What is the Falcon Watch?

Version française

The Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club’s Peregrine Falcon Watch is a volunteer initiative dedicated to the protection and recovery of the Peregrine Falcon.

These majestic birds have been slowly re-establishing themselves in North America after nearly being driven extinct. Some are returning to the wilderness areas they previously occupied. Others have adapted to cities, where prey is plentiful and highrises act as “urban cliffs”, providing high perches and nest sites.

OPFW History
In 1997, Peregrines established a nest at the Citadel Inn (now the Delta Ottawa City Centre) in downtown Ottawa. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources approached the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club to initiate a monitoring program for the endangered birds, especially during the critical fledging period.

The Ottawa Peregrine Falcon Watch has been monitoring the original nest site ever since. In 2012, we began monitoring another site near Heron Rd. and Bronson Ave., where pair of falcons has nested since at least 2011.

What We Do
The Falcon Watch’s main objective is to assist the juvenile birds, if required, as they learn to fly. For two or three weeks every June or July, volunteers station themselves near the nest site to keep an eye on the fledgling chicks and do what they can to keep them from harm.

The city is a dangerous place for inexperienced falcons. Before they can even fly, they may fall or be blown off the nest ledge. As they take their first flights, the young birds can fall to the street, and they can get stranded on balconies or in other tight spots. Throughout the first weeks of flight, they may crash into windows and fall to the ground.

Their survival may depend on dedicated, trained volunteers who monitor the birds, rescue them if necessary, and return them to the safety of the nest area or seek medical attention for injured falcons.

Volunteers also record their observations of the falcons and educate the public about these impressive birds of prey.

The Falcon Watch is grateful for the support of the management, staff and tenants of:

  • Canada Revenue Agency Technology Centre / Brookfield Office Properties
  • Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources