December 20 [from Eve Ticknor] — I saw both Horizon and Connor on the Coats Building around 3 p.m. today. Connor was on the west face atop one of the columns, working over a kill. When he finished, he flew around the building out of sight. When I drove around, I found both of them sitting on the flood lights on the east face!
November 23 [from Eve Ticknor] — I was down at the Coats Building today around 12:15pm and saw both Horizon and Connor. They were on the south face as usual. This is where they spent most of their time last winter as well. Horizon was perched on top of one of the columns, fluffed up a bit and looking around, while her mate was doing his usual bit to make sure she could see just how miserable he looked. He was tucked into a corner above the windows and next to a column, all huddled up and staring at Horizon! And it’s not even that cold out — yet.
November 20 [from Eve Ticknor] — I think our falcons are most likely exploring their territory and may be hanging out at other locations. The weather is still fairly mild for them to do this. I wouldn’t place any bets on Connor’s location just yet. As for the window washers, they are reasonably safe to d their work now as it is not breeding season. That’s the only serious time as far as our birds go. Even if Horizon were there screaming at them, she would be only half serious about it.
November 20 [from Arlene Williams] — I am somewhat taken aback today that I have not, as yet, seen either of our adult falcons, as the window washers and their related equipment are hanging from the top of the Crowne Plaza Hotel building on both the east and west sides of the building. As well, there is a single individual washing the windows on the north wall of Tower 1 of the Constitution Square building. The individuals working on the Crowne Plaza when first going out on the ledge area, did so hesitantly, as it looked like they both had been expecting to be bombarded with the falcons letting them know that they did not appreciate their appearance. However, to this hour – 1:40 pm – neither falcon has made their presence known, at least, to this observer and I work directly across from where the window washers are setting up their equipment.
I know for sure that Horizon is still here as I had written about her presence yesterday, but today I have seen neither, so I hope that both are lounging/basking in the bright sunlight at Tunney’s Pasture and I will see them tomorrow. If Horizon only appears in the next day or so, then I will make an assumption that he (Connor) decided to go south during those very cold days/nights which we all experienced at the beginning of this month
November 19, 11:43 a.m. [from Arlene Williams] — Our famous and steadfast mother – Horizon – is standing on guard on her favourite perch which is atop the northwest corner of Tower 2 of the Constitution Suqare building complex. She had previously contoured the Crowne Plaza Hotel building hoping to light on the ledge area, but was quickly dissuaded from doing so, as the ropes from the window washers equipment is still hanging from the roof area down to the top of the Crowne’s covered entrance area. She looks magnificent in the distance and is currently eyeing a flock of pigeons or the like which are flying a little further south in the distance. I guess it is getting near a lunchtime snack and she is eyeing all prospects. No sign of her beloved – Connor, so it will be quite the surprise if he turns up as most would think that he has since flown south, although last year, he remained for the winter. Time will only tell.
November 4, 3:13 p.m. [from Arlene Williams] — On this very cold and blustering afternoon, I had earlier noticed only Horizon, but I have just seen them both on the northwest side of the Crowne Plaza Hotel building – one enjoying a small snack and the other flying off and contouring the Hotel building. It was obviously Connor, since he favours the southeastern side of the building. Her highness – Horizon – momentarily stopped to enjoy her tidbit and she then flew off in the direction of the Gatineau Hills or possibly to the buildings at Tunney’s Pasture, since she seems to frequent the Pasture buildings quite often during the winter months. I am glad to see that Connor has decided, at least for now, to stay in Ottawa. It remains to be seen, if he will remain, especially if the weather changes to frigid temperatures in the next while. They are a joy, as usual to watch their interactions and carryings on during the course of the day.
October 16 [from Arlene Williams] — For the last couple of days, Horizon has had to contend with window washers working on the west side of the Crowne Plaza Hotel. On many occasions she has showed her disgruntlement with those individuals being around, as she swoops in and around their ropings, as well as around the individuals themselves. As the washers are currently cleaning the lower part of the west side windows, they have not been subjected to her harassment as when they will be cleaning the upper portion of the hotel building. I wouldn’t want to be in there shoes, once elevated and in her territory, so to speak, as on many occasions today and yesterday, especially, she has made it quite clear that she is quite annoyed at their presence.
Yesterday, for the better part of the day, she was overseeing the process from her favourite perch area – the northwest corner of Tower 2 of the Constitution Square building complex. She is the primary source of harassment, but Connor is occasionally swooping around and letting the washers know that their presence is not welcome. Today, both she and Connor are just taking their frustration out with the hanging ropes, since the window washers have not worked on this cloudy, overcast and intermittent rainy day.
More updates to come, as these window washers get back to work and work up to the upper portion of the building. I am sure that will prove interesting and entertaining to us peregrine lovers.
October 16 [from Nathaleigh Rochon] — 7:50 a.m. — What a delightful way to start the day! It is a brisk Autumn morning in Ottawa with a light shower of rain creating a chill in the air. Our striking huntress Horizon is perched on the NW corner of the Standard Life Building rooftop. She is consuming her meal while keeping watch towards the NE of the city. After a quick scan of the surrounding building rooftops, I can see no sign of Connor at the present time.
October 3 [from Arlene Williams] — 1:51 pm – Horizon and Connor are perched near one another on the northwest side of the ledge area of the Crowne Plaza Hotel building. Connor is looking somewhat ragged, but Horizon is looking as regal as ever with breast facing westward. Both are taking in the sights and sounds of the city on this gorgeously bright and sunny, but cool afternoon. I am assuming that the chicklets have left and are heading south, since there has been no sight of either one for over a week now, according to recent emails.
3:05 pm – Her highness has graced us with her presence on the northwest corner of the Crowne Plaza Hotel building ledge area, as she had just performed an aerial display, perched momentarily on the northwest corner of the Constitution Square building, Tower 2 and then decided on the corner of the hotel building which faces directly into my office. She is conducting a short, but thorough, preening session and is paying particular attention to the underside of her wings areas. She has fluffed herself up and looking quite the regal female and lady of the manor, so to speak. No sign of Connor at the moment. Guess that rest period that I had written about a short while ago, has given hjim inspiration to travels beyond my viewing and vantage point – maybe in search of an afternoon snack/delight. He had better be careful if he returns with a catch, since after this short preening session by Horizon, I am sure that she will have worked up an appetite and we know that she is not opposed to taking possession of anything edible he may bring near to her presence.
3:12 pm – I have just noticed that another smaller peregrine has flown onto and perched on the northwest corner of the Constitution Square building, Tower 2 and it could very well be a chicklet, since it is so small in appearance and does not look like Connor from a distance, as I have seen him so often in past on that same corner along with Horizon and he is not that small. From that observation, I am assuming that there is still one chicklet left here in Ottawa from all appearances, but I cannot say for sure, since I cannot see from this vantage point as to whether or not it has a tag on one of its legs.
[Note from Eve: Just a reminder that both chicklets are adult sized and have been since before they fledged. Since it is the migration season, this could be a different peregrine, a merlin, or other raptor, especially if it was out of sight of our peregrines, even briefly.]
September 24 [from Arlene Williams] — 10:31 am – For about a half an hour now, Horizon has been perched on the northwest corner of the Crowne Plaza Hotel building ledge and is preening herself. She is quite thorough I may add, as it appears that no part of her body has yet to be cleaned and fluffed up. Her beloved – Connor – has just flown in now to join her and they are both just looking at one another until Horizon decides to take over his actual landing spot and thus he has now flown away contouring the Crowne Plaza building and ultimately heading east. My, my, our favourite lady is quite the domineering type, as we are all well aware. She looks quite magnificent and regal just sitting there on the northwest corner and taking in the sights.
September 20 [from Arlene Williams] — Earlier this afternoon, it appeared to be Horizon who flew to the northwest corner of the Crowne Plaza Hotel ledge area with catch in talons. I am now 100% sure that it was her, as Connor tried to zoom in for a nibble and she (Horizon) very quickly scared him off through their own particular method of vocalizations and/or body language. She then plucked away and devoured that bird – assumed to be a pigeon by the size of it – within approximately 10 – 15 minutes. She must have been hungry.
4:04 pm – Connor has since reciprocated and brought a catch to the northwest corner of the ledge area. And from the size of it, it must be a pigeon, as well. He is fervently plucking away and is obviously not going to share this catch with his beloved mate, as Horizon dove/zoomed by the northwest corner to try and gain a morsel of this succulent piece of protein. Ultimately, she did not accomplish her task and then flew off and landed on her favourite perch – the northwest corner of Tower 2 of the Constitution Square building complex. I guess it was pay back time. Connor has not made up his mind as to where he wants to pluck this little darling, since he hops up onto the ledge and then minutes later, he jumps down to the lower ledge. He has done this three or four times now and maybe this is a way of letting Horizon know, by teasing her, that he has a meal and it is his alone.
