1 October [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — We know that peregrines pass through our city on migration and I have had several reports lately to that effect. However I have had several messages and calls about a 3rd peregrine and lots of vocalizations, etc.
Today I had a chance to go downtown for a look around 5 p.m. When I arrived, LadyBird was on the southeast corner of the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Connor was flying around. And then I saw the reason for his activity and vocalizations. There was another female on the antenna of Tower C! She is more like Horizon in colouring than LadyBird who has a salmon sort of wash to her breast.
This new bird was giving Connor a hard time! I watched for over 1/2 hour as he flew around and around, trying to get her to leave but she was having none of that. She kept looking around and ducking a bit when he flew over her head but didn’t move otherwise. I went to the bank for a minute or 2 and they all were gone, or so I thought. Suddenly there was Connor trying to chase the new female away! They flew around for a bit, then went out of sight. LadyBird was on the north side of Constitution Square during this last bit. I now think she is the one in all the latest messages I have received.
For those wondering why Connor is the only one putting up the attack, it is in his job description, to defend his mate and his territory. From losing a mate to suddenly be presented with 2, his work is cut out for him now!
Keep watching and sending in your reports. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next while.
16 September [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — This morning John Ayres watched our falcons on the west ledge of the hotel. Both were apparently sitting together for a while after not being seen for a few days. A bit later on Connor was still on the ledge while his new mate was on the side of Tower C.
11 September [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Once again I was out to see our new falcon. This time it was around 4:30 pm. No one in sight. While talking with friends, loud falcon conversation was heard and both our falcons flew into sight. First Connor landed on the southwest corner while our LadyBird flew around and landed on the southeast corner! Connor, to no one’s surprise, then flew to the northwest corner and hauled out leftovers which he tore into as if he had never eaten. She sat for a bit, seemed to see something west of here and took off. Eventually Connor stopped eating and flew between Tower C and the hotel and out of sight. By 6 neither one had returned so I left. Both Phil and Mary stopped for a while, as did a few others who wondered about the falcons. It was as if we had not stopped the Falcon Watch!
10 September [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Although I saw no birds this morning, Phil and I decided to wait a bit and then there they were! Both Connor and LadyBird flew in from a north or northeast direction and landed on the west side of the Crowne. They landed a pillar apart, chittering loudly and disappeared inside the ledge. After a couple of minutes, she flew off in a northwesterly direction and out of sight. He preened a bit, flew to the north end and inside. Then he suddenly appeared on the northwest corner and spent time plucking something and eating it. Afterwards he picked up the carcass and dropped it inside, coming back put to clean his bill and take a rest. We’re going back later this afternoon to see if she comes back and will hopefully get a better look at her.
9 September [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Greetings on such a beautiful day! I have been downtown 3 days in a row, around 4:30, and have seen no one. However today I was blessed with the sight of 2 falcons on the Crowne Plaza Hotel!
Connor was on the southwest corner and there on the southeast corner was an adult female!! As I got my scope out of the car, she vanished, of course. It was to windy aloft to take my scope to the roof (Tower 1), so I went up with only my bins. By that time, Connor was on the southeast corner, giving a call similar to the greeting call he and Horizon used to make when getting together. After seeing me he gave more of a complaint or soft warning call but didn’t disturb me at all.
I went right up to the front rail for a better look. He looks a bit scruffy and his white wasn’t his best, normal for this time of year. As I went to the west side of the roof, I realized that the adult I had seen was now at the northwest end of CPH. She was very puffed up so a good look was only marginal. Her malar striping was very thick and her breast seemed a bit lighter than I remembered on Horizon. But the clincher was a peek at what I am sure is a band on her right leg, just peeping out from her feathering on her leg! Taking into account the angle of the sun at what was now 5 pm, my quick glimpse made me think I saw red! If so, that would mean a fostered chick in some nest in the past.
I plan to go up again over the weekend for a better look, assuming she is more visible to the roof. I would also like to ask Chris Traynor to take his scope up to help with the possible identification of our ladybird. So, stay tuned!!
28 July [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Having returned from Vancouver yesterday, of course I went down to see our falcons today. Around noon, there were none in sight. However later, around 6pm, I saw Storm on the northwest corner of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, plucking a kill.
A couple of hours later, while Phil and I were talking and looking around, I spotted Connor on the antenna on the Carlisle (Bradson) Building. He was behind a triangular structure under the radial arms, east side. Small wonder no one has seen him. For all I know, he has been in such a place all along.
I am sure he won’t go anywhere until Storm has migrated. Adults don’t usually leave, if they are going to, until their offspring have left. It remains to see if he stays here or not this winter.
|Heavenward, you must leave us so abruptly to reach your final resting place.O ur gazes lovingly lifted to the sky, we’ve stood in awe as you effortlessly soared and tamed the wind.
R egal as any Queen with the heart and spirit of a lioness, you’ve proudly shared your wisdom with your feisty chicklets.
I nstincts gave you the grace and stamina to protect and guide your family with your beloved Connor faithfully by your side.
Z igzag imprints in the sky are as vivid as the clouds to those of us who’ve been blessed to witness your impressive hunting skills.
O n such a tragic day we reflect upon the amazing journey we’ve been honoured to share with you and your family.
N o longer a visible and impressive silhouette upon your urban cliff, we will forevermore feel your presence in the gentle breeze and lovingly gaze upon the rooftops that provided you with a safe haven over the years.
You can never be replaced Horizon and your memory will live on in our hearts and in the precious chicklets that were fortunate to learn from such a formidable huntress. You leave behind a legacy of hope, strength of character and fierce loyalty to face the future with courage and determination. It has been such a joy for all of us to a part of your magnificent life.
Be at peace dear friend! We are all fortunate for having had the opportunity to see life through your eyes! You were and will always be important and special to all of us!
Nathaleigh McKenna Rochon
July 18, 2005
18 July [from Chris Traynor, OFNC Birds Committee chair] — For the past 9 years the Ottawa Field Naturalists Club has conducted the falcon watch to monitor and rescue newly fledged Peregrine Falcons from the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Ottawa. Many club members experienced, close up, the thrill of watching these falcons raise their family. It is with much sadness that we report that Horizon, the falcon mother, has died. Horizon was picked up, injured, on July 6th. She was taken to the University of Guelph for examination and possible rehabilitation. However, her injuries were deemed too severe for her to ever fly again and the decision was made to euthanize her. She died on July 16th. This was a decision of the Ministry of Natural Resources and was based on the quality of life she would likely have.
To all the volunteers over the years, both club members and the general public, both myself and our Falcon Watch Coordinator Eve Ticknor, thank you all for your participation in the falcon watch and expressions of concern over Horizon.
“She died with dignity and is at peace. We will all miss her. Her spirit will be with us always.” — Eve
8 July [from Mark Nash, Canadian Peregrine Foundation] — Sad news regarding Horizon!
We are so sorry to have to report this news, but we have just received sad news on Horizon situation, and it’s not very good. Reports from OVC are that her chances are slim to none for recovery sufficient for her release back to the wild.
We have been flooded with requests for an adoption certificate for Horizon and we promise all that we will put together a certificate for her – for whichever way it goes. To all of those that have called, we will make every effort to do a certificate for Horizon over the next few days. [Note: For information about adoption certificates, see the Canadian Peregrine Foundation’s web site.]
On a much brighter note, we are very glad to hear that Connor is keeping up his usual great fatherly duties and hope all goes well for Storm. We are all very hopeful that he finds another mate and brings her back home to Ottawa.
8 July [from Mark Nash, Canadian Peregrine Foundation] — I met with Melissa, a biologist from the MNR from the Kemptville district of the OMNR this morning, to pick up Horizon and transport her to OVC in Guelph for further treatment. Mixed with many emotions, and some teary moments in the car during this longer than long drive, I was a little overwhelmed with many sad thoughts of all of the mortality we have all gone through over the past six months. Many would say it was silly, while others have said that after ten years of this, you should be used to it by now. Well I can tell you that I’m not! And I can tell you that I will likely never get used to it. Greeted by the medical staff at OVC, I was assured that everything that could be done, would be done to insure that Horizon would be cared for to the best of everyone’s ability while she was in their care. Despite Horizon’s injuries, they are not life threatening, and she was just as “feisty” as you might expect.
[Later, Mark wrote to Eve:] Horizon was quiet and actually travelled very well. At each gas stop – (x 2), I offered water to re-hydrate, which she was very eager to accept, – then lashed out in typical peregrine fashion after the fact. Very healthy attitude as you know.
She was very alert throughout the entire trip, and stood up for most of the ride. She did in fact “roost” on one leg on three occasions, and closed her eyes in an effort to catch some sleep. Seemed very much at calm throughout. The fact that she was actually roosting in typical peregrine form, is a very good sign indeed, as sick stressed out peregrines do not exhibit this behaviour at all.
The OVC staff were on hand waiting for our arrival , and Horizon was admitted right away.
As far as a commercial breeding program, I’m not sure what is on their minds or where she would go, as that if up to the MNR. It would also depend on the extent of her injuries, (and how she heals up). Keeping a bird with some of these types of injuries, in any captive environment – where they are unable to hold their wings up from dragging on the ground, can cause all kinds of other medical problems down the road. It sometimes requires that special housing, with special pen furniture be used to accommodate birds with these disabilities. Lets hope that her situation turns out much better than that.
While it may appear that she might never fly again, we all still have all of our fingers crossed that this is not the case, and she can be repaired, and eventually be released back to the wild to fly free again.
SHE’S A TOUGH ONE, AND A FIGHTER AS YOU KNOW!!!
The rest is up to the vets and the OVC.
7 July [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Horizon is on her way to Guelph to be seen by a specialist. I have seen her x-rays and can tell you all that she will not be flying again. Her wing fractures are too severe for that. We hope she will be entered into a breeding program once she has healed from her injuries. She will be missed by all of us. She is as feisty as always. Connor will be looking for her for some time, I am sure. However, he will continue to look after Storm and will give her the much needed lessons for her life ahead. As for next year, we can only wait and see. Perhaps he will find another mate and stay here.
Photo at right shows Horizon with chicklet Summit taken in 2002.
6 July, Horizon injured [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Horizon was found on the roof of the East Memorial today, injured and unable to fly. Thanks to an alert worker there, phone calls were made everywhere and Chris was able to go up to rescue her and take her into care.
She is resting at the Lynwood Animal Clinic where our peregrines go if there is a need for medical care. Dr Robin Roscoe is a bird specialist. Horizon was x-rayed, found to have a broken wing (possibly other injuries) and the MNR has been notified. They have made arrangements for her to be transfered in the morning to Guelph where Dr Taylor will look after her. He is the best! Once he has examined her and begun treatment, he will notify the MNR and I am sure they will notify me, and of course I’ll pass the news on.
Some years ago, Ponce-Kingsley of Toronto suffered a broken wing and had to have it pinned. However, the following year he was back at work being a father and did so for many years after that. Horizon is older than he was at the time, but we will continue to have hope and I ask for your prayers and thoughts for her and her recovery.
Most likely the injuries are due to a fight with another peregrine. A female has been seen in the area, being chased off by both Horizon and Connor. The other peregrine may be dead, injured or driven off, so if anyone sees another female peregrine, please let me know, as well as Marie Clausen (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Chris Traynor (email@example.com).
Day 14 (24 June) — Our last official day of the Falcon Watch for 2005. It is a day of mixed emotions for some volunteers who find it hard to stop each year. We enjoy so much watching the falcons flying. The adults make it look so easy, soaring up high, almost stationery up there at times. And the joy when one of the chicklets joins them in the evening for a short bout of flying is what we are here for. The fact that Storm (see photo at left) never needed us is a bonus.
Today we are concentrating on the behaviour of the adults in case one of them is going in a particular direction more than once. If the direction is repeated a few times, we are in hopes that we may find Littlefoot in that area. Juvenile falcons seem to adopt a few rooftops as their home,and maybe he did as well, just somewhere out of our sight.
I feel that he is not in this area but further away. Connor has been seen going south a few times so we will cruise that area, as well as checking west and east of here. If Littlefoot is still dependent on his parents for food and they are not feeding him, he cannot last much longer. There is a possibility that instinct may kick in and he will learn on his own to hunt. Unless we find him, or someone reports seeing him, we may never know.
We saw some awesome flying by the adults tonight! Storm was heard from somewhere on top of Tower C, but didn’t show herself to us until shortly before we were to pack up, and then, just a bit of herself.
What is also awesome are our volunteers, and others who supported us in many ways. I will be submitting a final report in a few weeks.
Day 13 (23 June) — Where is Littlefoot? That is the question on everyone’s mind. We have never had a chicklet out of sight for so long!
Storm is doing very well. She stays up high most of the time. At times she can be seen flying to another building, occasionally aborting with a rapid recovery, and a parent close by her side much of the time. She is being fed often, and was actually seen refusing a delivery from Horizon! It would be better for her to cut down on the amount she is eating. Adults don’t eat nearly so much. Just before noon, Tony Beck confirmed the band number on our juvenile as that of Storm – 82 over H, not that I had doubts, but it is better to be sure.
Horizon and Connor were bust today, warning off people on the roof of the Constitution Square who were working on the Canada Day Flag! This activity should continue for a few more days. I don’t envy those who are working on it.
Our Falcon Watch is coming to a close as Storm certainly doesn’t need us, and never has. We will do all shifts tomorrow and end at 9 pm, 14 days in total. However we will maintain an informal watch for at least the weekend as several volunteers want to continue to search for Littlefoot. As of tomorrow morning we will shift our attention from Storm to the adults in hopes that their behaviour may give us a clue to his whereabouts, if they know where he is and are feeding him. So far most of their attention is on Storm but they do fly away from time to time and we have thought it was to search for food. Maybe it was for other reasons.
To give us a boost, I am doing a very brief phone interview on site tomorrow morning for Ottawa Morning, CBC Radio1! They really have been supportive! I want to ask people in our area to keep an eye out for him and to call me if they do. Keep your fingers crossed!
Day 12 (22 June) — Coming downtown after work, having missed most of the day with Falcon Watchers, I revel in glimpses of flights of our falcons. Horizon and Connor take to the air together most evenings and their skill is amazing, their flying so beautiful! This evening they were joined by their daughter, Storm. She is improving with each day.
I wish I could say the same for Littlefoot. He still hasn’t been seen or heard from. Several of us were up in the Marriott at different times scanning roof tops and keeping our fingers crossed. There were 2 times someone thought they had seen his head on the top of the Crowne Plaza Hotel. So far there is no further evidence that he is there other than going up into the “lion’s den.” That will be a decision from the MNR. Otherwise we cannot just go up to that particular roof, being the nesting area.
Back in 1999 we lost Loft for quite a while, possibly the same amount as for this one, so we have not yet given up. We are widening our search and will continue for a day or 2 more. It is clear that Storm does not need us now, nor did she ever! She is the 3rd chicklet, and 3rd female to fledge without a rescue!
Her parents dote on her and are delivering food at least every 3 hours today. There were 3 kills this evening alone, though the last one was for both adults. I have never seen Connor pluck a pigeon so fast!
And Heather is spoiling some of us, donating her scones and occasional iced tea at the end of the day. For anyone who has not visited her establishment, the Sconewitch is a must!
Day 11 (21 June) — We started out the day at 6 am with both chicklets in sight, just where they were last night when we left. That was the last time things were that way.
Littlefoot stayed on his green-roofed Memorial building for the morning and disappeared after noon. Many surmises were made, but no confirmed sightings. Where are you??
Storm flew to the Constitution Square Tower 1 in a possible attempt to return to her ledge. She banged into the north side, recovered and landed on the Delta. A bit later on she flew to the Centretown Place apartments on Slater, and then to the top of the Crowne Plaza Hotel. She then went to the top of Tower C. Horizon brought food to her this evening. Connor stole some of it, was chased by Horizon until he dropped it and she made a spectacular mid-air catch! He should know he can never get away with such stunts while she is around!! Storm took to flying between Tower C, the Marriott and the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
Meanwhile our ground crew were in search mode. Although I was told that Littlefoot was on Tower B, there was no confirmation of that nor appropriate notes in the log book, so the search was on as he has not been seen. I went up to the revolving restaurant on the Marriott where I could check nearly all the roof tops and terraces. No one save the adults in sight. It was there I saw the feathered thief get his comeuppance. Quite the show! I then went into Tower B and security took me up to the maintenance levels to check some open areas in the roof, but again no luck.
Barb and Polly went in one direction while Chris went in another, again with no sightings of our little guy. Eventually I asked him to go up on the roof of Constitution Square Tower 2 for a different perspective. He also checked out the roof of Tower 1. The adults seemed to ignore his presence on Tower 2 until he got to the west side of the roof and then they buzzed him. Was it because Littlefoot was nearby or was it because he was near the nest ledge? Who knows.
Just as Chris left the roof, I saw a chicklet on the white fence on top of the Crowne. It flapped a bit and disappeared. We all assumed it was Storm, as we have all along. What if Littlefoot had been up there all day and our sightings had really been of 2 chicklets, changing places? Were the adults feeding 1 or 2? Hopefully the morning will bring us some answers. The excitement of the moment causes us to lose sight of the fact that we really don’t yet have a concrete way to tell which one we are looking at unless one can see the band id. That has proved to be elusive so far. Usually we cannot see a band well enough or see the rivets instead of letters and numbers. For now we will still look for the missing chicklet, and try to keep and eye on the one we know to be around, though that is proving to be harder that we thought.
Day 10 (20 June) — It’s nice not being cold any more.
When I arrived around 5:45 am, I heard Connor giving his warning calls. Suddenly he burst into sight from behind Tower 1, Constitution Square, chasing 3 crows! They soon left the area, minus a few feathers each!
Both chicklets were where we left them last night, Littlefoot on the East Memorial Building, and Storm on the window ledge of the 151 Bay St apartments. Horizon flew over there with food to entice her but no luck. Then she took to buzzing an apartment balcony near Storm. There was a man on the balcony, probably thinking he was going to enjoy his coffee before going to work. Instead he gets an irate falcon flying back and forth inches away from the railings! Shortly after that, she brought a pigeon to Storm who spent a long time plucking and eating it.
Littlefoot had to wait until mid-morning for his first meal. He spent some time walking around the ledge of his home away from home. The meal he finally had was the rest of his sister’s pigeon, which Horizon came and took from one ledge to the other! He didn’t fly anywhere until early afternoon when he flew back and forth from East to West Memorials and back again.
Storm, meanwhile, flew south past the Queen Elizabeth Towers and landed on 467 Laurier, then north where she flew into the side of Tower 1, leaving a dusty imprint of her wings and body. From there she gained altitude and disappeared for some time. One of our past chicklets had left the same kind of imprint when he flew into another side of the same building and did very well afterwards, leaving on migration in the fall, so seeing her flying later on confirmed to me that she was just fine. No worries. An hour later she was found on the north side of 151 Bay. Early evening saw more food deliveries and more flying, especially from Storm. At one point she tried landing on her brother’s building! Once again she made it up to the top of Tower C.
It was fun to watch her flying in and out from the west edge way up high, a little at at time all along from one corner to the other and back. Then she flew southwest out of sight. When she came back she tried the side of Tower C, about 1/3 of the way down the west side and then flew off to be soon found on the north side of the Delta offices, on a window ledge 2 from the top. My guess is that she was simply tired from a marathon of flying on her second day. There was speculation that she and Littlefoot had changed places since trying to land part way up a building side seemed more his style, but we could not come to a conclusion.
And so each was left to spend the night where they were. Sometimes it is hard to leave when they are in different places, but most likely they would not be flying again tonight.
Day 9 (19 June) — Well! What a difference a day makes. We’re flying – all of us!
The morning started out fairly quiet, as usual. We thought the weather was improving and then the cold returned until this afternoon. The clouds and sun seemed to take turns up in the sky.
The sparrow I took home with me was still alive this morning and I brought it with me here to feed every 20 minutes, though it took very little. Around 9:30 I brought it to the Wild Bird Care Centre. I called after 12 to find out if they would be able to save it, but no. It had many too many internal injuries.
Back to our falcon family. On my return, I found that Littlefoot had flown over to the top of the Delta Hotel. I went over to Bay and Sparks to join Lynne in watching him. Apparently those who watched him fly, said he had a beautiful, steady flight! Around 1:45, Littlefoot flew to the Crowne and landed on a sloping window ledge 4 floors down from the ledge. He spent quite a while there, not happy, hanging from a toenail or 2, flapping back and forth and resting occasionally.
Meanwhile Storm was wing-flapping and being ignored. She flew over to Tower 1 of Constitution Square for a bit, then over to the top of Tower C where she received lunch! She flew again, this time over to the roof of Minto Place! Her flying is superb, strong and steady (hear that Nic?). She was rewarded with another meal, unlike her brother. She eventually left the Minto and flew over the Delta, doubled back with a parent and disappeared, at least to our eyes.
Littlefoot, still on the window ledge, was buzzed by his parents who were attempting to dislodge him, without success! Finally he left there, flew toward the Delta and disappeared also! Both out of sight to the watchers, but not to the adults. Their behaviour gave a clue to what area we might find them in, far apart, of course.
Finally Littlefoot was found, on the roof of the West Memorial (Veterans Affairs), corner of Sparks and Lyon! He was walking around the top, back and forth, still restless. He attempted a return to his home, but landed briefly on the window ledge of the 23rd floor. I say briefly as the parents immediately brushed him off there! He flew south, out of sight, then back north to the East Memorial Building where he was when we left after 9 pm! Shortly before we left, one of the adults chased a gull north on Lyon right at street lamp level! Guess who won that race?
Back to Storm. Gilles finally spotted her on the Minto, again, about mid range on that side. Apparently she was too close to a robin’s nest as suddenly she was chased away by the male Robin! She flew over the bank, right over my head! I found her on a balcony about 9 floors up on the apartment building right across from our bank and Falcon Watch headquarters, and that is where we left her tonight!
Day 8 (18 June) — At last a day without rain! It’s nice to dry out somewhat. I thought we’d see another flight from Littlefoot today but not so. He and his sister, Storm, did wing-flapping and running along the ledge interspersed with eating and then resting. Several times we thought the time had come as the wing-flapping was so vigorous that we could see a foot lift off the ledge, but then all quieted down again each time.
The chicklets spend some time close to each other, although not as much a last year’s. They always seem to be together at the end of the day as well as at times during the day and occasionally can be seen giving a bit of assistance with preening.
There were several food drops throughout the day that appeared to be mostly pigeons. On a couple of occasions, Connor would take some of it and go off with his prize! He did chase away a gull and both he and Horizon flew off twice to chase something we couldn’t see. Once Horizon appeared to buzz someone on the roof of Constitution Square and pushed Littlefoot off into the ledge as if to keep him safe from someone there. However a phone call I received around then from John let us know no one was seen from their vantage point.
Some of us added House Sparrow to our monitoring list! One was brought to us, found in a flower basket or pot at the Crowne. It was an injured fledgling who had lain there for over 4 hours! The security person thought it was proper to leave it for the parent and didn’t know what to do once he realized they weren’t coming to it. Although we gave it shelter (in a nest of kleenex in a bag, tucked inside my jacket – on me), we couldn’t get it to take water or food and it may not last the night. If it does, I’ll take it to the Wild Bird Care Centre.
We are promised to have increasing warm temperatures starting tomorrow and, lucky us, to have high humidex by Monday!!
Day 7 (17 June) — A fairly quiet day. I’m sure much of that was due to the rain – again! There were 2 main food drops, probably pigeon. Both adults flew in for brief visits, either to check for leftovers or perhaps to encourage activity. I suspect there is some activity going on inside the ledge where we cannot see. We do see wing-flapping from time to time on the ledge where they are visible, usually at the north end. No flights today. They sometimes seem subdued by the rain, as we do.
We are certainly doing our part with Public Relations! People stop by our “home base” to check each day on the progress of the chicklets, or to find out what we are looking at. Most of them are really interested and love looking in my spotting scope! A few of us were over to the next block, in front of the Delta, to get a better view and to be ready in case someone took off from that corner. We generated lots of interest for both employees and guests who came out for looks and information. The only interference came from all the flags flapping in the wind, cutting off some of our view!
I think people do not know that activity can go on during rain and that, unless it is raining too hard, falcons can fly then, and sometimes do, especially the chicklets. They do not see the water in the way we do. Our volunteers are prepared for all kinds of weather! If no one flies, it is still important to document all activity, such a wing-flapping, to know at what stage the chicklets’ strength is at.
Hopefully it will dry up soon as I am sure we’ll be running down one of the streets here over the weekend!
Day 6 (16 June) — Some of us are beginning to feel like ducks with water dripping down all the time. At least the temperature is down from last week. A short while later we were looking for jackets!
Both chicklets were on the ledge first thing, making their way toward the south end, toward Connor. As soon as they came within crying distance, he flew off to Tower A. Horizon flew in with something small around 8 am. The next while was spent alternating between wing-flapping and resting or crying out for food. Can’t these children ever get full?
All kinds of stuff happens when I have to be at work. A CBC cameraman showed up for photos but decided to come back as he couldn’t get pictures that viewers could see. Then another peregrine flew overhead and there was a brief contact over the antenna on Tower C! Both of ours were able to chase it away in a few minutes! How does one relax after this activity? Chase off a gull, of course.
But we topped all that when Littlefoot took his first flight! Around 5:20 this evening, I looked up and saw him leave the ledge. Chris and Marie started running with Nancy right behind them. Our intrepid little flyer tried to land on the roof of the Crowne Plaza Hotel but missed. He then turned to Tower C but saw there was no landing place. He started to drop but recovered and flew up to his ledge at the north end. Amazing! We have never had a chicklet return to its starting point, especially a ledge under an overhang!
At one point, Horizon appeared to have something on her belly that looked like a wound. Of course we thought of the earlier peregrine visitor. Then it looked as if some feathers had been ripped out. Finally we thought of the simpler idea of blood from preparing a bird to feed her youngsters. We’ll keep an eye out for the next few days to be sure.
Day 5 (15 June) — What a wet life we are leading now. It was pouring when I arrived before 6 am! Both chicklets were making their way down the ledge toward their father who flew across the street as soon as they came closer than he wanted. There was lots of wing-flapping for a while by both. They finally got a small meal just before 8 am.
There was wing-flapping off an on all day but no flying yet. That’s ok! Chasing a bird in the rain isn’t much fun. You get to know just how much waterproofing you do or do not have. We have done that before, like last year! There was thunder, lightning and heavy rain which must have been very interesting to 2 youngsters who have much to learn about their new world.
There was much activity later on in the afternoon, running along the ledge and wing-flapping, along with exercising their vocal chords! We had the joy of fire engines (3 of them) for the building next door! The noise and flashing lights did nothing for me, nor did it capture the attention of our feathered family, who tend to ignore much of what happens below them.
Finally in the evening we were treated to Connor having a flight, mostly gliding along on wind currents, until he perched on an arm of the antenna on Tower C. A bit later on, just after another dose of rain, Horizon took her turn at flying. She just floated around. It seems so easy! Our last view was of her, with Connor tucked in near the center of the antenna.
Day 4 (14 June) — Both our chicklets have ventured to the southwest end and are moving back and forth now. At 7 am they are still hoping for breakfast. We’ve seen Connor but not Horizon so I imagine she might be hunting. Our volunteers are now wearing safety vests and carrying gloves, a towel and a radio and will be ready to chase if a chicklet takes off.
I had a great start to my day, with a live interview by Lucy van Oldenbarneveld for Ottawa Morning on CBC Radio! It was pouring when I arrived and set up but by the time she was here it had stopped. We had 10 minutes so I showed her a few things about our set up and a look through the scope before we started. It went very well. Too bad I didn’t get to hear it!
From time to time Littlefoot has given his watchers near heart attacks by doing his wing-flapping right at the edge of his ledge, so his foot slips on occasion! After all these years, my heart wants to stop as well. The vigorous exercise is just what he should be doing, just not so near. He will be 37 days old tomorrow and males tend to fledge between 37 and 39 days.
Storm, on the other hand, seems more laid back, waiting and being seen less often. Since she is so big, she could have a harder time of fledging as it takes more strength to keep the heavier body up in the air. I’m quite content to have her wait! Females generally fledge between 40 and 42 days.
There have been several food drops today, especially late afternoonish. Once I watched as Horizon fed a possible Littlefoot on the ledge. I would have expected he would be feeding himself by now. We have to remember that there is no way to tell just which one we are looking at unless they are side by side so we can see the size difference. We are generalizing that the more active one right now is the male.
Keep your eyes and ears open now as whenever a chicklet takes off, it is in the blink of an eye! Stay tuned! We appreciate all the visitors who stop by, some to find out what we are looking at and others to get daily updates.
Day 3 (13 June) — We’re getting into a bit of a stressful time now, both from a chicklet and a volunteering aspect. I, of course, have my mind here rather than at school and envision all sorts of things happening. I am not always able to answer my cell phone so some messages are delayed. Fortunately we have some great volunteers this year who are very competent!
Anyway, 2 of our new volunteers started out the day on their own and did well. They were very observant and proved to be faithful recorders as well. I’m sure they are glad the chicklets aren’t quite ready for flight yet. Littlefoot seems more active on the ledge than Storm, his sister, but that is normal since females tend to wait longer and fly later than males. I’m not convinced yet that this will happen this year. At one point there was a chicklet on the corner of the ledge, flapping his wings (it most likely was Littlefoot), looking as if he would take off at any time. He isn’t ready yet so we fervently hope he still practices daily!
The rest of the day has been rather quiet. A few peeps from Lightfoot later on and eventually a brief sighting of Storm. Just when we decided to close up, it rained, but just a bit. It will most likely create more humidity tomorrow!
Great news! I will be interviewed in the morning on the Ottawa Morning Show on CBC (91.5 FM), on location! Each bit of publicity just might get our falcons known better, and might get another volunteer.
Day 2 (12 June) — Another hot, humid day! On occasion there was a little breeze.
There seem to be fewer food drops than yesterday, at least we didn’t see any until mid-morning when Connor came in with a pigeon. We could see feathers flying from a ledge on Constitution Square’s Tower 2 before some was brought over to the Crowne.
Early this morning, Lorraine and I saw Horizon try to catch a Starling fairly low down in our area, but she failed.
To the delight of all present, Littlefoot made an appearance on the ledge a little after 11:30! We could see his face, looking all around with a bobbing motion, so curious. A few minutes later Storm joined him! She actually made it further out so we saw more of her, but with the same head movements as her brother. They are so cute doing this! They stayed up for this a little while, then went back in. From time to time one or the other would appear for a bit. We did get to see some wing-flapping from each, though!
This is what we have been waiting for. The “twins” should be visible more often each day now and we need to see much more vigorous wing-flapping and moving from one end of the ledge to the other and back. Those who haven’t experienced this will find themselves in some heart-stopping moments as the exercising increases to the point where we expect a chicklet to leave the ledge.
As evening draws near, the air becomes more bearable! The adults are more likely to go for a fly around before it gets dark. But not tonight.
Day 1 (11 June) — A rather quiet day for the start of our Falcon Watch. It is so hot and humid that our birds were affected like the rest of us! Gilles and I arrived around 5:30, actually the best time of day, comfortwise. We got the equipment out of my car and settled down to watch the adults. There was a small food drop around 5:40 a.m.
Neighbours started coming by to greet us and check on the falcons, saying they had been looking for us again. We have had quite a few passersby stop to find out what we were doing. One couple came over from the Crowne, saying they were sure we must be watching falcons. They came from Nottingham, England, and had a pair of Peregrines living there!
We are in front of the Alterna Bank and have a bakery / cafe right next to us with delicious food. We also have a family of 6 baby squirrels who live in the roof of the cafe. From their size, we are sure the mother has vanished. They seem to be finding seeds and look as if they are doing well, so we’ll enjoy the entertainment for now.
The highlight of the day was this afternoon, watching Connor escorting a Turkey Vulture out of “his” area! As if a vulture wanted live chicks.
My scope has once again proved to be a hit, drawing in curious visitors!
June 10 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — We had a great banding event today at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. It was nice to see some of you at the ceremony! The first chicklet is a male weighing in at 700 g and is 32 days old. His name is Littlefoot, named by staff at the CS Alterna Savings Bank. The second is a female, Storm, weighing in at 1040 g (!) and is also 32 days old. She was named by an 11 year old volunteer who has been extremely keen on falcons for over a year now. Our FAlcon Watch starts tomorrow and I hope to see many of you there over the next few weeks!
June 4 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — I was on the roof of Constitution Square briefly this afternoon, around 3 p.m. I could see both of our chicklets. They are upright and walking around now. Their plumage is in the process of changing from white to brown. They are quite big now, too. Horizon flew over me to let me know she was there and not to approach, which wasn’t my intention. She flew to perch on a railing of Tower 2 to watch me. I was there only long enough to see the chicklets then left.
May 29 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — I made a very brief visit to the roof this afternoon and saw our very large fluffy white chicklets near the nest area, leaning on each other in rest while Horizon was perched on the ledge nearby watching them, and then me!
May 28 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — This afternoon, Phil Maillard and I went to the Crowne Plaza to see if any of our falcons were in sight. At first they weren’t. A bit later on (mid-afternoon), we walked around the corner to Lyon St and saw Connor fly away from the ledge over the Queen Elizabeth Towers, to hunt we thought. Suddenly Horizon also flew in his direction and out of sight. The reason soon was apparent as 3 birds came into view! It was plain that our birds were escorting the other one out of the area, and in fact to the river. My guess is a female peregrine by size and flight. She was showing no signs of challenging and I think she was merely passing by, but naturally too close for Horizon’s comfort! At least they made sure she kept on going, only returning to the ledge once she was gone way past the Marriott. They made no attempt to attack her, most likely to preserve their energy for when it is really needed. Then Horizon flew around while Connor perched on the ledge right near his chicklets. She went out of our sight, behind the Minto, possibly to the ladder up there to keep watch for the intruder. Quite the exciting afternoon for us “lowly” viewers!
May 20 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — I was going to have a look at our chicklets today but after being downtown, decided not to. When I arrived, Horizon was on the northwest corner of Constitution Square, having lunch. She then went to the Crowne and perched on the southwest corner of the ledge. With Connor at the northwest end, the “bookends” made it clear that brooding was finished and they were on full alert! We’ll have to wait until the banding to get any more updates! I’ll let you know when that is.
May 9 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — We have babies! I was on the roof this afternoon, having been away for the weekend. I last looked at the nest Thursday afternoon. Today there are 2 fluffy babies! Connor was trying to get comfortable during his turn at the nest. He couldn’t seem to accomplish that and kept moving around, trying in vain to tuck in both babies and the other 2 eggs. I”ll be up again tomorrow and will send another update.
May 5 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — I was up on the roof both yesterday and today to check on the eggs (from my usual distance across the street). We still have eggs. Yesterday was so windy and chilly that the “sitter” was not moving off during the visit. Today I was hardly set up before a dozing Horizon stood up to turn her eggs. Hatching time is getting much closer!
April 23 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Horizon continues to brood her 4 eggs which are due around the 10th or 11th of May. Her nest is on the west side, near the north end. We anticipate the start of the Falcon Watch around the middle of June and will be needing volunteers. Please contact Eve Ticknor via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 859-9545 or 737-7551.
