and Albert streets in downtown Ottawa west of Bank Street. I will be looking for volunteers for our watch which probably will take place sometime in June.

April 9 [from Eve Ticknor] — EUREKA! I was up on the roof today and nearly got blown off for my troubles. Horizon was on her nest, in her brooding mode! Her head was in toward the corner and her tail was outward. She would lift her head once in a while to look around, but tucked it under her wing when there was nothing to see. She did see me come to the edge of the roof, but wasn’t concerned and, after a look, ignored me. Obviously I didn’t get to see eggs, but with this weather I was glad of that. Her corner is well sheltered from the elements.

Connor was on his niche on the south face of the hotel, well sheltered from the very strong wind coming from the north.

My feeling is the first egg wouldn’t have been laid before the middle of the week as reports were coming in of Horizon being seen still roosting on the ledge.

April 2 [from Eve Ticknor] — I was up on the roof of Constitution Square today between noon and 1 p.m. When I arrived Horizon was sitting on the ledge very near the nest area, but no eggs yet! After a while Connor arrived and with much discussion, she took off for parts unknown, leaving him to sit on the northwestern corner of Tower B, keeping guard. Both were very aware that I was there, but weren’t disturbed at all. I walked around but found little evidence that they had been there, aside from 2 rather old remnants of birds — 1 starling and 1 pigeon.

March 31 [from Eve Ticknor] — Today, between 4 and 5 p.m., I went up on the roof of Tower 2 at the Constitution Square for a peek at Horizon and Connor. Although last week they spent a fair bit of time on the west side, they seem to be settled on the east side, back at last year’s nest site, in the northeast corner. Horizon was on the ledge as I drove up, but was on/in the nest scrape by the time I came up to the roof. As I set up my scope, Connor arrived to join her.

I was privileged to watch part of their courtship, a part I have not seen before. As Connor arrived at the scrape, he bowed his head down in front of Horizon and started tapping his beak on the various stones around him, chattering all the while. Horizon watched him for a bit, and then joined him in bowing and chattering, but not tapping. After an interval of this behaviour, Connor flew off and Horizon stood in the middle of the scrape for a while. Then she went over to sit on the ledge nearby and looked around. She was well aware of my presence, but had no problem with my being there. Connor reappeared on the southeast corner of Tower C and sat looking around, but not at his mate. She saw him and as he was flying off again, preened a bit and then closed one eye (the one closest to the nest area) and rested.

March 21 [from Alan and Carol German] — This afternoon, people attending a Transport Canada seminar at Tower C, Place de Ville, received an additional lesson in natural history. During a coffee break, a group was watching the female Peregrine Falcon perched on the ledge at the northwest corner of the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The male bird arrived and the pair were observed mating. It looks like the Ottawa nest may well be in business for 2000!

March 12 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — It looks like our peregrines are back! We expect increased activity over the next few weeks.

Reports from anyone sighting the birds are very welcome. Please contact Eve Ticknor or the main OFNC address.

March 9 [from Bernie Ladouceur, OFNC Birds Committee] — Just letting you know that Connor (the male Peregrine) has returned! At lunch, I saw (and heard) the pair of them buzzing around Place de Ville and sitting on the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

March 7 [from Joffre Côté, MNR Area Biologist] — Seasonal window-washing is nearly finished at the Crowne Plaza. The peregrine hasn’t been around. Have any other birds been sighted nearby? This warm weather should encourage the birds to come back earlier this year.

February 3 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — Our adult female peregrine, Horizon, has been “keeping the home fires burning” all winter so far! She can often be seen on the Crowne Plaza or the Standard Life Building, as well as sometimes on Constitution Square. I will be looking for watch volunteers in a bit. At present I would be interested in any other peregrine sightings around our region. Apparently 2 have been sighted recently: Gordon Pringle noticed one flying over Clyde Avenue, and a male has been seen several times around the Western Parkway (these may both be the same bird).

Also, I have been keeping track of the 4 Ontario chicks with transmitters: 2 are in Columbia, 1 is in Panama and 1 stayed home!!

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