No sign of the offspring and I am not quite sure if they may have already headed south.
For now, it does not look like Connor is going to leave the area and that is wonderful news, but it remains to be seen as to whether or not he will stay for the winter. Time will tell, shortly.
4:20 pm – Both have flown the coup and the morsel has been left for a later time.
4:25 pm – Not sure which one has resumed the plucking and enjoyment of this morsel, but one is on the lower ledge of the ledge area within pillars three and four on the north/south/west of the hotel building. Maybe Connor flew off too soon and now Horizon is enjoying the snack. Can’t determine which one it is.
September 9, 4:15–4:45 p.m. [from Arlene Williams] — Noticed that Summit was perched on the northeast corner of the Crowne Plaza Hotel building ledge for the longest of times, this late afternoon. The reason I knew it was Summit was when I looked at the band on its leg and it was indeed black, as had been previously sent to me by Eve Ticknor.
Summit is also quite distinct from Horizon and Connor in his markings. Seems to be much greyer/black in colouring and is quite a bit sleeker and smaller than mom and dad. Regardless, this beautiful creature was a sight to behold and it was great to hear from a previous e-mail that both juveniles are still among us.
September 9 [from Jim O’Neil] — I saw both juveniles last week (Wed) trying to land on the same antenna extension on Tower C, jostling for position with one landing and the other settling on another part of the antenna. When I was leaving work on Friday, I also saw one of the juveniles on the nest ledge with Horizon being very vocal. At one point both Horizon and the juvenile were chasing each other around the Crowne. I and some of my collegues have definitely heard the falcons but they are not always visible even when they are heard. I have also heard a lot of noise from the west side of the hotel ledge and have spotted them in this area. I will keep my eyes open and let you know if I see any more activity especially from the chicklets.
September 8 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — Having had no reports for some time, I had assumed that Swift and Summit had started their migration already.
Today I was on Kent near Sparks when I heard a familiar cry for a very brief time. I looked around not seeing a chicklet anywhere. Then there it was, screaming and flapping after a pigeon, which it missed. It landed on the northwest corner of Tower C, just out of sight. I looked away for a minute and never saw or heard it again. I believe it was Swift, as Summit probably has left by now. Something about watching it made me think Swift, as well.
Later on, around 1:30 p.m., I was there again and went up on the roof of Tower 2. Connor was relaxing on the east side of the nest ledge, near the middle, preening and watching me, but with no irritation that I was up there. I saw neither Horizon nor Swift at that time. Nor was there a falcon on the Coats Building, which I checked afterwards.
August 30 [from Nathaleigh Rochon] — 2:24 p.m. One member of our peregrine falcon family is perched on the NE corner of the Crowne Plaza Hotel on this warm and sunny late summer afternoon. The falcons are definitely still spending time feeding on the hotel’s rooftop. As I was walking past the hotel, I found a pigeon wing on the ground below the SE corner.
August 5 [from Philip Maillard] — 7 p.m. Horizon is cruising high above tower C on this beautiful, windy day. I waited for about 20 minutes hoping to see the others, but no luck.
Late on Friday, August 3, Swift was flying very close to the antenna on top of tower C. She tried to land on the vertical pole and, realizing she couldn’t land, flew off and landed on the horizontal pole just below. She is flying very well!
August 3 [from Arlene Williams] — 2:45 p.m. I have just experienced a wonderful display of the two chicks receiving more flying lessons from their mother — Horizon. It was magnificent to see the chicks trying to keep up with mom who was obviously leading this afternoon exercise activity. One chick would go off in one direction heading south, while mom and the other chick were heading west. Obviously the one heading south had not anticipated the sharp turn that mom was about to make, but finally got back on track and flapped like crazy to catch up to its sibling and Horizon. The other sibling was keeping in line, but still had difficulty keeping up with mom’s pace. Horizon then flew by my office window and gave me a personal view of her wing span and of her enormous size and beauty. How very lucky these two chicks are in having such a dedicated mother who is so willing to share her experiences of the wild, as is expected of her, but not always the norm in some cases, I am sure.
2:48 p.m. All have now headed west and are obviously about to receive much more appropriate training and hopefully at the end a great reward — a fresh kill — most probably to be delivered by, but not shared with, Connor.
August 2 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — There is an article by Graham Hughes in today’s Citizen about our wrap-up (page F5). The Citizen has been good about following our falcons from egg to flying. It’s also nice to have Arlene and Nathaleigh giving updates for those of us no longer spending our days and evenings watching!
August 2 [from Arlene Williams] — 10:47 p.m. Horizon has just finished giving one of her chicks another flying/soaring lesson and she is now resting on the northeast corner of the Crowne Plaza Hotel building ledge area. The chick for which I cannot see the band to determine who it is has landed and is on the north/southwest side of the ledge area of the Crowne Plaza and seems to need the rest now. He/she is just facing west and is enjoying the view.
10:54 a.m. Horizon has flown off as she has completed one of her parental duties for the day.
August 1 [from Arlene Williams] — 2:05 p.m. Horizon is perched, facing inward, on the northwest ledge and one of the chicklets is perched on the northeast corner, facing Tower C. The chicklet had dropped down to the lower ledge area momentarily, possibly looking for a snack, but no such luck, as earlier in the day one or the other chicklet had been fed by an adult on the lower part of the ledge area on the northwest side of the Crowne Plaza Hotel building. The chicklet, which appears to be Swift, since it has a red band around its leg, is keeping track of mother Horizon by ensuring that she observes Horizon’s every movement. Swift may be hoping that Horizon will take off and return with a succulent morsel for a bit of afternoon delight. No sign of poppa — Connor — or of Summit.
July 31 [from Arlene Williams] — 10:34 a.m. For about 20 minutes now, one of the juvenile peregrines has been sprawled on the NW corner ledge area of the Crowne Plaza Hotel. I had not seen this behaviour for a few years now and it is reminiscent of when I used to view Horizon, Connor or one of their offspring sprawled on the NE side of the building and would become quite concerned thinking that one or more was suffering from some unknown disease and near dying, until Eve Ticknor informed me that sometimes the birds actually relax. Well this one is really relaxing as it is completely resting on its belly and the wing ends are protruding upwards toward the sky, something like the fins of an old cadillac of the fifties. I guess this is a well deserved break from the flying lessons and teachings from their parents in the last week or so. No sign of the others. It appears that there is a partial (very little remaining) kill on the northeast side of the building awaiting consumption as a luncheon or dinner snack.
11:46 a.m. It appears that one of the juveniles has made a fresh kill and is now enjoying his/her catch between pillars three and four on the north/southwest ledge of the Crowne Plaza Hotel ledge area. It looked like one other falcon had flown by to catch a glance at the kill, but needless to say it was not going to be shared. Possibly it was one of the adults making sure that their offspring had a lunchtime snack and they would not need to bre bothered fetching something.
[Note from Eve: Thank you for the reports, especially as we are not an official presence any more!
I would, however, suggest that unless someone actually sees a chicklet making the kill, that he or she received it from an adult. They are not yet ready to make their own kills until Horizon had given a few more lessons and, although she has been giving various lessons, she wasn’t at this stage just yet.]
11:59 a.m. Hm, hm, the meal must have been good, as it was devoured in minutes and the bird has flown the coop, so to speak.
12:04 p.m. It looks to be another juvenile located on the northeast corner of the Crowne Plaza Hotel building ledge area. It is stationary at the moment and is facing the east part of the city and directly facing Tower A of the Place de Ville complex. He/she does not seem to be too interested in the partial kill still remaining to be eaten which is located to its left wing. Maybe it is no longer a partial kill but the remains of a devoured wing from a pigeon.
12:07 p.m. It appears that he/she has been joined by its sibling or one of its parents, as they are cozying up to each other momentarily.
1:12 p.m. This is a bonus day! As I am looking over to the Crowne Plaza Hotel and on the north/southwest ledge area, I see an adult falcon, which I am assuming is Horizon at the moment, as I cannot clearly identify her. On the northeast corner of the ledge area are both juveniles and one is plopped/sprawled on the edge of the ledge and the other is facing my office vantage point. This juvenile is preening and checking out all the activities in the surrounding area, but the other is having a great sleep and is oblivious to its sibling’s goings-on.
July 31 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — We ended our Falcon Watch last evening!
Both Summit and Swift are doing extremely well, and watching them flying and playing in the sky above us is such a joy. They both spent much time yesterday around the antenna of Tower C, doing landings and takeoffs on various parts of the structure.
For a while Summit was chasing Swift over nearby rooftops and around buildings. She then decided to sit it out on the radial arms of the antenna, but her brother wasn’t yet ready to quit, so every time she landed, he came up and pushed her off! Eventually she got her way.
Horizon’s attempts at roosting and resting seemed only successful if she was out of sight, from us as well. Each time she was spotted by her chicklets, the pursuit was on, quite noisy at that! And Connor was rarely seen at all by us!
A couple of times, both chicklets and both parents left in the direction of the river and weren’t seen for a long time. I can only surmise that lessons were being given.
We ended the evening on a very quiet note, with nearly no activity for the last hour and 1/2, save a short flight by a falcon around from one side of the hotel to the other. It was too dark to tell which one it was.
And now we look forward to next year, knowing that we did our job well, and that we have 2 healthy, strong chicklets in the sky.
July 30, day 21 [from Nathaleigh Rochon] — 8:19 a.m. After scanning the usual rooftop falcon haunts, I was rewarded by a brief observation. One of our falcons was leaving its SE perch on Place de Ville, Tower C as I was reaching the Constitution Square Tower II parking lot. It appeared to be heading north as I could not see the falcon weaving in between the labyrinth of the Place de Ville or Crowne Plaza buildings.
July 29, day 20 [from Gilles Vautour] — A little something that I left out of Monday morning’s report.
At one point, Horizon came in with a pigeon and landed on the east side of the Crowne Plaza ledge. Suddenly, one of the chicks came in (too fast to identify), landed and tried to grab the pigeon and run (or maybe it was chased away). As the chick left the ledge, it also dropped the newly acquired prize. It kept going up and away. Within an instant, Horizon came out from the ledge and dove straight down along the side of the Crowne Plaza, caught it and flew back up to the nest ledge with it.
July 29, day 20 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — It is a delight to be able to watch our chicklets experimenting with the air currents and trying out new skills!
Our crew this morning watched some lessons given by Horizon and Connor. First there was hovering, diving, landing, takeoff and flying. Then both adults took off with food in their talons and were chased by both chicklets who were to try to grab the food away in the air. It must have been exciting!
The next shift saw long, soaring flights and chases, sometimes with an adult. There were great landings on the antenna of Tower C by Swift and Summit. Connor even chased away a nearby Turkey Vulture to the delight of Pauline on the roof! I don’t imagine the T.V. was happy about a little bird hammering on its back.
Unfortunately the afternoon shift had little action as the birds were mostly resting or preening, though Connor, once again, came to their defense against a poor gull passing through – a case of wrong place at the wrong time!
This evening our family came to life with flying, chasing, talon-tag and mobbing Horizon for more food, though both had food drops at times during the day! Reminds me of teenagers — never have enough.
Tomorrow will see our last day as our job is done and we will have helped raise 2 fine flyers!
July 28, day 19 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — We are nearing the end of this year’s Falcon Watch. Just a few more days to ensure Swift’s abilities.
Swift seems to be gaining more confidence in her flying, although certain landings need improvement! She and Summit did some acrobatics a few times today, including “Talon Tag.” Both chicklets seem to land well on the nest ledge, in spite of Swift missing it briefly tonight. She still bumps into some walls below her planned landing, but self-corrects rather well, so that is encouraging. Summit has become the “master of the skies” now, and a couple of veteran falcon watchers feel he is the best young flier we’ve had, though, I’d add Freedom and Jessie to that list!
Horizon still keeps a watchful eye on her daughter, though not for calls for dinner.
This evening we had a good laugh. Swift spied Horizon approaching with dinner and immediately flew over in her direction. She bumped on Tower 1, tried for the northeast corner of the hotel, landing on a window ledge just below, and finally reached the southeast corner just as Horizon landed there. Swift actually landed on her mother’s back!! Horizon backed out from under her and fled, leaving dinner behind. Swift immediately claimed it and stopped her brother from sharing it, prompting loud wails for his mother… to no avail. However Connor brought him something a bit later.
July 27, day 18 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — Well, our Swift was much more airborn today at last! She was found on Tower C this morning, as was Summit. They flew around various tops and just about in the air at times, resting at others.
We’re not sure if either had food today, but it appeared part of Horizon’s strategy, as she tried to maintain some distance most of the day, but aware of their goings-on!
Our chicklets seem to have developed an affinity for the Delta and Tower C, although Swift likes to perch on a balcony on an apartment building across from the Delta, which is where we left her tonight.
There was one tense moment for us this evening as Summit seemed to be struggling with something on Tower C, that something being a coiled up rope left on the roof!! He did free himself, though. I went in to talk with the commissionaires there, and one said he’d get the rope, which shouldn’t have been on the roof in the first place. We knew when he did as Connor, who appeared to be ignoring his family suddenly came to life and went over there, screeching all the way!
Our chicklets become very active around 8:30 p.m., as if they know we are planning to wind up for the evening soon after that time. Inevitably, we found ourselves staying just a bit longer to be sure Swift was okay.
Many people came by to get updates, and to commiserate over the death of Grisou. It is wonderful to find so many people with such an interest in our family, especially year after year.
July 26, day 17 [from Nathaleigh McKenna Rochon] —
Gray skies reflect the sorrow we feel as a gentle rain mingles with the tears that flow freely. You have brought such joy to our lives. Remembering your enthusiasm for life and the camaraderie you shared with your siblings are images imprinted in our hearts and minds that will last a lifetime. The essence of your sweet soul will glide upon the wind like a haunting melody. You can now fly to your heart’s desire where you can never feel pain or sorrow.
You will be missed dear friend!
July 26, day 17 [from Marcel Gahbauer] — Observations over the past couple of days have consistently indicated that Grisou was experiencing some health difficulties. The most obvious problem was his right eye, which seemed to be shut most of the time. In addition, he was breathing heavily at times despite minimal exertion, and the development of his plumage was at least one week behind what would be expected at this age. This situation was discussed in detail yesterday among representatives of the Canadian Peregrine Foundation, Ministry of Natural Resources, and the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club Falcon Watch group. All agreed that these symptoms in combination represented a serious health concern to Grisou, and that the best course of action would be to attempt to retrieve him from the nest ledge and bring him to medical attention.
This morning Leslie Hunt of MNR joined me for the rescue attempt. We gained access to the nest ledge shortly after 8:00 a.m., and peeked at Grisou through the access door. At such close range, the problem with his eye appeared even more serious than we had thought. We spent over an hour positioning ourselves on the east ledge, very gradually approaching Grisou in the hope of eventually being able to capture him with a net. He tolerated our movements surprisingly well — as good as it was that he was letting us get close, his lack of reaction to our presence set off yet additional alarm bells in our minds — a healthy chick would have objected vigorously to our advances. We paused in our progress regularly, to allow Grisou time to get used to our presence; to our surprise it was in the midst of one of these breaks that he suddenly took flight without any warning at all.
Initially Grisou faired quite well, soaring over Albert Street and then turning toward Constitution Square. He made a nice arc around Tower 2, reassuring us that he knew how to avoid obstacles. However, volunteers on the ground then saw him bump lightly up against Tower 1 with his breast. He began sliding down from there, but flapping as he went to slow his descent. Jim O’Neill and Daryl Seip immediately raced up to the terrace where he had landed, expecting to face a challenge in cornering and capturing Grisou. Unfortunately, what they found instead was Grisou lying motionless at the base of the windows.
The prognosis looked bleak, but Leslie and I rushed Grisou out to Dr. Tracey Poulton at Lynwood Animal Hospital all the same. Sadly, there were no signs of life, and Dr. Poulton suggested that in this case even immediate medical attention at the scene would have had minimal chance of success. We then turned our attention to his right eye, which had originally raised our concerns. An inspection of it revealed that the eye was deeply sunken into its orbit, and far below normal size. Effectively he was blind on one side, and would likely had immense difficulty surviving in the wild, even if this was his only limitation. The condition of the eye may have been caused by injury (potentially something as innocent as a light scrape by a sibling’s talons during play), or by an infection; it’s also possible that an injury could have opened up a route for subsequent infections. From this examination it was not possible to determine what caused the retarded physical development and respiratory difficulties, but it could well be that these were directly or indirectly related to the condition of the eye. Grisou will be sent for a necropsy, and we hope that it may answer some of these lingering questions. What remains particularly puzzling is how such a minor impact appears to have dealt Grisou a fatal blow. In recent days alone, Summit has had at least a couple of impacts with Tower C more forceful than this and shrugged them off without a second thought. The fact that Grisou’s fate was so dramatically different reinforces the suspicion that he was gravely ill in other ways.