April 14 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — I finally had a good look at the eggs as Horizon arrived to change brooding duties with Connor. We have 4 large eggs! I cannot see each whole egg but can see the upper 1/2 of the eggs behind the cement slab. This is my first attempt at digiscoping. Horizon is to the left of the post in back of some cement slabs!
April 13 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — We have eggs!!! Today, with Chris Traynor and Marie Clausen, I can say that we have 3, and maybe 4, Grade A large!
April 11 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Horizon, our resident Peregrine Falcon, is on her nest! She is on the west ledge, between the 2nd and 3rd column from the north end. She is between 2 boards and just south of a ventilation cap (shaped like on overturned bushel basket). This may present a challenge for those of you in Tower C, but please give it a try and let me know if you can see her.
I estimate her start date as this past Friday or Saturday, so hatching should take place around the 11th of May. Given the commencement of construction at Kent and Albert, I am glad she is on the west side.
I hope to find out how many eggs over the next couple of days and will keep you informed.
March 27 [from Phil] — 10:35 am Horizon is sitting very close to the southwest corner of the Constitution Square building, tower 1. A few minutes later Connor lands on the west side of the Crowne Plaza between the second and third pillars. He then disappears inside the ledge area. Shortly after that, he flies over to where Horizon is and they mate. He then flies off around the front of the Crowne. At this point, I think it is Horizon vocalizing and Connor returns to her. They then both fly off, Horizon going west, Connor to the south.
March 26 [from Phil] — 10:10 am Horizon is perched on the southwest corner of the Crowne Plaza, and Connor is between the third and fourth pillar on the west side. there is some brief vocalization. a few minute later Horizon flies over to the Constitution Square building on the southwest corner. Connor comes over and lands close to her. After a few minutes they mate! Again, some brief vocalization then Connor flies around the Crowne Plaza and I lose sight of him. Horizon seems content to stay were she is.
March 22 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Where do our falcon chicks go?
In response to this often asked question, I thought I should put the following here. Once our peregrine chicks have fully fledged and learned all they can from their parents, they leave in early fall on migration. We can only guess where they go as they have never been given transmitters. Some young falcons from Richmond Hill had transmitters attached and most seemed to spend the winter in Central or South America. Occasionally one would stay within a few kilometers of where it started out from.
In spring the now adult falcons will often return to their hatching area. However they are not welcome to stay as they are now threats to the incumbent peregrines’ territory and are escorted out very quickly! They have to find their own territory. Up to now we have had 10 chicks survive out of 17 raised here and have no idea where any of them are, even if any or all have indeed survived their first year!
March 22 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — I have been by the Crowne Plaza Hotel both yesterday and today, around 4:30 p.m. Yesterday one falcon was on the southwest corner rapidly pulling meat from what was likely a pigeon. Today one falcon was perched, tail out, on the southeast corner. At the same time, another falcon was on the southwest corner of Tower B. The sun was in my face most of the time so telling them apart was difficult.
Please keep watching whenever you are outside or looking through your windows to see what they are doing and when! The activities over the next few weeks will alert me as to possible nesting times. In the past, Horizon has usually been found on her nest around the middle of April, but we can never be sure from year to year. I need your help as I am not working downtown and cannot come down often after work.
March 11 [from Marian Bird] — Early this morning I saw Horizon fly in from the direction of the Constitution Building and land on the northeast corner of the Crowne Plaza. I looked for Connor and spotted him sitting close to the first column on the south east side of the Crowne Plaza.
March 4 — Marc Bosc spotted 2 peregrines on the SE corner of the Crowne Plaza on the nest ledge.
March 4 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — This winter our falcons have been less visible as they seem to have ventured to other spots around town. They were spotted on the Holiday Inn on Cooper Street earlier this winter. Lately, Horizon has been seen several times around the Crowne Plaza Hotel and on the antenna of Tower C, Place de Ville. Connor was spotted flying in to the hotel last week.
Both falcons should be seen more often near or on the hotel in the coming weeks as they get into the spirit of breeding. If all goes well, we should find Horizon on her nest by mid-April. It will again be a guessing game as to the location — which side of the Crowne she will choose this year, assuming she sticks with the same building. Keep your eyes and ears tuned to the sky…
P.S. We will soon be asking for volunteers for our 9th season!
March 2 [from Claire Hughes] — I work on the 21st floor, Albion Tower, 25 Nicholas St (across from the Rideau Centre). My window faces south. Lately, about 4 weeks in a row now, at least once a week, I see a very large bird fly by, usually with a pigeon in its talons. Today I happened to glance out and just caught in the corner of my eye the same large bird. Now I’m watching grey feathers float past my window. There are 22 floors in this building, so I’m guessing he or she is up on the roof molting? I’ve seen the bird leave our building roof with a pigeon and fly south to one of the apartment buildings on the Canal. This bird has to be the peregrine falcon, right?
February 28 [from Marian Bird] — Around 8:15 this morning I saw one of the falcons sitting on the southwest corner of the Crowne Plaza. As I was walking down Lyon toward Queen to get a better look, a second falcon flew in from the west, landing between the second and third column. I am quite sure this one was Horizon by the way she was sitting with her tail haggling over the edge.