2006 Summary

from Eve Ticknor, Falcon Watch coordinator

This has proved to be a different Falcon Watch, indeed!

To start at the beginning, well the end of last year’s Falcon Watch, Horizon died as a result of injuries. Her mate, Connor, was left to act as a single father to Storm, which he did admirably. For 2 months he was on his own, until a female we called LadyBird showed up. We gave her that name until we hoped to find her own name from the band she wore. A week later, a 2nd female showed up, subsequently driven off by Connor and his new mate. They were seen together into December. Connor was seen alone at times, then more often with his mate until we realized in early spring that his mate was not the same one as LadyBird! There had been a switch!

The new female has stayed and we eventually gave her the name of Diana, the Huntress from old mythology. She has no band, so we will never know her history, just like Connor, also unbanded.

Now we awaited Diana’s nest. We waited, and waited, and waited, and… just when we thought she was not going to nest, she did, at least 3 weeks later than we were used to! Most females lay their eggs earlyl in April, but a brand new one may start her nesting much earlier or later. At last! Diana had chosen her nest almost exactly where Horizon had hers the year before. Two eggs!

Eventually one egg hatched. It is not unusual for only one chicklet to hatch in the first year. Considering this was to be our 10th year, we were relieved to have a chicklet to monitor. Connor and Diana spent the next few weeks taking gentle care of their new baby. And so plans for the Falcon Watch were set in motion.

Melanie and I now notified all previous volunteers to see how many volunteers we would have. This would prove to be a tad difficult. Many of our volunteers usually arrange their holidays to be after the Falcon Watch. However, this year, their holidays coincided with a late Watch! We did gain a few new volunteers who were wonderful to work with, though! And, some were lucky enough to get in at the end when they returned from holidays.

Normally there would be a banding ceremony when we would know if our baby was a male or female. Here too, we would depart from the norm as the MNR decided against banding this year. Although there were several reasons, the main one was to avoid as much human interference as possible for Diana, to ensure her fidelity to the Crowne Plaza Hotel. We would have to make our determination by sight for now.

The reason for wanting to know the sex of our chicklet has to do with the fledging period. Males tend to fledge earlier than females. This would indicate the approximate length of the Watch. Little did we know that this information would not help us very much. Our little chicklet was to be a individual among all we have monitored.

The official Watch started on Sunday morning, July 16th, at 6am. Our first surprise was to see a little head peeping over the ledge just a few hours into our first day! It continued to do so most of every day when not sleeping or eating. For days we had little view of the whole bird so guessing its sex was a game until finally it was out on the ledge more and more. Was it male or female? Only when Diana came to feed it was the size difference apparent. We now had a male! After collecting name suggestions for some time, our baby was given the name “Odyssey,” rather apt for a child of “Diana the Huntress”! This year, the name was submitted by Phil Maillard, one of our long-time volunteers. Congratulations, Phil!

Those of us who have been watching falcon families for some years, especially Horizon’s, found ourselves comparing this mother with our other mother. Often someone would start to say “Horizon, I mean Diana……….” At any rate, she was doing fine, although we thought the feedings were smaller than what we were used to. Also, Odyssey was still being fed, beak to beak, rather than being given his food to pick at himself. This would change over time, but in a way different from our expectations…..

Odyssey was not a chicklet given to lots of wing-flapping and running as we had seen in the past. He sometimes gave “wing-waves” instead. So it was with trepidation that one evening, after Ieft (!) that he suddenly was airborn! He flew a wobbly course across the street to a ledge of Constitution Square at the 2nd floor level, where he had keks to exchange with the “other” bird he saw in the reflective glass. He then hopped across a small opening to another ledge at the same level. His mother brought him dinner, after which he went to sleep. Our volunteers left him there at dark. I had returned in time to watch him there for a bit.

The next morning, he was nowhere to be seen and we spent the next 7 1/2 hours searching, having put the word out for extra help. Many volunteers came by for an hour or more to help, looking high and low. Eventually Oscar made a call and Melanie Moore and Steven Heiter went to rescue our fledgling from a corner right next to a steep ramp to an underground parking! Melanie and I put him in our rescue box and took him to the Lynnwood Animal Hospital where he was carefully checked over by Dr Tracey Poulton, much to his dismay! Did I mention he had proven to be our quietest chicklet of all time? Well, we finally had proof that his lungs and vocal cords worked just fine! Although we had been told he might have suffered an injury to one foot, every part of him checked out as well and we took him back to the Crowne. Thanks to Stephen F, Odyssey made it home, where he stayed for the next 6 days! Talk about waiting, and waiting, and waiting.

Remember that I said earlier that we would se a change in Odyssey’s feeding habits? Almost immediately Connor jumped in and took over the feeding! Diana tried twice in a row to stop him from doing the actual feeding with no luck. She flew at Connor and hit him off the ledge, but Connor flew back and continued the feeding. Again, she tried and again, she lost out. After this, she watched. It was as if Connor said, “Hey, I have a son! I have responsibilities!” This may possibly stem from having taken over caring for Storm after Horizon disappeared from his life. As cute as it was to watch Connor tenderly feeding Odyssey, it was also a cause of concern that our chicklet was regressing a bit, or not yet ready for flight. And then, there was the foot injury. Soon it became apparent that he was limping, favouring his right foot. He took to putting his body weight on his left leg, propped up by his left wing, when at rest, which was often. However a rescue was not feasible as we knew his wings worked just fine. We could only watch and wait.

And then, he was off again! This time he flew over top of the Delta Office Tower and disappeared. Once again, we started to search, along with the help of others. This time we were alerted much sooner of his location. Sheena and Christianne of Delta Media saw him land and knew what and who they were looking at and called me. I went up to the 4th floor terrace where I saw him at the end, trying to jump up on the ledge. It was higher than his on the Crowne and he had to adjust his jump height. The 3rd jump was his best and he spent the rest of the day moving back and forth along the ledge. Interestingly, the colour of the Delta and the colour of Odyssey matched perfectly What great camouflage! Again, we left him tucked in a corner near a window for the night,hoping to see him there in the morning, and……. we did. A short time later, he flew over to the hotel side of the Delta.

During this time, I was often asked why his parents didn’t bring him food. There are 2 reasons for this. First of all, they didn’t know where he was. This is not unusual. The expectation is that flying will happen and when the cue to be fed is heard, they will bring food. Well, this brings the 2nd reason to play. Odyssey was the most quiet chicklet, too quiet for his own good. Although instinct tells a wild youngster to stay quiet to avoid attracting predators, it will keep this wild youngster from the care of his parents. It took him until the next day to finally use his voice to call his parents. This time it worked and soon Connor was flying circles overhead with food to entice his son upwards. However, it took until the next morning, for Odyssey to try flying. This time, he flew towards the Crowne, gaining height, but not enough. He made it as far as the 10th floor level, then headed for the Constitution Square, bounced off that and landed on the sidewalk. This next bit has no explanation. He then ran towards the street, flew at low level across the street and landed on the other sidewalk! Just in time for Chris Traynor to catch him! He and I immediately checked him out, all of him, to see just what was the injury to his foot. We found none and determined there might have been a strain to an upper leg muscle, perhaps inside where it was not evident. We also decided to return him to his home rather than subject him to another vet visit. This action was confirmed by Shaun Thompson, our area MNR Biologist.