Needless to say, this has been a difficult day for us all. Our thanks to Dr. Poulton for taking time out of her busy day to examine Grisou’s condition in detail, to Leslie Hunt for rescheduling work to dedicate the day to Grisou’s rescue, to all of the Falcon Watch volunteers who assisted with monitoring and rescue and who have had the unpleasant task of sharing this bad news with the public on the street over the course of the day, and to all who have already passed on their sympathies and support in person or via e-mail.
July 26, day 17 [from Leslie Hunt, Species at Risk Program, Ministry of Natural Resources, Kemptville] — Here are additional details that were not known at the time of Susan’s email this morning. The visit to the veterinarian has contributed to our knowledge of what happened, and we were not yet back from the vet at the time the email was sent out. The autopsy report will tell us more later, but we do know that Grisou should have survived the “hit” to the building. It was a light hit with his chest and involved no “plummet” to the ground. The vet confirmed our belief that Grisou was not healthy. He had a sunken, non-functioning right eye. He was far behind in development, and was reported to have had breathing difficulties. As for cause of death, we cannot assume anything at this point. We will let you know details after the autopsy is complete.
July 26, day 17 [from Susan Goods] — I am very sorry to have to report that we lost Grisou this morning. As you know a decision had been made to retrieve him from the ledge of the Crown Plaza and Leslie Hunt, MNR and Marcel Gahbauer attempted to do so this morning. During the attempt Grisou decided to fly and seemed to be doing fairly well. Unfortunately as he neared Tower 1 he turned and hit the building. He flapped on the way down and may have hit something else that was the fatal blow. We’ll try to update you with more details later on.
July 25, day 16 [from Susan Goods] — You will have seen Marcel’s thorough report of the morning’s activities (below) so I have little to add tonight.
Swift continued to make some short flights this evening and ended up again on the west side of the Delta Hotel for the night. This time though she is higher up in a safer location. You will have noted Marcel’s report about Horizon tantalizing Swift with the pigeon. It seems that Swift was not fed this afternoon or this evening either. (On a personal note I am almost sure I spotted Swift around 8:00 p.m. this evening on the Delta Hotel from the vantage point of a hot air balloon.)
Also this evening Horizon, Connor and Summit were seen flying together; the adults with their talons extended. Some sort of lesson for Summit?
July 25, day 16 [from Marcel Gahbauer] — It was an exciting morning on the watch. Some observers were on the scene as early as 5:30 a.m., having been alerted to Swift’s predicament last evening. It seems that at some point during the night, she shifted over several metres, but was at least in the same general position this morning. By the time I arrived on the scene around 6:45 a.m., she had shuffled still closer to Lyon Street along the narrow terrace railing, and as rush hour progressed, she got ever closer to the traffic. We began to wonder whether this peregrine had any regard for either her own health or ours!
The first real activity came at 7:25, when Summit flew over us at Sparks & Lyon, in highly vocal pursuit of Horizon. Swift looked up at them, but remained silent. Horizon headed up to the west ledge of the Crowne Plaza, but Summit couldn’t quite make it up there, resting for a moment on a window ledge three floors down. He took off again, and tried to land halfway down on the west side of Tower C, but instead wound up glancing softly off the window. Fortunately none of this seemed to bother him much, as a couple of minutes later we relocated him on the NW roof corner of Tower A, still screaming for his breakfast.
Horizon, however, had noticed Swift, and flew over her again at 8:05. Fifteen minutes later she returned once more, this time going into a swoop over the West Memorial Building and nearly nailing a pigeon. Having failed, she looped around to the south, flew once more over Swift, and then disappeared from view for a while.
At last Swift took flight around 8:40. It was just a short trip, over to the Memorial Arch across Lyon, but at least she had a nice soft landing. This was followed shortly by a flight up to the southwest corner of the East Memorial Building. While her flight skills leave something to be desired, the landing was again good, and at this age that’s at least half the battle.
Seeing that she was making positive progress, I shifted my attention to Grisou for a while, joining Tony Beck on the roof of Tower 1 to watch him through the scope. As reported yesterday, there does appear to be a problem with Grisou’s right eye — it does not appear swollen as such, but remains partly closed at all times, especially at the front. His breathing appeared fairly good today, but it was cool while I was watching and he was completely sedentary, so yesterday’s concerns are not erased. His physical development also remains far behind (approx one week) what would be expected at this point, which also raises questions. We can’t tell from a distance what the problem is, but preferring to err on the side of caution, it has been agreed that Grisou will be taken to an avian veterinarian at the earliest opportunity for diagnosis and treatment as necessary.
Having reviewed Grisou’s status, I returned to watch Swift for a while. At this point she had flown back across Lyon to the West Memorial Building, and was no longer visible from the ground. The only aerial view available was from the top level of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, where staff kindly allowed us to set up our scope for a while as they prepared the banquet room. At 11:10, Horizon flew in from a distance bearing a whole pigeon, and to our surprise she flew right down to land beside Swift (currently 15 floors above ground). For about a minute, Horizon plucked the pigeon, no doubt whetting Swift’s appetite. Then Horizon flew off with it, leaving behind only a very angry and (finally, for the first time today) vocal Swift! Despite all of the complaining though, Swift made no move at all to follow.
At 11:28, a daring pigeon landed on the rooftop a few feet away from Swift, drawing more than a little bit of attention. However, the pigeon casually sauntered over to a nearby puddle for a drink, and Swift made no move toward it. The pigeon, wisely, left soon, and another hour passed by with minimal action. Then, without any warning Swift became very active, running back and forth along the roof ledge, and squawking loud enough to be heard clearly through the upper windows of the Crowne Plaza. Five minutes later she flew back over to the East Memorial Building.
Over the next half hour, Swift drew a steady stream of admirers who passed by on their lunch break and were treated to a full-screen view of her through Tony’s scope. She remained there when I left shortly after 1 pm. Though she made relatively little progress over the course of the morning (relative to her ultimate goal of getting back up to the level of the nest), at least her flights and landings were solid, and there were no further setbacks.
July 24, day 15 [from Susan Goods] — This morning all 3 chicks and the adults were visible in the usual location. Summit continued his flights to nearby buildings and was observed drinking from puddle on tower A and then enjoying a bit of a bath. Swift continued to exercise by running up and down the ledge, at times playing with a feather. Grisou has also been active and hanging around his siblings. He and Swift were observed preening each other — a touching sight!
Tony Beck was on the roof today and was able to observe Grisou carefully. He thought he might be having some breathing problems at times and also may be having some difficulties with his right eye. We will need to monitor him carefully now. However, he continues to be active and is eating well. To retrieve him from the nest ledge now so that he could be examined would be a very tricky endeavour.
Later this afternoon both Swift and Summit took flight and landed on the roof of the Delta Hotel. They stayed there for some time and were fed by one of the adults. Some time later in the evening, Swift took a rather harrowing flight, bumping into several buildings (here my notes are hard to read about the sequence and which buildings were involved) — Tower A, the Crowne Plaza and Tower C. She eventually landed on the Delta Hotel on a window ledge about 20 feet above the north entrance on the Sparks Street side. By 9:30 our volunteers, advised by Marcel Gahbauer, determined there was little to be done and reluctantly left her for the night.
We’re all crossing her fingers and hope that she will wait for us tomorrow morning before venturing off.
July 23, day 14 [from Susan Goods] — You will all be glad to hear that Swift had a successful flight today. Early this morning she left the nest ledge, went for a short flight, came back and landed right on the ledge.
Meanwhile Grisou is continuing to exercise his wings, and even getting a little lift. He has been seen on top of the ledge several times. It won’t be long now! This afternoon all three chicks were seen sitting on the ledge.
Summit continues to entertain the falcon watchers with his flights and vocalizations.
Horizon seems to be spending more time away from the nest in the last couple of days but always returns in the evening.
July 22, day 13 [from Susan Goods] — The action started early today. Around 6:30 a.m. Swift decided to test her wings again. This time she flew over the Constitution Square building and landed on Slater Street. A chase soon ensued and our volunteers discovered that her running abilities had not been hampered. Eventually she ran into an open garage near St. Andrews where Steve Farkas was able to corner her and take her back up to the southeast ledge of the Crown Plaza. Well done Steve! Apparently this was enough excitement for the day and Swift remained on the ledge for the rest of the day, eating and preening.
Summit took several flights in the afternoon. His first landings were a bit wobbly but improved each time. No doubt the gusty winds today made these efforts more difficult for him.
Horizon appeared to be absent for much of the day. She was not spotted until about 3:30 p.m. By the end of the evening both Horizon and Connor had made food drops and all were safe on the nest ledge.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
July 21, day 12 [from Susan Goods] — A quiet day in downtown Ottawa today. First let me correct my report from Saturday. Contrary to what I reported Swift had to be rescued only once on Saturday. Her mishap occurred some time between 12:30 and 1:00 when there was some overlap with the volunteer shifts. Hence the incident was reported in the log book twice, but with different times noted each time! Sorry if I caused any undue concern about poor Swift.
Swift and Grisou stayed on the nest ledge all day today. Although Swift was on the ledge for long periods of time she did not attempt any flights. Summit continued to practice his flying skills at various times. He showed off his landing skills in the afternoon by landing on the tall antennae on top of Tower C. Grisou still seems a few days away from taking his first flight. Have we ever had a watch extend into August?
An interesting note. One of the security personnel from the Crowne Plaza mentioned that they regularly clean up bird heads just outside one of their entrances. Research data anyone?
July 20, day 11 [from Gilles Vautour] — (8: 00 p.m.) We were watching Summit, who was on the edge of the mechanical housing on the south side of Tower A. We were watching because he was perched on the edge and kept opening his wings as if he was about to fly. I had seem him do this a few times in the course of the evening (it reminds me of a someone about to jump off a diving board who is trying to get up the courage to go). After a few minutes of this, he finally flew off and was heading directly toward us. The fly by was about 10 feet to our right and about 6 feet above the roof. So, just at about my eye level.
Not only did we get a great view, but I swear he looked directly at us while flying by.
But then, in the mist of the excitement, I suddenly realized that we had not seen either of the adults for some time. I was thinking that if he should land on Constitution Square, Horizon and Connor would probably not allow us to stay there. In a few seconds, the adrenaline was starting to flow. I was scanning the surrounding area for the adults, gauging how quickly we could run to the hatch and open it, all while watching Summit’s fly by.
Luck was with us. Mid-way across the roof, Summit turned left and circled back to Tower A. No adults were nearby. They arrived shortly afterward with food. We were safe! And what a spectacular sight!
July 20, day 11 [from Nathaleigh McKenna Rochon] — (4:00 p.m.) Horizon is facing inward near the 3rd SE pillar of the Crowne Plaza Hotel on this glorious sunny afternoon. I instinctively and expectantly look up toward the nest area as I hear that distinctive and familiar sound emanating from one of our falcons. Summit arrives from the west and boldly makes his presence known. I stand transfixed verbally encouraging him to fly upward to reach the rooftop of Place de Ville Tower B. He successfully lands on the roof but will not remain there for long. Horizon graces us with her presence as she smoothly tames the wind between Place de Ville Tower B and C. She is undoubtedly a magnificent sight that never ceases to inspire complete awe for all those who have the privilege of seeing her and Connor interact with one another and their chicks. Summit continues to vocalize and flies over to the NE rooftop section (the area above the nest where pigeons gather) and perches there for awhile until he decides to take off again. He eventually returns to the NE corner of the Crowne Plaza Hotel nest area. At this point Horizon who has been once again perched near the 3rd SE corner of the hotel takes off with a flourish towards Constitution Tower 1. The sun rays are blinding as I try to focus on where she might be landing. I’ve lost tract of her at this point. All is quiet for the time being. One never knows what might happen next.
July 20, day 11 [from Susan Goods] — Another eventful day with Swift again being the star of the show. As Eve reported earlier she was still on the ledge of the Terrace of the Crowne Plaza when our volunteers arrived this morning. Around 7:30 a.m., Horizon (?) apparently thought it was time for a little motivation and came down to the terrace with a pigeon in tow. However much to Swift’s distress instead of dropping off breakfast she sat with it on an elevated part of the terrace in plain view of Swift. After about 5 minutes with no attempt by Swift to join her, Horizon flew off with the pigeon. I believe the comment written in the log book was that “Swift was really pissed off” and let her feeling be known!
Around 12:30 Swift finally decided to make her move and flew off the terrace right into Tower 1 of the Constitution Square. Lorraine Montoya rescued her and returned her to the nest ledge. Some chaos followed with much flying about of the adults, Summit and Swift. Unfortunately around 1:00 Swift repeated her earlier performance and was again rescued this time by Gord McLean. Thankfully she was not hurt either time and after her second elevator ride she stayed put and was reported to have eaten very well and rested. By the evening she was up on the ledge again and caused us a couple of minutes of concern around 8:30 when she appeared ready to take off again.
In the meantime, Summit is continuing to take some nice flights over the buildings. He gave our roof volunteers a nice treat when he flew about 10 feet away from them over the Constitution Square. He ended up on Tower A for the night after a small food drop from one of the adults.
Grisou is reported to be looking more and more like his siblings and continues to run and flap.
July 20, day 11 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — As of this morning, Swift was still on the Terrace near the intersection of Lyon and Albert. Summit is flying well so far. I watched him with his parents over several rooftops! Grisou is developing and is finally beginning to visit the upper ledge, so he may fledge in a few days.
July 19, day 10 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — What a day this has been!!
Summit has been staying up high, visiting a few building roofs in the neighborhood, i.e., Marriott and Tower C. His parents are making sure he gets food and one flies with him when he does. I saw him flying with his parents this evening and what a beautiful sight it was!
Grisou gets equally good attention from his parents as well, though he isn’t ready to join anyone yet. He did get up on the upper ledge for a brief visit today, and was seen doing some running and flapping. Let’s hope he isn’t in too much of a hurry to join the “big guys” just yet.
This day really evolved around Swift, though. She was still on the Podium Building on Queen St this morning where she remained until after 1 p.m. She was being buzzed by a couple of Robins! Suddenly she flew over to the Crowne Plaza Hotel and landed on the 4th or 5th level window ledge, flapping for balance. She then slid down and landed on the roof of the swimming pool on the Terrace. She picked at a pigeon leg (later confirmed as such by me) which had been accidentally dropped a couple of days ago. After this she appeared on the ledge of the Terrace where she remained for the rest of today.
She spent her time either walking from one end to the other, resting, preening, watching sparrows and pigeons, or calling her mother whenever she saw her in the distance. Several times she looked as if she was going to fly, but never did, so she sat there and I sat on the sidewalk across from her for hours!!!
And then those of us near her saw a spectacle I have never seen in the 6 years I have been doing this. Around 8 p.m., Horizon flew down to her and delivered 1/2 a pigeon, right down on the ledge of the Terrace! Horizon watched her chicklet take the meal and inhale it, giving us warning sounds, before she departed for the skies and a flight with Connor and Summit.
When we left, a very much more contented little Swift was still at her spot on that ledge overlooking Albert St, with a full crop and having seen her mother come down to her.
July 18, day 9 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — What a day!!
Summit took off just before 9 a.m. this morning and landed on the side of the Centertown Place Apartments, next to the Apple Tree Medical Clinic. Jim and I stayed with him for the next 3 hours. He became quite agitated when he found he could see throught the window into the stairwell, but couldn’t go there! He’d flap a bit about that and would slip down to the next ledge, rest and then try again. Eventually he ended up just over the side door. He was quite surprised to find people using it and often stared down as if wondering where they disappeared to.
After a while I decided to try a rescue as his next move could only be the street — the intersection of Slater and Lyon! A lady living in those apartments, Jeanine Rumac, kindly found the custodian who brought me the net used for the swimming pool! I cornered our chicklet with it, and climbed on a stepladder to grab him, while Jim held the net in place. The ungrateful Summit screamed, struggled, bit, and kicked all the way home. I placed him carefully on his ledge and returned to ground to find he had taken off for Tower A where he spent the rest of the day and presumably the night!
Meanwhile I discovered Swift had also left her home, a fact no one had noticed. Of course, that meant that no one had any idea where she might be. Some volunteers walked around looking while I went up to the 21st floor for a look from an office window. No sight of her, nor of Grisou. Summit had been given part of a pigeon by his mother on his lofty perch and Connor sat near Grisou (as I soon found out). Going to the roof caused much anxiety for Horizon, so I left that area. I then ended up in another office on the 21st floor. They have great views of the ledge and roof areas. I spotted Grisou, although just his head peeped above the ledge. He still has much down and hasn’t yet been onto the upper ledge.
Back on the ground, the search continued and suddenly some office workers saw her on the Podium Building on Queen St! We were able to watch her for the rest of the afternoon and evening and she was there as we all left. She moved around on that roof, interacting with pigeons and robins who decided to dive on her for quite a while. She didn’t seem to be disturbed by that adventure.