So, now what? Do we have another 6 day wait? No. Third time’s the charm, as the saying goes, and he’s off again, this time to spend the night on the top of the Carlisle Building! He’s high where he should be, and high is where he has been ever since! We have seen him flying to various buildings, sometimes having us trotting up and down streets searching for him…….. We watched as he enjoyed life atop the Queen Elizabeth Towers, refusing to leave when both parents tried to make him leave right before a rain storm, preferring to eat his dinner right through the storm. He had not yet learned that if he wants to pull a piece of pigeon apart, he needs to hold it down first! We watched him make a sloppy but daring first landing on a very small part of the antenna on the QE!

And, now he really enjoys sitting way up on other antennas, just like his father, Connor. If you are downtown during the next few weeks, look up. You might see Odyssey way up high, sitting proudly, or flying with his parents. Very soon he will leave on migration and we will not see him again.

As for next year…

We have many people to thank, many who stopped by to check on Odyssey’s progress, many who came to offer assistance during searches, many whose names we will never know – Big Thank You to all of you! As well, Thank You to the volunteers who make this venture at all possible:

Marc d’Aoust
Marian Bird
Rosanne Bishop
Bill Bower
Diane Burns
Howard Campbell
Barbara Chouinard
John Clark
Marie Clausen
Joyce Colotelo
Suzanne Deschenes
Doreen Duchesne
Christine Grant
Claire Haas
Sara Herring
Mary Hurley
Robert Kirkham
Lene Kollgard
Bernie Ladouceur
Danielle Lamarche
Bonnie Mabee
Dick Mabee
Phil Maillard
Dominique Marshall
Elsa Marshall
Frank Marshall
Gillian Marston
Jordan Montoya
Lorraine Montoya
Melanie Moore
Elizabeth O’Driscoll
Jim O’Neil
Jorge Peral
David Petzold
Frank Pope
Dani Power
Nancy Scott
Langis Sirois
Jom Sutton
Eve Ticknor
Chris Traynor
Nancy Westran
Ashley Varsava
Gilles Vautour
Nick Zeis

And very important additional Thank Yous to:

  • Christina Lewis for our new logo
  • Ian Fisher, Yvon Morin, Cheryl Barrett and Security Staff of Constitution Square for Much support including permission to house our equipment, roof access and parking for the Coordinator, connections of 2 monitors for public viewing
  • Dr Tracey Poulin of Lynnwood Animal Hospital for an unscheduled examination of our chicklet
  • Alterna Savings Bank for allowing us space for our “base” and housing our sandwich board
  • Stephen Fumerton of Crowne Plaza Hotel for allowing us to conduct searches from the Penthouse and Terrace
  • Lisa Armstrong of Marriott Ottawa Hotel for allowing us to conduct searches from the Merlot
  • Oscar Poulin of Proserv Window cleaning for spotting Odyssey for our rescuers after a very long search
  • Sheena Pennie and Cristiane Doherty of DeltaMedia for calling in the location of Odyssey, and assistance to the Coordinator on their terrace
  • Bob Prankie of Morguard for assisting Coordinator with access to Canadian Association of Broadcasters terrace to check on Odyssey
  • Nat Leal of Delta Hotel for assistance to Coordinator in getting a closer look at Odyssey
  • Jane Breen for ongoing support and daily prayers
  • Cathi Harris of Transport Canada for observations during Watch
  • Bob Boisvert of Transport Canada for his many observations and ongoing photos following each stage of our falcon family
  • John Ayers of Queen Elizabeth Towers for his many observations and an important roof check
  • Sandy Garland of the Ottawa Field Naturalists’ Club for posting all our updates and photos on the OFNC website
  • The Canadian Peregrine Foundation for posting our updates and photos to their website.

2006 Local Activity Reports

December 18 [from Phil] — Yesterday at 2 pm, both Connor and Diana landed briefly on the east side of the Crowne, then flew off with Diana circling once around the hotel, then Connor joining her. They flew over Tower B, then both were flying close to the antenna on Tower C (they were both almost at a complete stop riding the thermals). They flew in front of the hotel a few times, then landed on the antenna of the Carlisle building. I don’t recall ever seeing both on that antenna at the same time. They both flew off and I watched Diana fly to the west where I lose sight of her and Connor. They are such magnificant fliers that it is always a thrill to watch them separately and, as I was lucky today, together, just enjoying each other’s company!

December 9 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Today Chris and Marie saw Connor atop the highest cross on the Russian Orthodox Church on Scott St. It must have been a lovely sight!

October 11 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — I had a call from Kathy Nihei this morning who realized that no one likely had called me. She was right. It seems that Odyssey has died! The bird was brought to her Oct 1st, having been hit by a car in Vanier. It was limping, favouring the right leg. Bev Bryant, a volunteer for Falcon Watch and the Wild Bird Care Centre, told Kathy of the same limp our Odyssey had during the Watch. That and the right age and being male was why Kathy, and Tracey Poulin, his surgeon, decided it most likely was Odyssey.

He had bad fractures of his right wing, fractures to both the radius and ulna. The MNR was called and the decision was to operate to fix the wing, and then to send him to Ray’s LIttle Reptiles and Raptors for educational purposes! He died during the surgery, on Oct 5th. The MNR will be coming by this week to pick up his body, which will go to Guelph for necropsy.

Although the bird could have been any juvenile passing through, I do think it is probably Odyssey. How unfortunate! A loss of a good flyer. He was underweight, around 500 gms, and I think he was probably chasing prey when he was hit.

At least for Diana, she had a successful nesting season and we hope she will again. She has not been seen for a while now, either due to exploring her new home or migration.

I should add that while this is sad for us, this is also not unusual. Being a great flyer is not the only thing a young peregrine needs to accomplish for survival. It also needs to know how to follow prey, as in looking where one is going at the same time as where the prey is going, and moving cars are a tough part of this. Remember, he was hatched a month later than our others, so had a bit less time to practice lessons before moving around on his own.

In spite of this event, the Falcon Watch was a success and we did make a difference, as we always do! We gave him a very good chance and it was up to him and nature once he left us.