So now, we will be a bit scattered as some of us will be with Summit and Swift while some still keep an eye on Grisou.
July 17, day 8 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — We’re getting closer….
The “twins” are doing more flapping and some running along the ledge, especially Summit when Connor sits on the southeast corner, although Connor leaves as soon as he gets there.
Several times we’ve seen 1 or 2 tails hanging over the outer edge. A few volunteers have just realized that when I said there would be heart-stopping activity at times, I really meant it! Ryan wanted to get under the ledge to catch any chicklet as it falls off during exercising.
By evening, both Summit and Swift were almost literally “hanging out” on the south side near the wall. It was nice to briefly see them together in my scope! Grisou has been moving around as well, though not yet big enough to jump onto the upper ledge. Roof watchers say he’s still very fluffy white with his strange back markings. I’ll try to go up for a look at him tomorrow.
I had a great treat today. Mid-morning, Horizon caught a pigeon near the top of Tower A, took it over to Tower B, killed it, decapitated it, plucked it and delivered it to Swift, to her great delight! At that moment, Connor, ever the opportunist, flew over to Tower B to check out the debris in hopes of leftovers! About 20 minutes later a stuffed Swift came on to the upper ledge by a column and sat there with an extremely full crop.
July 16, day 7 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — Wonderful weather for falcon watching! Too bad it isn’t always this way.
Our volunteers had to use Tower 1 today as Tower 2 was in use, at least for a bit, by window washers and their equipment. However, Horizon and Connor put a halt to that for a while, by diving repeatedly on them until they disappeared inside and didn’t come back to work until 5:30 this evening!
We will go back to Tower 2 tomorrow if at all possible.
Both Swift and Summit were spending more time on the ledge, especially toward evening. They each were pushed back from the edge by Connor today! I’m sure they were as surprised as we were to see this. By evening they were seen running along the edge from north to south. The first one to do this was surprised to have its father fly off as soon as it arrived. We weren’t sure which chicklet it was. Soon it was joined by the second runner.
Watchers on the roof couldn’t see the whole ledge and therefore didn’t see Grisou who was probably near the center. We’ll look tomorrow.
I was in the offices of ScotiaMcLeod today, on the 21st floor and what a great view of the ledge! I have been invited to return as I wish, so….
Gaby brought her digital video camera tonight and got some great footage (literally)! She will be sending me some photos from it.
Otherwise things are still uneventful, which is just fine with me.
July 15, day 6 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — We were spending much more time on the roof today — that is until around 6 p.m. Window washers appeared on the roof and on the ground to set up the swing stage right next to the main entrance of tower 2. They claim to be very good friends with Horizon and Connor! We’ll have to move down the way tomorrow! Needless to say, our falcon parents weren’t happy about this!!
As for our chicklets, more wing-flapping is being seen, and Summit seems to be right up there with Swift more than yesterday. Those of us looking from the ground can see some of it and their wings look better feathered than a day or 2 ago.
Roof volunteers are reporting a fair bit of flapping, running, etc., going on along the graveled inner ledge. Food is being brought a bit less than before.
Depending on the amount of work on the roof, we might have to stay off it until the windows are done, sigh…
July 14, day 5 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — We are starting to see more activity from Summit and Swift at last, although not enough yet.
Summit was finally seen up on the ledge like his sister. For the most part, he prefers to sit near the first or second column from the south end, while Swift usually can be seen near the middle. Once in a while they seem to change places. At least they still stay back from the edge, though at one point Swift turned her back to the outside and dangled her tail over the edge briefly!
I was up on the roof for 1/2 hour periods to “break” Horizon in. She seems okay now, so we’ll go up more now. I took someone else with me each time, and she “told” us to get off only the first time!
Summit’s plumage is coming along, though still a bit behind his sister’s. However, his claim-to-fame is his vocal aptitude! When we hear the youngsters calling incessantly for food or whatever, I’ve actually seen that he is the only one doing that, each time I was on the roof. Swift seems to ignore him and Grisou is either sleeping or concentrating on preening. He is funny-looking with his “chevron-like” markings on his back where feathering is coming through the fluffy white down!
July 13, day 4 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — Swift continues to spend time on the upper part of the ledge, mostly staying at the back side where she can look out on her world. She preens, does some wing-flapping and watches for her mother, as do Summit and Grisou. Every time Horizon is seen, a clamour goes up from within the ledge which is audible from the sidewalk where the volunteer crew is stationed.
Horizon has, several times, gone over to whatever building corner Connor is roosting on and seems to knock him off, to take it over herself. This evening we watched as he brought in prey for himself and while he was eating, she suddenly went over and stole part of it! She flew around the area and settled on the northeast corner of her hotel to eat it, while he sat on Tower 2 and audibly complained at her. The chicklets joined in with him!
July 12, day 3 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — An easier day for our intrepid parents! The window-washing seems to be done, at least for today. The chicklet who has been seen on the ledge is Swift! She even got into some wing-flapping today, though still at the back of the ledge.
I was up on the roof around 10 a.m. for half an hour, mainly to see Horizon’s reaction, and wasn’t disappointed! She flew overhead, although not too close, and “told” me what she thought, but I let her know it was time to cease. I walked around the back half of the roof for a bit and she settled down and left me alone. I had a short look at our chicklets before leaving. Swift was on the upper ledge near the middle of the side of the hotel, while her brothers were at the south end. Grisou was sleeping and Summit stood near him just looking around.
Later on John Sullivan went up for a bit. He was okay until a food drop was made. then Horizon came over to run him off the roof!
In general the day was uneventful with minimal sightings of Swift.
July 11, day 2 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — Another fun-filled day for the Falcon Watch.
The window washers were busy again today and hopefully have finished the north side. Horizon and Connor were on scream-alert again!
The washers for the Crowne Plaza are not to happy with me as they came to say they were to wash next week and I strongly suggested that the work be postponed for 3 weeks or so. We’ll see what tomorrow brings!
Toward the middle of the first shift, Roseanne spotted our first chicklet up on the outer ledge! He or she spent some time just observing the world from its newest vantage point. During the next shift, while I was away, that chicklet strolled down toward the north end and back south again. We didn’t see it again for the rest of the day.
At some point, someone must have been up on Tower A as the parents became agitated again over there. That didn’t seem to last too long. Most of this day was fairly uneventful, although at times I noticed when both adults were on the same building, Connor moved over to Horizon, who promptly moved away or chased him away. Who knows what was going on there?
It is certainly nice seeing “old” friends and meeting new ones. We are getting lots of attention and lots of praise and thank you’s for what our crew is doing!
July 10, day 1 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — Greetings from 1 of several rather cold watchers! It was very cold and windy all day, the wind picking up speed as the day went on.
For the first couple of hours, Horizon and Connor flew back and forth chasing breakfast for their youngsters, bringing in small items at various times. today we noticed that the food was dropped off and the adults left nearly right away, leaving the plucking and sharing to 3 hungry chicks. Both adults kept watch from nearby building roofs rather than on the nest ledge, although they did spend time perched on the ledge, too.
Then at around 8:30 a.m., Connor, followed by Horizon suddenly seemed to go beserk, screaming and flying and generally showing signs of agitation! Window washers were all over Tower 1! Although I got in touch with Yvon Morin, he said they wouldn’t stop them as they had been scheduled for July and after all the chicks weren’t due to fly yet. At the most, he went to ask the men to work on the north side first, then continue with the sides, and therefore be out of the way when the flying began. Although I wasn’t happy with this decision, I felt I had no other choice and had to accept the compromise. I did warn everyone about the dangers of agitated peregrines, since no hard hats or jackets, etc. were worn!
There was much complaining from the falcons throughout the rest of this day, well until around 3 p.m. when the window crew left for the day.
Needless to say, I decided not to do roof duty yet as I felt the falcons had enough stress from others. We’ll see about tomorrow.
July 9 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — I went up Tower 2 around 9:40 today. I knew Horizon was sitting on the very edge of the southwest corner of Tower A, so I started out from the hatch at a slow pace, first going to the east side, eventually making my way toward the front, though not up to the railing. She seemed to accept this, perhaps because her chicklets were sleeping and barely visible. She allowed me to stay there watching her and the ledge for about 20 minutes. I then decided to leave well enough alone.
I’ll try later on, and, of course, tomorrow when we start, even though it is early. She’ll soon get used to us being up there and won’t get upset as much.
July 7 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — I went up to both rooftops today between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. for a look and all 3 chicks look healthy!