See photos of Connor, Diana, and Odyssey on Bob Boisvert’s web site

September 9 [from Phil Maillard] — Around 12:30 I watched Connor and Diana flying west from the Crowne while Odyssey called from the west ledge. He soon stopped and just watched. A bit later, I saw Connor on the east side. It was nice to see all 3 today, especially Odyssey!

August 28 [from Suzanne Deschênes] — It looked like father and son in the sky over the farm between the Observatory and the Agriculture building at 2:00 pm today. They were doing figure 8s sometime together and then one would change directions and come toward the other like an aircraft fighter. They just climbed and climbed but there was no mistaken that “Kek” when they were at low altitude. I lost them in the clouds when they became just little specs in the sky and moved out toward the Fletcher Wildlife Garden and Carleton University.

August 14 [from Marian] — Just before 1:00 this afternoon I watch Diana as she plucked a fresh kill on the west side of the Crowne Plaza. Odyssey was right next to her watching with great interest. A few minutes later he disappeared inside the ledge maybe with some of the food. Diana continued plucking lunch. Odyssey reappeared – this time a little further down the ledge from Diana. He must have eaten his share quickly! I watched her for another 15 minutes. When I left, she was still plucking and eating. By this time, Odyssey was a little further back from the ledge (being his usual quiet self) and more difficult to see what he was doing. Connor was on the southeast corner.

August 7 [from Marian] — 8:00 this morning I saw Odyssey back on the northwest corner of the Crown Plaza, his favourite corner during the falcon watch. A parent was keeping watch from the southwest corner.

I could not always tell what he was doing when he was further back from the ledge. But every so often I would see him spreading his wings. He would come to the ledge briefly where I could see him more clearly with my binoculars. He seemed a bit restless, walking back and forth between the corner and the first column, spreading his wings every so often. Maybe getting ready to fly! When I left he was at the ledge preening.

August 4 [from Mary C. Hurley] — Wednesday evening, both before and during early mildish rain, Odyssey was perched on QE Towers antenna, one of the horizontal arms fairly high up. Don’t know how he fared in the after-dark heavy rain and high winds – was worried about him as it was pretty brutal.

Yesterday evening, at least 1830-1930, back on antenna, though on other side of vertical tower. Looking around, some preening, some calling, but no adult response that I could see.

This morning no sign of him on QE antenna.

Falcon high overhead as I walked down Slater between Bay and Lyon, probably Diana, unless she has taken to occupying Connor’s usual spot on west ledge, where another falcon was perched.

July 30 [from Mary C. Hurley] — What adventures Saturday! Last evening, around 6.30 pm, one of the adults flew from the west in an easterly direction over QE Towers area, calling loudly, circled around a bit before landing on the antenna of the Carlisle building. Connor or Diana (couldn’t tell which, even with scope) stayed there until just before 8 pm. Was the parent keeping watch on Odyssey back on the Carlisle roof?

[From Chris Traynor] — It is 8:20 pm. Do you know where your chicklet is? Well right now he is sitting almost at the top of the radio antenna on the Queen Elizabeth Towers. He is on the topmost crossbar looking quite comfortable. Maybe he takes after Connor with his love of antennas. I certainly don’t ever recall seeing a chicklet so high so soon. What a monkey!

July 29 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Ottawa – Day 14. What a day! Odyssey was on the Carlisle Building when we arrived this morning at 6 am and stayed there for hours. This was no surprise as he had kept us waiting for days on end between flights. This was a day when volunteers who were not on shift showed up at various times. It is amazing how some people “get the bug” and just have to keep on coming to find out the latest about our baby. And, Thank God they do!

He did his usual, popping up and down along the ledge, disappearing, reappearing, sleeping, eating, all that little fledglings do at this stage. Little did we know what he had in store for us. His new name is “Monkey”! Connor was busy defending the area from intruders like innocent crows! Diana checked on him, as did Connor. Gilles, Jim, Dave and Jorge and I took turns keeping an eye on our lofty chicklet. I was so pleased to learn that our Jorge is the engraver who did the peregrine stamp this year for the Canadian Postal Service! It is beautiful! I know since I bought one when it came out. We have so many interesting volunteers.

Shift change at 9 am brought us Mary, Marian, Lene, Christine and Steven. Actually, I am not sure just when the changeover took place as some stayed longer and some came earlier. Connor brought lunch and we expected a long nap – not so. Just before 2 pm, Odyssey took to the air and headed west. Nearly everyone ran, hoping to keep him in sight. So much for leaving at 1 pm for the new shift. Marian was the lucky one to spot him, high on the top of Queen Elizabeth Tower. An adult landed on the aerial just above him. As we were not sure if he was really there, I called John Ayres to see if he could see him as he lives in the next Tower. Little did I know that he would actually climb up the side of his building to have a look! And, yes, he did see him. Amazing that he did not become a victim of Connor.

Diana brought food to Odyssey. When he did not eat all of it, she took to feeding him, beak to beak! Really, Diana, he didn’t need spoiling now that he is a “big boy.” When he stopped before she was ready, she tore off a bone and followed him over to the edge where she shoved it in his beak. He appeared not to know what to do with it!

Did I mention rain? Odyssey was asked by his parents to move off the Tower before it rained. Of course, he didn’t listen. They landed beside him, flew over and around him, to no avail. So Connor sat on the antenna above him, while Diana was on the ledge not too far away. And the rain came. She flew to the nest ledge for cover. Connor stayed in the rain on his perch. And Odyssey, he ate his way through the storm! He tried to tear off a piece of his food, but forgot to stand on it while he did. He bit into it and all I saw were flapping wings and flailing feet. Seven times he tried but didn’t get the hang of it. No worry, he will eventually learn.

Nap time, right? Not! Suddenly he was in the air. Chris and Marie had left for dinner and Nancy Scott and I were watching. We started to follow but lost him. Then I saw him. He had landed part way up the huge aerial on the Queen Elizabeth Tower, a very difficult maneuver as it has many cables keeping it upright. He landed, with much screeching and flapping, on a small round end of an upright spoke! Wow! His wings were flopped over rods and he looked very awkward, but he had made it. We have never had a chicklet like him, and certainly never one who made this landing. It is obvious that his leg injury is not getting in his way.

And,then, he was off again. Nancy and I started running and searching again. Thankfully Chris and Marie joined us and we looked everywhere, hoping the adults would give us clues from their behavioiur. Never mind, we had Nancy, super sleuth. “There he is,” and sure enough, there he was, on the west side of the Minto building near the big Canada flag. Great – now we can relax. Once again, our chicklet had other ideas and he took off. After some looking, he made it back to the Queen Elizabeth Towers. And there we left him for the night. Monkey, indeed! He is trying to make up for the 6 days he made us wait.

And, now we realized, he did not need us anymore. He was up where he belonged and had shown us today that he was absolutely comfortable up there. Those appendages on either side have wonderful uses! The 2006 Falcon Watch is now officially over, although many volunteers will still be found downtown walking around, looking up and listening, hoping to catch a glimpse of our proud chicklet – or is it we who are proud?

I know I am, both of our little falcon, of his parents who are so attentive and ready to teach him so much, and of our volunteers who gave of themselves time and time again. We made new friends and reaffirmed our connections with long-time friends. Our little chicklet would not be where he is today without our volunteer crew. Know that you made that difference!

I will be putting together my final report over the next few weeks, along with a lengthy list of people to thank. Right now, a shower and sleep come to mind. THANK YOU!! And, God bless each of you for your support and contributions to our efforts!

July 28 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Ottawa – Day 13. Whoever said 13 is an unlucky number never met Odyssey!

Although he was on the Delta this morning, he didn’t want to stay away from home any longer. He called his parents over and over but no luck, though he saw Connor fly over him once. He flapped from one end of the ledge to the other. Finally he simply took off and flew toward home, with us on the run, especially fleet-footed Chris! Odyssey started to gain height as he went, but not enough. It is a very steep climb for a little one near to the ground as he was. He then veered toward Constitution Square and gently hit the side at about the 10th floor level (not bad, eh?). He landed on the sidewalk. Ok! However, this bird has a different take on logic than most of us. He decided to cross the road to the other sidewalk. He ran a few steps, took to wing (not at all high), and landed on the other sidewalk where Chris was ready for him! Thank goodness the buses were still at the end of the block.

We examined him and determined that there was no injury to his foot and maybe it was a strained muscle in his leg. We decided to return him home as his wings were strong and he had enough stress for this trip. Another trip in the elevator. Maybe that is where he was headed when he crossed the street! While waiting for the door to be unlocked, I gave him some water. He seemed to like that, but then vocalized loudly for MEAT.

Once we were back on the ground, we saw him plop down for a sleep, tail out and wing tips upwards (T-bird style). Diana soon came with a pigeon but he saw nothing. Then he suddenly saw her and, WOW, he was off like a shot, all appendages and body parts moving fast, each in a different direction, and screaming all the way. He reached his mother, grabbed the food and disappeared inside the ledge, leaving Diana rather stupified! 10 minutes later, he was up on the ledge, his crop so full that he was in danger of falling forward! Back to sleep.

The rest of his day was spent alternating between sleeping and calling for his parents, who prudently stayed mostly out of sight. No dummies there.

The fun comes when I go home, early for a rare time. According to Chris and Suzanne, he flew to the Delta and out of sight until someone went to the penthouse of the Crowne Plaza Hotel and saw him on the roof! Yea! He then flew off again, intercepted by Connor and Diana and maybe directed toward the Carlisle Building on Laurier, and there he was when everyone left for home. Our little Odyssey is living up to his name, and is now up high where he belongs! This is what we have been waiting for and some will sleep better tonight knowing he is aloft. I can’t wait to see him there in the morning!

If there is any more to this story, I’ll fill you in tomorrow, or come by and see for yourselves.

July 27 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Ottawa – Day 12. Could be called “Life on the Ledge,” for that is where Odyssey spent the day! He was tucked in by a window when we arrived. Given the light rain, that was about the best protection he could find, but he got his first taste of the wet today! We did share in his discomfort this morning, of course. Eventually, after the rain stopped and the temperature began to rise, he started out along the ledge from one end to the other and back again, with rest stops between forays.

He was so cute when he lay down for a sleep at the end of the ledge! His tail hung down over the end and the ends of his wings stuck up like fins on cars from “yesteryear.” I suspect he didn’t get much sleep last night, his first away from home. Soon he was up again, and very restless. Sure enough, he flew over to another ledge, this time over the door to the Delta Hotel. It was at the same level as where he just had been but the flight and landing were good.

Adrian stopped by with fantastic photos of Odyssey! And, Nat of the Delta crew invited me up to an empty room for a view of Odyssey that I didn’t expect – he was right outside the window! I checked out his feet, especially his right one. I couldn’t see anything wrong. He had all his toes and none were swollen. I took photos for our biologist to be sure [see Eve’s photos below]. I think he may have strained or sprained his foot or a joint. He was moving faster today with his hop-flap way of traveling along!

By mid-afternoon he was finally calling! Silent Sam was losing his reputation! And the best part is that Connor heard him and responded! Connor had earlier retrieved some food from his cache and had been waiting on the nest ledge for some sign of his son. Well, he got it and soon could be seen flying around and around overhead with food in his talon, trying to entice Odyssey to fly up higher. It didn’t work this time as Odyssey was last seen still on the same ledge at the end of the day. I am sure Connor will try again to convince him to try to fly upward tomorrow. It is so nice to know that our little bird is a bit less lonely now.

As for us, tomorrow comes quickly! We had a few volunteers show up extra to their shifts to see if we needed help, and to check in with Odyssey! We have been educating many people today about falcons, especially our own. I will never cease to be amazed at all the people who live and work in the area who still do not know about our falcon family who have been right next to them for 10 years. Someone commented on all the wildlife in the city and why didn’t they see it before today. ARRRRRGGGGHHHH!! I am glad a few are now on their way daily with a totally different viewpoint about their world. We had a few very nice compliments about the good we are doing, which makes it all worthwhile. cheers to everyone!


July 26 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Ottawa – Day 11. Flight #3! We started out as usual, watching Odyssey up on the ledge. When I arrived, he was on the southwest corner. He spent much of the morning preening. I realized he was more restless than yesterday and wondered if the urge to fly had suddenly come back to him.

He was brought food around noon. This time it was dropped to him and the adult flew to another part of the ledge. We didn’t see what he did as he was inside the ledge and out of sight for the monitor. Soon he hopped back up on the ledge.

Around 1 pm, I was watching him, as were the other volunteers who were positioned around the area. Sure enough, without any preparation, or notice to us, he was off! He flew in a northwesterly direction, over the Delta and out of sight, of course! We all ran to that area and searched high and low for him, hoping that he had not met with death. I received a phone call that he was on the Delta – Office Tower! Sheena Pennie, of Deltamedia saw him land on the terrace outside her office. She and Cristiane Doherty, called me up to their office and out on their terrace to see him. The call said, “You may think I am crazy but I think I have your bird up here and he is limping.” Of course I didn’t think she was crazy. It was Odyssey! As I watched him for a while, I could see the limp, which we had been seeing for a few days. He did stand on both feet rather well but limped when he moved along the ledge. First he had to get up to the ledge and that was higher than the one on the Crowne, so it took 3 tries to jump there, but jump he did. After watching him, I decided to go on the ledge below him for a bit better view. I was trying to see his right foot without alarming him. Bob Prankie of Morguard took me there, to the offices of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, where I was allowed to go on their terrace. I did get closer to him but he had changed position and I couldn’t see his foot. I decided to go to street level as that was where the need would be when he flew again.

Word was spread and helpful volunteers started to show up to keep watch. We have a core of wonderful volunteers who come, aside from their shifts, ready to stand on sidewalks for hours on end in the sun, to sign up for more shifts, to help in any way they can, and I am eternally grateful for them! We also have some very new volunteers who arrived for the first time and have found themselves explaining to the police that they are really ok and “Would you like to see our falcon?” Bless you, too! All of you make such a difference at a time like this.

From now on, we will mostly be in positions where we can see Odyssey, or nearly, and ready to run if he decides to fly elsewhere, just in case he comes down and needs to be rescued again. If he does, he will go into the rescue box and transported to medical assistance for his foot. If he does not come down, we hope he will gain height with each flight!

His parents have now started looking for him, and “Silent Sam” is not going to call them. Not only is he quiet by nature, aside from visits to the doc, instinct will tell him to stay quiet so as not to alert a predator. It will be up to him to get higher, or to break his code of silence to alert his parents. For now it looks as if he will spend the night on the Delta.

July 25 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Ottawa – Day 10. Our little Odyssey is showing no signs yet of taking his next flight! It has been 5 days since his last and we are getting a bit concerned. He is not making mad bouts of wing-flapping on the ledge, or off, which he should be doing now. He is definitely favouring his right foot and I, and others, have seen him using his left wing and occasionally his tail, as a prop.

This evening I was watching him on the monitor, which is much clearer with the sunlight shining on the west side. He looked better than earlier, when he looked like a little Buddha sitting on the back of the upper ledge. Maybe he reacts better to late the afternoon sun. Unfortunately it isn’t urging him to fly any better.

He has been fed several times today, each followed by inactivity, no surprise there! Connor is still doing the lion’s share of the feedings. This afternoon, Diana landed on the southwest corner, vocalizing as she arrived and continued doing so for the next 15 minutes, non-stop. It was obviously directed toward Connor! When he did not react, she flew to another section of the ledge, this time between Connor and Odyssey, and again vocalized at Connor! I wondered if she is getting frustrated with Odyssey’s inactivity and blaming Connor. She is much more laid back than Horizon and it seems as if Connor is taking charge this year. Her instincts, while not honed, are telling her that she should be in charge, not her mate. However, she does not yet show the strength of character of her predecessor and has not made her position clear to him.

After “yelling” at Connor, she dangled a piece of meat in her beak, dropped it on the ledge and dangled it again. She appeared to be showing it to Odyssey as if to say fly and get this. He didn’t, of course!

We saw Diana bring in a pigeon this morning from the west. As she arrived, Connor flew over to take it from her but she was not letting go, so he grabbed a piece of it and flew to feed Odyssey anyway! He continues to amaze us with his parental attentions, so different from all the past years, including the first part of this year. I think some of this may stem from taking over as caregiver for Storm last year after Horizon’s accident.

We get to see all sorts of people passing by, especially with all the hotels around here. Well, tonight there is some sort of Marilyn Monroe Convention at the Crowne. A flock of them walked past to go to a restaurant here. Definitely birds of a different feather!

He does seem a bit perkier this evening. Maybe he revels in the spotlight (sunlight) that hits his ledge in the early evening.

Steven Heiter’s recollections from the 5-9 pm shift Friday 25 July: Little activity of any note took place up until about 7:30pm, at which point Oddyssey took flight from the Southwest corner of the Crown Plaza. It appeared that he hadn’t intended to go far, as he made a couple of attempts to get back to the ledge. He was not losing too much altitude, but was not very coordinated at getting landed. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts he turned away to the Northwest and launched into a beautiful glide. within a couple of seconds of being away from the Crown Plaza he was joined by one of the adults (I believe it was Connor, but can’t say definitively). They flew together out of my sightline over the Delta Hotel, high enough to be clear of the highest part of the building. All of the volunteers launched into pursuit, and after 15 or so minutes of search Oddyssey was located on top of the Delta. I believe it was Chris who located him. In the meantime, both of the adults were very evident, with Diana appearing at the Crown Plaza with prey (looked like a pigeon). A few minutes passed, long enough for all the volunteers to regain their composure. By then, I had returned to the “Base Camp” where John the new guy was holding the fort. About 8:30pm Chris announced that Oddyssey had taken flight again, heading South from the top of the Delta. Seconds later, both Connor and Diana joined Oddyssey swirling directly over our heads. Diana attempted unsuccessfully to pass her prey to Oddyssey, then peeled away back to the Crown Plaza ledge. Connor and Oddyssey continued Southwards, gaining altitude and heading towards the Minto Hotel building.

Oddyssey fluttered against the West face of the Minto near the top, then fell away and recovered in flight, still being accompanied by Connor. together, they circled West around the new building under construction, circled Southwards around it and disappeared from view. Connor reappeared circling above the Minto Hotel building. He flew back and forth for half a minute and settled on the bracket on the Northwest corner of the roof. At that time Oddyssey was not visible. As other volunteers approached from the North, I took off on my bike and did a square around the block of the Minto Hotel. When I got to the Southwest corner of the Minto, I could see Connor in the same place, and I could hear Oddyssey, but not see him. I joined the other volunteers at the corner of Slater and Lyon, from where we searched the ledges. After a couple of minutes I spotted Odyssey on the ledge of the Carlisle (Minto Business) Building. Shortly after, just before 9pm, Diana flew from the Crown Plaza with food and dropped it at the opposite end of the ledge panel from Oddyssey. He got up onto the panel and walked down to harass Diana, who flew back and forth to avoid him, finally almost pushing Oddyssey off. Finally she returned to the Crown Plaza. It being Just after 9pm, Chris declared the shift closed, as Oddyssey seemed settled for the night with access to food and both parents in proximity.

July 24 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Ottawa – Day 9. How time flies when we are having fun, not! Waiting is a hard game for many of us. We are eager to see Odyssey fly, and at the same time we are fearful of the outcome.

He is still up on his ledge. He had breakfast fed to him by Diana and Connor (not at the same time), then was observed pulling a bit of meat off bones by himself, so maybe he is finally getting it. He does wing-flaps once in a while and naps a lot. Now and then he does a wing-wave, probably feeling the wind.

There has been some question of a possible injury to his right foot. John Ayres has been calling in his reports from his lofty perch in the Queen Elizabeth Towers. He observed that Odyssey has been favouring his right foot, which concurs with some of our sightings, but John has a better level to see than ours as we are below and miss some of what Odyssey is doing. We are, of course, guessing as to the nature of this, such as stepping on some of the debris up on the ledge and getting a cut, a splinter, a bruise. We can only guess and keep our fingers crossed. Lorraine thinks I should go on the roof of Constitution Square to check on Odyssey and having the adults after me will provide some entertainment! I think not!