Tower 1: As I came around the corner of the elevator housing and walked toward my “viewing” spot, 3 little fuzzy heads were lined up along the south end, all looking skyward, presumably for Horizon! Summit and Swift are about shoulder height with the top of the lip around the edge of the ledge. Grisou is still too short for his shoulders to get that high!
Tower 2: I decided to go up the other one to get the parents used to our volunteers being there. Once again, 3 faces were turned skyward! During all this time no parents were nearby. Certainly they would have made their presence known as I wasn’t hiding at all!
I sat down near the railing and waited. Soon Horizon flew in, possibly from the river area and landed near her family who immediately started calling for food. Somehow she spotted me and started to harass me to get off the roof, which I did! She even landed on the edge of the roof and watched to be sure I closed and locked the hatch! I had tried leaving a crack open to see what would happen and she stared at it until I was really gone – distrustful soul?!
July 5 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — This afternoon around 2 p.m., Phil and I went up on the roof of Tower 1 for a brief look. We didn’t see the youngsters who were sleeping. Horizon saw us and watched intently, vocalizing her displeasure rather quietly until we left. She was obviously staying very close to where they were sleeping. Hopefully, I can figure out a better time for a visit so I can see our chicklets when they are awake.
Elizabeth’s column in this Saturday’s Citizen will have a photo of all 3 chicks, their names, and the names of the children who chose them!
For those who missed the banding, The Citizen on Thursday had a marvelous story by their photographer, Chris Mikula, who was our “predator” on the ledge, with holes in his favourite shirt to prove it.
|Horizon, above, barely skims the nesting ledge on the Crowne Plaza hotel during banding of her chicks. Swift, one of the foster chicks, sporting her new “anklet.”
[Please note: These photographs are the property of The Ottawa Citizen. The OFNC received permission to put them on our web site. Any other use of the photos is prohibited by copyright law.]
July 3 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — Nearly half of 240 Sparks was covered by Leslie’s wonderful flagging yesterday, by dedicated, but very hot, volunteers! Tomorrow work will continue. Leslie and Marcel are to be commended for their fortitude as others of us fall by the wayside.
The banding went very well today and Horizon and Connor are already caring for their newly expanded family. Marcel, Mark and I went up on the roof of Tower 1 (Constitution Square) after lunch and saw a resting family, the female sporting a full crop while her brothers were sleeping.
Our chicklets now have names. Our “native son” is Summit. His new sister is Swift and his new brother is Grisou. There was immediate bonding between brothers as they were put out on the ledge.
See One big happy family by Joanne Laucius in The Ottawa Citizen, 4 July 2002.
July 3, 12:15 p.m. [from Arlene Williams] — I saw someone placing the three (3) chicklets into the nest area and it appears to be Horizon perched between pillars one and two of the southwest corner overlooking her increased brood. After last year’s introduction of the one new chicklet, I can only assume that it will take her a few minutes before she goes over to check on her biological offspring and check out the other two. Connor appears to be circling the nest area and quite unsure as to the goings-on. Hopefully, by early this afternoon, Horizon and Connor will have accepted their increased responsibilities to feed three rather than the one and all past indications are that they will.
June 27 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — Apologies for this late notification!
Tonight (June 27) CBC News will have a segment of the falcons, filmed this afternoon on the roof of Tower 1, Constitution Square. Cory O’Kelly and a camera person were there, and we had a bit of time to see our chicklet and do some footage before the weather turned bad.
Our chicklet is doing fine. It is lots bigger than the last time I was up there and was moving around a bit, waving those tiny wings. It is still covered with all-white fluffy down.
Connor and Horizon were taking turns at sitting nearby on the ledge near the SE corner. The one unhatched egg is still visible; it will come off the ledge when we remove our chicklet for banding. I expect the 2 foster chicklets to join our family at that time.
Latest look at our falcon chick This photograph of Horizon and her first chicklet was taken June 18 by Chris Mikula, of The Ottawa Citizen. Horizon and Connor are diligently caring for their offspring. Banding is tentatively scheduled for July 3 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. [Please note: This photograph is the property of The Ottawa Citizen. The OFNC received permission to put it on our web site. Any other use of the photo is prohibited by copyright law.]
June 23, 2:15 p.m. [from Philip Maillard] — Connor is perched on the northeast corner of the Crowne Plaza. He seems quite content there as he is preening himself. After a few minutes, he starts eating something slightly in from the corner. All seems quiet this afternoon.
June 21 [from Marcel Gahbauer, Canadian Peregrine Foundation] — I have both bad news and good news to share. The bad news is that despite our best intentions, we will likely be unable to provide video monitoring of the nest this year due to additional problems with the camera. However, I trust that today’s good news will more than make up for that disappointment — we are delighted to announce that the lone Ottawa chick will be joined shortly by two foster siblings!
One week ago today, we learned that the five Downtown Toronto chicks had lost both their parents. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Canadian Peregrine Foundation cooperated to rescue the chicks and nurse them back to full strength. The chicks recovered quickly, and finding a new home for them became a pressing issue. The best site available, both for the birds and the volunteers involved, was the Richmond Hill hack box – and indeed, that is where the five youngsters were transferred on Wednesday night (see www.peregrine-foundation.ca/tops/rhtop.html for details).
Here’s where the Ottawa connection comes in. Prior to the Toronto chicks being orphaned, CPF had already committed to purchasing chicks for release in Richmond Hill this year. With the “Toronto Five” now occupying the hack box, there is no longer room for the other two yet to come … but coming to us they are, all the same! Conveniently, they happen to be roughly the same age as the Ottawa chick – so our first thought was to negotiate with our partners to have these two chicks diverted to Ottawa for another foster attempt. Fortunately the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Town of Richmond Hill, and Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club all endorsed the idea.
As of yet we do not know when the foster chicks will arrive, but expect to learn additional details this weekend. We will keep you all posted about the news as we receive it, and look forward to a successful fostering such as we had in Ottawa in 1999 with Preston, Loft, and Jessie.
June 18 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — Chris Mikula of the Citizen and I were on the roof for 1 1/2 hours, taking photos and waiting for Connor to bring food so we could photograph Horizon feeding her baby.
Most of the time, it was napping partly under her. When Connor did arrive, and quickly gave us his cue to leave (!) he didn’t have any food. He landed once or twice on the ledge, and once Horizon flew after him toward the north end of the ledge. At that time I had a clear view of the nest area.
There is 1 very healthy-looking chicklet and 1 unhatched egg, not being brooded any longer. The 3rd egg has disappeared and I think it probable that they ate it, a not uncommon occurrence.
Chris got some good photos, which most likely will be published this weekend. Once they are “out” I will post them on our web site for all to see. We have a really cute chicklet!!
June 14 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — A First glimpse of Ottawa’s Newest Family! This photograph of Horizon and her first chicklet was taken Wednesday afternoon around 4 p.m. by Chris Mikula, of the Ottawa Citizen. One egg is visible in front of the sleeping chicklet. [Please note: This photograph is the property of The Ottawa Citizen. The OFNC received permission to put it on our web site. Any other use of the photo is prohibited by copyright law.]
I saw Horizon gently feeding her chicklet Thursday afternoon while Connor watched. It then crawled under its mother, tiny wings flapping madly, as it readied itself for another nap. Horizon is still brooding her other eggs.
June 13 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — This afternoon, when Phil and I went up to the roof to check on the falcons, Connor and Horizon were together at the corner. Horizon was feeding the 1 chicklet. An egg was in view behind the chicklet, but I couldn’t see whether the other egg was still there. Our chicklet is looking very healthy and Horizon is taking good care to make sure her baby is well fed!
After Connor left, Horizon decided it was time to tuck all under her. The chicklet stuck its head under her breast, but couldn’t make the rest of its body follow. The tiny wings were flapping like mad for a bit. Finally it just flopped where it was. All we could then see was its behind sticking out.
June 12 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — Once again I was on the roof this afternoon after work. This time I was accompanied by 2 men from The Citizen, an interviewer and a photographer.
Unfortunately I still can’t confirm whether a second chicklet has hatched, as Horizon was more interested in napping than getting up to show me the extent of her family! I can’t say I blame her. Connor arrived at one point, landed on Tower A and watched us. I had the men draw back into the shadows. However, having seen us and seeing that his mate was sleeping rather than wanting to have him join her, he flew off! Then we left.
For those wondering why I didn’t have all the media with me, I hadn’t planned to make the announcement until I had been able to get a better view of all the chicklets. However, this was an unplanned request from someone higher up in the Citizen family, so… It will appear in tomorrow’s paper.