We have had passersby comment on Connor choosing to perch on the ledge with his back out, so he is facing inwards. “He can’t see anything that way.” He proved again that no matter where he is, he can be ready in a minute! He suddenly jumped off and flew rapidly in a westerly direction, calling warnings all the way. We saw that he was after – another Osprey! He flew around it several times and escorted it away from his family.

Our adults have spent time away and often we cannot see them. Gilles saw both on the antenna of Queen Elizabeth Towers this afternoon, so they are still in sight of their offspring. They could be back here in seconds!

While waiting, we get to watch House Sparrow families with cute fledglings, still with yellow gaping mouths, begging from anyone including older fledglings. There is a wall next to us with a pipe that has a tiny hole that lets out 1 drop of water at a time. Just enough for a sparrow to drink. They flutter and cling to the wall, each taking a turn at the “fountain.” Nearby we get a crow family with teenage voices. They come by in early afternoon for a short while, then fly off, youngsters in hot pursuit of 1 or both parents! Then there is the leaping squirrel, flying off a low roof to grab a leafy branch. Yesterday it just grabbed it by 1 paw; today it missed altogether!

Back to Peregrines. A couple came by to tell us of a pair in London, and we now have a copy of an article of fledglings near Manchester, England from a volunteer. Now if Odyssey could see that, maybe he could get some incentive. He has been moving along the ledge this evening, occasionally slipping his right foot nearly off the edge.

Why walk when you can fly? We try sending these thoughts aloft!

July 23 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Ottawa – Day 8. This seems like the slowest Watch we have had! This little guy has, once again, spent the day almost in the same spot! He shows the least amount of spirit of all chicklets we have had.

Connor is still doing the “Dad” bit. He flew out around 7 a.m. and chased a pigeon, with success, right down Albert St, heading east. He brought it back to the east side to start plucking it. Diana flew over to get it and they tore it in half. Connor brought his half to Odyssey, but ate some first. After dining, he then had a 4-hour nap! We decided that sleeping and twitching don’t count as exercise. I still do not see the amount of wing-flapping that should be happening.

Around 9 am, Connor took off with a warning call. He escorted a Turkey Vulture out of the area! What a defender! His son slept on, and on, and on. He did not get fed until 8 pm, though he could be seen picking at something near him. It was Connor who fed him. Diana seems more laid back, and out of our sight for long periods of time. Apparently she and/or Connor have not helped their chicklet learn to feed himself. Usually by this time in their lives, they have learned this. Of course, most of ours have not been “only” children, but have had someone to play with and to fight over food. Solitiare was our most recent single and she had more character. Of course, she was female! She did have spells of 2 days between flights, but the flights we saw were strong and steady. Odyssey has not yet shown us what he can do, and we are, of course, anxious to see this!

Shortly before 5, there were some minor wing-flapping and stretching bits. We spent much of today looking through the scope and binoculars at his cute little face. He is developing rapidly, losing most of his down. He looked very funny at one time from picking at the down. He had down feathers all over his face!

This evening there was more activity at last! The sunset must have been beautiful as we were getting lovely lavenders and pinks on some of the buildings. Suddenly Odyssey’s ledge was all lit up as if there was a spotlight on him! He started flapping and running north along the ledge, disappearing inside at times, then coming back out. We all got ready to run, stationing some of us on either side of the ledge, and then… he stopped, turned back a bit, and stopped altogether! ARRGGGGHHHHH!

Once again we left with Odyssey on the ledge, and us on the edge! Will tomorrow with all its rush hour traffic and forecast rains get him started? Or will he stay at home?

July 22 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Ottawa – Day 7. Well, for a day that started out rather dully, we had a better afternoon. No, no flying yet.

Connor snacked on a bit more of the budgie this morning, and gave the last bit (we think) to his son this afternoon. We never knew a budgie could last that long! Mostly everyone rested today. We didn’t see Odyssey until 8:30, when he showed himself up on the southwest corner. Being quiet was not anything new for him. He looked all around, sometimes going inside but mostly staying on the ledge.

Odyssey seems not to have had much in the way of self-feeding lessons! We have seen Diana feeding him. I seem to remember the other chicklets having to tear their own meat after a bird, or small piece, would be dropped in by a departing parent. This one has been seen doing a little of it once in a rather long while.

Around 2:30 Diana teased Odyssey with food, first by feeding him a little and flying over to Tower 1 with the rest, then feeding again and flying it past him. It didn’t work! The best was yet to come.

Odyssey was crying a lot this time, though not loud enough for us to hear clearly. Connor apparently was concerned as he found something in the south cache and brought it to Odyssey. The surprise was Connor feeding his chicklet, and continuing to do so in spite of Diana’s attempts to disuade him! Twice she jumped him and he flew out and around and back to Odyssey to continue feeding him. Diana gave up and allowed this. It was 4:45 by the time everyone was ready to rest!

Connor has not spent such time with any of his offspring, except for Storm after Horizon was euthanized. It was wonderful to see, especially to see him defying Diana. Just before 9 pm, Odyssey again got a meal, a really big one! That should keep him at home tonight!

Needless to say, Odyssey has not flown today. Yesterday’s shock was stressful enough. However, he may well try his wings again tomorrow. Better on a Sunday than to start again in traffic on Monday. Let’s hope he can get a bit of flying in before that!

July 21 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Ottawa – Day 6. Amazing what 6 days mean in our lives now! Our baby is not a baby anymore. He has taken his first flight, and his second. He has also met humans face to face and finds us not a pleasant prospect!

Some of us arrived between 5:30 and 6 am to find Odyssey nowhere! What a way to start out our day. We spent the next 7 hours searching for a bird that ended up being right under our noses. I know some of you in London and Hamilton can attest to that.

I sent volunteers out in different directions to search streets, balconies, ledges, walls, trees, etc., while Melanie and I took care of rooftops and high spots. She went up into the penthouse level of the Crowne Plaza for a panoramic view of the area and checked down on all roofs nearby as well as ledges, including the one Odyssey spent the night on. At least we think he stayed there all night. As she couldn’t see all of the ledges, she then went on the roof of Tower 2, Constitution Square to check things out from a different direction. Still no luck. I did the rounds (literally) in the Merlot, the Marriott’s revolving restaurant. Thank goodness it was not moving while I was there. Lisa Armstrong of the Marriott was very helpful, having done this with me in the past.

The Minto was not as welcoming, though. Melanie checked out the tops and wells on Place de Ville Towers A & B. I had a call to check an area across from the Constitution Square, with no luck. Melanie had a similar call a bit later. Steve had just arrived and I told him he had to find Odyssey, and he and Melanie went off to check out the call, Sure enough, they found him, thanks to Oscar. He was on an area right above the entrance to an underground parking lot – on a tiny ledge over the ramp! One slip and he would not have survived!

She and I put him in our rescue box (thank you Mr Bill!) and we took him out to the Lynnwood Animal Hospital. They are so obliging there, putting us in before others so we could care for our fledgling and get him back home. Remember I said he has been the quietest chicklet of all we have had? Well, he made up for it during his examination! His lungs are just fine, thank you! Melanie held him while Dr Tracey Poulin checked him out very carefully. A clean bill of health. He weighed in at 601 grams, male for sure, though I’ve had no doubts of that for some time. He was a little under par, not having been fed for many hours.

On our return, we took him into the Crowne for his return upstairs. Stephen Fumerton at the desk was ever so helpful and soon we were headed upstairs where we were met by a man who unlocked doors for us. Connor and Diana were right by the door when we put their son out. All was very quiet again. I am sure we had a very tired little chicklet after such adventures. After resting for a while, Connor went hunting and brought home dinner to his son, a green Budgie!!! Though Odyssey mantled it and started, he didn’t eat it and we think he was too tired. I am sure he will later.

Let’s hope that when he takes his next flight, he tells us where he’s going! We had many people asking about him and some came to help, not all volunteers. It is so nice to know others see what a difference our group can make in the lives of our falcons, and in our city. I have seen changes on some who never would have paid attention to any kind of wildlife in a city. Now they are interested, look forward to seeing us, and get interested in other forms of wildlife, too.

Day 7 is coming up fast. I know the Bible says it is a day of rest, but Peregrines do not know that. See you at 6 am, yawnnnnnn.

July 20 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Ottawa – Day 5. ODYSSEY HAS FLEDGED!!

First our update. Our chicklet is 36 days old today. We are in a holding pattern, waiting for the launch, hoping it won’t be until the weekend (less traffic), encouraging it to exercise more, and remembering to breathe when it does wing flapping on the outside of the ledge!

You would think we would get used to this and relax more, but I find each year it is as if we start again. Each chicklet is different, their exercising is different and their launching is different. So, once again, we go through the same agonies, just as if we were the ones preparing to jump!

Breakfast was served first thing today, so there was a period for rest after. Our chicklet was again on the north end, on the edge. He would go inside for a rest, to pick at something, to preen, to nap. Suddenly, he was on the outside peering over the edge, toes hanging over. What he is standing on is metal flashing, slippery to my mind. Next came a bout of wing-flapping and he turned a bit at a time while flapping! That is always where we stop breathing, new volunteers scream, “He is slipping, he is going, oh no”! and we “old hands” try to look nonchalant and tell them nothing is going to happen yet. Relax.

Much of today was quiet, as before. We are now taking up another station on the side of the Crowne where our chicklet is, then having to change sides as he moves to the other end. Tere is a monitor in the lobby of Constitution Square and we check it from time to time to see where our little, or not-so-little, one is. We can also locate the chick when Connor is on the ledge, since he will not let a chicklet get more than a foot from him, but will immediately fly to another part of the ledge. This is due to being punched off the ledge when Solitaire was being raised. Somehow being hit by your bigger-than-you daughter isn’t much fun.

Heat is building up and that may be why there is less activity from our falcons, aside from normal rests. We are due for another thunderstorm. The wind helps some.

Connor did bring his son some unknown food later on. Diana has shown herself to be an absentee mother, keeping sort of out of sight for long periods of time. Today she hung out on a sensor on Tower C, then over to sit in the north cache. She likes to sit on those projections much more than her predecessor did.

I was thinking of Horizon today, a year after we lost her. We find ourselves comparing her with Diana, where she had favourite perches, her interaction with Connor, her general behaviour and periods of absence. It feels as if Horizon is giving Diana tips on keeping Connor in line, and reminding her to bring in pigeons as Connor seems to bring only small birds. Some of us have to think twice before saying Diana as we are automatically starting to say Horizon!

Christine showed up all of a sudden with a soggy plastic bag bundle which she asked me to take to the Wild Bird Care Centre for her. It was a pigeon that 2 people rescued from the canal. They saw it flailing around in the water and got it out. While she called them to say I wouldn’t be there before closing, I packed my things and left with this soggy bird in my lunch bag! Fortunately by the time I got there, it had begun to pick up. I left it there, sitting in a topless aquarium under a heat lamp. Talk about a bad hair day!

Then I was off to friends for dinner. Thank goodness they are understanding as I received THE phone call while on my way. They hustled dinner for me after which I left to join the few volunteers watching our chicklet.

He left the southern end of his ledge of the Crowne Plaza Hotel around 5:30 pm and had a short, slightly rocky (windy) flight to a ledge on the Constitution Square Tower 1. He landed about 2 levels up from the street. It is a small square covered with gravel and with windows on 2 sides. He took exception the other bird sharing his new ledge.

Eventually he moved to the outside corner where volunteers could see him from across the street. Diana brought him something to eat. She flew around to Tower C for a bit, coming back once or twice to check on him. When we all left, after 9 pm, it was getting dark and he was still there. We’ll see where he is in the morning.

As for his name, His mother is named after a Goddess, Diana the Huntress, so Odyssey is appropriate for her first child. Phil Maillard, who suggested this name, was also thinking of a long trip, such as the Ancient Greek, Homer, made. And so, our little Odyssey has begun his long trip in life and we will hope that his name will bring him good luck and long life!

Thank you to all who sent in name suggestions! They were well appreciated. There is always next year.

July 19 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Ottawa – Day 4. Cool enough this morning to wear sweaters or jackets! This makes a nice change for us. Hot coffee and tea was in order by the first shift. Melanie got a very nice breakfast from the Sconewitch next to us. The rest of us were in danger of drooling! On to the falcons.

We, or rather they, had a quiet day for the most part. We keep remarking on how quiet and calm our little one is proving to be. There were several times when we had all 3 peregrines in sight on the ledge. I had fun trying to see if the volunteers could tell which adult they were looking at, or which was which when they were close together but with each facing in a different directions so the volunteers couldn’t see all of each one. As both have similar colouring, it can be hard at times.

Chicklet did a little wing flapping where we could see. He still prefers to get down inside the ledge to run to the other end, though he does do flap-hopping on the upper ledge at times. I wish he would do more of it where we can see, so I know he is getting stronger.