June 10 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — We have a hatch!! I was on the roof around 3:45 this afternoon and Horizon gave me a quick glimpse of #1! 2 eggs to go.
June 9 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — Once again, Phil and I went up on the roof of Constitution Square for a look at the nest. Horizon was brooding, and it was obvious from her position that there were still eggs. Sigh! We were up for about an hour, 11 to noon. During that time, she sat still for about 1/2 hour, undisturbed by our presence and our movements on the roof. Then she changed her position, but couldn’t seem to get comfortable and changed again twice more, the last time being a continuous circle in place, repositioning eggs and her feet, until she seemed more settled, once again closing her eyes, unlike Connor who watched up all the time.
June 3 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — I went up on the roof of Tower 1, Constitution Square this morning with the able assistance of Phil! I will try to go up daily this week if possible, depending on the weather and assistance. Definately 2 arms are better than 1 when climbing out of and into the roof hatch on this tower!!
Horizon was brooding when we arrived up there around 9:30, and stayed so for the 2 hours we watched. She shifted position twice while we were there, at least while we watched, as I took Phil on his first ever roof tour! We saw no sign of the Nighthawk, but did get to see some Crows chasing off an adult Golden Eagle!!! It flew pretty close to the hotel, giving us a chance to see some underwing which helped with the ID.
Back to Horizon: she watched us moving around, but eventually closed her eyes for a nap. Brooding can be boring. She moved her eggs a bit during one shift of her position, but never raised completely off the eggs for us to get a good look. She did look downward a couple of times, but whether or not it was due to sounds within an egg, or just looking around her was impossible to tell. I’m quite sure no eggs have hatched yet, at least while we were there.
No sign of Connor who was probably off hunting.
May 9 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — We have eggs! This afternoon Marcel and I went atop Tower 1 of Constitution Square. Horizon was sitting on the northwest corner of the same roof, having just finished eating. We had a pretty good look at her until she moved to the west ledge for a while.
Connor was on nest duty. He watched us, but stayed where he’d been told to. After about 1/2 hour, Horizon returned to the nesting corner of the hotel and we had a brief look at what we think are 3 eggs during the “changing of the guard.”
May 5 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — We have a nest!
As of Sunday, May 5, Horizon is brooding on her nest near the southeast corner of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Albert at Lyon. I estimate she has only just started brooding within a day or so. The number of eggs is unknown at present but I will post that fact once I know it.
We will probably be starting our Falcon Watch around the end of June, or the beginning of July, later than usual, but better for those of us in the education system!
April 29, 2 p.m. [from Philip Maillard] — Connor is sitting on the southeast ledge of the Crowne Plaza. Horizon flies off from the west face of the building. There is a little chittering, I’m not sure from whom. I walk around the block and spot Horizon perched on the third outcrop of the Constitution Square building. she is eating something and from the looks of things, has no intention of sharing it with her mate.
April 29, 2 p.m. [from Brenda Sharpe] — I just saw both peregrines. One is sitting on the southeast corner of the hotel; the other landed on the north side of Constitution Square and then trotted around out of view in that comical hulking way they have. It looked to me like it was Horizon on Constitution Square and Connor on the hotel, but I don’t have binoculars so can’t be sure.
April 22, 1:15 p.m. [from Philip Maillard] — Horizon has just landed on the southwest face of the Crowne Plaza, 6 pillars in from the south corner. Connor arrives just after her and lands on the southwest ledge. Both are preening themselves. I think they are going to wait out the wet snow Ottawa is receiving at the moment.
April 20 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — I watched Horizon and Connor this afternoon, starting around 4:30 p.m. At first no one was around. Suddenly Horizon flew in from who-knows-where and landed on the west side, sort of near the south corner. After a minute or so, Connor flew in as well. Lots of chittering and they both went in where I couldn’t see them. After less than a minute Connor flew out and performed some of his dazzling flights, even appearing to stop and float from time to time. He then flew between the hotel and Tower C toward the east side, and Horizon then flew after him and no more activities at all.
Phil joined me, but no sign of anyone, so we went for coffee. We then returned and Horizon was on the southwest corner and no sign of Connor, so I left, with plans to visit tomorrow. Hopefully I can stay on the roof for a bit without being chased off.
April 20, 9:55 a.m. [from Philip Maillard] — Horizon is perched on the southeast corner of the Crowne Plaza. She then moves inside the ledge out of view. A minute later she comes flying out and lands on the southwest corner of the hotel, where Connor joins her. There is a lot of chittering going on. Horizon then flies around the hotel and lands close to the southwest corner again. Connor is sitting on the same corner. She again flies off and lands on a small indentation a little way down the wall of the hotel facing south, then takes off around Tower B. Connor, who is still on the corner, starts to vocalize. Horizon returns and is showing off her excellent flying skills, almost stopping completely in mid-air. Quite the display! She returns to the southwest side between the second and third column from the right. It is truely amazing to watch these two peregrines!
April 18, 1:55 p.m. [from Philip Maillard] — Horizon is perched on the southeast corner of the Crowne Plaza. She may or may not have been hidden just inside the ledge because I had been watching the area for about 15 minutes without seeing her. After walking around the block to get a different view, there she was. There is no sign of Conner on this beautiful afternoon though.
April 14 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — I went downtown this afternoon around 3:30 and couldn’t see either peregrine anywhere, so decided to do my first rooftop visit. I looked from both towers, and… no sign of either, or of a nest!!! No falcon to warn me off the roof, none on any antenna within sight, none seen on any tall building, including Place de Portages and the Coats Building.
I was totally unprepared for this!
Those of you who work downtown are asked to keep an eye out and report any activity, any sighting or either or both peregrines, please! I don’t know why they would suddenly disappear after all this time, especially time on the hotel. I don’t think the window-washers had much to do with this. Horizon and those men know each other and she doesn’t mind as much once they are down to a certain height.
Let’s hope you have a better time of it than I!
April 7, 11 a.m. [from Philip Maillard] — Connor is perched on the northeast corner of the Crowne Plaza. He seems quite content. After several minutes, Horizon flies by heading north toward the river.
12:30 p.m.[from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — There are 2 ropes dangling from the west side from top to the street. I had hope the washing would be done by now! Horizon was standing on the upper part of the antenna atop the Bradson Building. I had no sighting of Connor at that time. It was too windy for my trip to the roof so that will wait, especially as Horizon is still being away from home as she was today.
March 29 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — I was delighted to see both our peregrines this afternoon at about 1:20 p.m. Horizon was ravaging a meal on the southwest corner of the hotel while Connor was watching her from the southwest corner of Tower C. He then flew into the hotel ledge about the midway point and disappeared. Horizon flew off her corner and joined him in where I couldn’t see them. However I heard lots of loud chittering from both.
After a bit Connor flew out and around and returned into the ledge a little further south from there, bowing a bit before going further in. More chittering. Horizon flew out and around between Tower C and the hotel and disappeared. Connor looked out from the inner part of the ledge for a bit and eventually sat on the southwest corner.
Later, at about 3 p.m., Horizon was sitting on the same corner and Connor had gone.
March 2 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — I watched Horizon and Connor for about 1/2 hour this morning as they sat on the west side of the hotel on a rather cold and windy day. Horizon was on the south corner just looking around while Connor was 1 column up from that corner, preening while a few pigeons flew by.
February 19, 8:20 a.m. [from Stephanie Carrière] — On this crisp sunny morning, Horizon and Connor are perched on the ledges of the Crowne Plaza Hotel: one on the southwest corner, the other a couple of pillars from the northeast corner. Yesterday afternoon, I heard their distinctive call in the area, but I couldn’t see them from my vantage point on Queen Street. For those of you who’ve never heard them, listen for a very loud screech…like a giant squeeky wheel or rusty hinge…or fingernails on a blackboard (kidding ;o)!
February 14, 8:40 a.m. [from Stephanie Carrière] — On this snowy Valentine’s Day morning, I spotted one of our falcons perched a metre or so from the SE corner.
February 5, 8:10 a.m. [from Stephanie Carrière] — Bird on northeast corner of CPH.
February 4, 8 a.m. [from Stephanie Carrière] — Bird on southeast parapet of Crowne Plaza Hotel, site of last year’s nest.
January 12 [from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch Committee chair] — After not seeing much of our falcons, especially Connor, I was pleased to find them this afternoon, both at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, after my search at the Coats Building! Connor was on the northwest corner, constantly looking around, while Horizon was on the southeast corner polishing off a meal. She then flew around the hotel and landed on the northwest corner of the Constitution Square Tower 1. A few minutes later they both flew off in a northwesterly direction and, after a short time, Horizon showed up again on the same corner of Tower 1!