Feeding is sparse today. There were several times Connor would do the Daddy thing and bring his son something to eat. Unfortunately he would first fly into the middle of the ledge and come out with something, usually what looked to be a leftover denuded wingbone. Then he would take it to the end, drop it in front of the chicklet, and fly away. Of course, his child would figure that out in short order and be back on the ledge in no time, still hungry. I am used to past chicklets who would spend much time screaming for food, especially when they saw the adults. This one cries out but if there is no reaction, he stops!

He has found out that Connor likes to sit on the southeast corner of the hotel and has been found today next to the wall of his ledge, peeking around the wall at his father with toes at the edge, followed by mad flapping right at the edge! We have now started to have 1 or 2 volunteers standing near whichever end that the chicklet is on, just in case.

Around 11 am, we watched as 5 Turkey Vultures soared around in circles overhead while moving eastward. They must have been high enough, or Connor is getting old, as he didn’t go chase them away as I have seen him do in the past. Later in the afternoon, there was a noisy gull flying around just below the ledge level. Connor did peel off the ledge and flew around, just like the gull. Then Diana joined him. As she did so, suddenly he went after something in the air making a shallow dive over the parking lot across the street, but missed whatever it was. Then they both flew toward the river and out of sight.

It is now around 7 pm and all is very quiet. Diana has been away for some time and her baby is obviously hoping she will bring dinner as he, equally as obviously has decided not to rely on his father! Funny thing, that. Clear skies,, cool evening. Will tomorrow bring renewed activity for our youngster?

Of course, just as I was thinking of leaving, Diana flies in with a pigeon and lands on the Delta, nearby, and proceeds to pluck it, feathers all over the place, and then to eat some of it. We are now waiting for her to take the rest of it to her chicklet, whose father is suddenly right there, maybe to help eat it? After 40 minutes, she stopped and looked around. Right then, Connor had had enough and flew over to her and she left with food just as he reached her! She flew up to the ledge with something and disappeared inside after waiting for her crying chicklet to run down to her. Of course, Connor was seen eating as fast as he could! Diana flew away and in 1 or 2 minutes, the chicklet was sitting out on the ledge again. Did he eat that fast? Not even his father could accomplish that. Stay tuned!

July 18 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Ottawa – Day 3. I am so glad it cooled down today! It must have been rather disturbing for our chicklet to spend a night with the thunderstorm we had, with all the lightening so close. I remember thinking that about Solitaire who was faced, quite literally, with July 1st fireworks when she spent a night on Tower B’s north side.

We have not had much excitement today but our little guy is progressing quite well, shedding much of his down and doing his exercises. He seems to be well-behaved and relatively quiet, unlike most of our previous chicklets. It is quite refreshing! He will cry out if he sees an adult coming in, but if it continues, he stops and waits. Today he did a new thing. He went to the southwest corner and then to the wall and peeked around it to see his parent on the southeast corner!

This morning both adults became agitated and gave warning sounds. Connor took up a post at the southwest corner while Diana flew to the northwest corner of Constitution Square. Two men were taking down the huge Canadian flag on that building. Everyone soon calmed down. A little after 7 am, Diana took food to our chicklet, now on the corner vacated by his father and we got to watch her feed bits to her son. It is the first time we saw her do that. She did it again this evening.

I did say son. I have been watching all of them and was leaning towards male. Then I saw the size difference when Diana was feeding him. The London crew asked for a male in Ottawa to balance out their Pinks and now we seem to have obliged. Of course, if this one decides to grow more, we will have to revise our thinking.

By the way, my little Downy Woodpecker of last night, is at the Wild Bird Care Centre and doing just fine. X-rays showed it may have had a minor collision with a car as it had a bit of injury near its spine but no permanent damage. Other than lots of rehydrating and feeding, it is recovering and may be released in a day or 2.

Our day ended quietly with chicklet on the ledge and his parents nearby. It has been so nice to see many of our friends stopping by, especially those living in the area who follow the tales of our family from year to year! We make new ones each year and I am still surprised to find people living very close to the Crowne who still have no idea there are falcons as neighbours! How great the feeling of spreading the word!

July 17 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Ottawa – Day 2. What a hot, sultry day! It seems as if this weather is made just for us.

When I arrived at 6 this morning, our chicklet was already on the ledge, near the southwest corner, facing outward. It was patiently waiting for breakfast, a good thing as that meal was not delivered until after 11 by Connor, and it was the size of a Starling! Just a nibble for a developing chicklet! I did see Diana try for a pigeon but just missed it as it dived into some hole on a roof.

Connor and Diana each had turns on the Bradson Tower antenna, and once on Tower C antenna. Much of today the adults were out of sight somewhere, for long periods of time, singly or together. I suspect it was too hot to stay at home and no one, including their baby, was inclined to much activity. Our chicklet has spent a lot of time preening and picking out all those itchy down feathers. It appears to be comfortable with the ledge, even walking along outside the columns as it would go from one end to the other and eventually back again.

Unfortunately Diana picked a bad time for nesting. Being late, many volunteers are on holidays or unreachable and our shifts are rather bare! I have spent much of today on my own, not a problem while our munchkin is not airborn. When I have had volunteers today, they have been great! One young man, Frank, is very good at talking to people, keeping track of what the falcons are doing, and scribing for our log!

I have spent some time trying to watch our youngster and rarely see all of it at a time, especially with an adult for size comparison. Nevertheless, I am leaning to a male. It looks more like Connor’s size and has been doing more wing flapping and moving around with confidence than I would expect a female to do at this age. I will keep on and sooner or later we will have a better comparison.

Around 3:40 this afternoon, Diana flew onto the southeast corner of the Crowne with a pigeon. She spent a lot of time plucking it and eating lots before she finally flew around and gave it to her baby. This one does not seem to spend as much time napping as Solitaire, our other “only child” did, nor do the adults seem to bring in as much food as they did for her. Once in a while when one of us can go see the monitor, we can see the chicklet standing inside the ledge with its wings open, hot like we are!

In closing, a few notes of interest not falcon-related. A tour bus from the states drove around the block here early this morning and went around again 2 more times. It was empty and the front, that usually says where it is going to, had the following: “I am lost. do not follow me.” It still did that this evening with lots of people inside it. Also, I was asked to help a woodpecker yesterday that had been seen lying on the sidewalk. However when I got there, it was gone. I looked everywhere but no luck. Well, tonight a passerby asked whether we helped other birds and pointed to the street right in front of us and there was the woodpecker! I rushed out and grabbed it before it could be run over! It is a male and possible a recently fledged one, or a sick one. It didn’t try to fly, although it struggled a bit in my hand while Nancy went to get a Tim Horton’s Timbit box for it. I gave it some more water and closed up the box (plenty of air) for it to rest in relative darkness. I’ll take it to the Wild Bird Care Centre later.

July 16 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Well, here we are – Day 1 of this year’s Falcon Watch! We have only 1 chick to look after this year, which is just as well as we are sorely short of volunteers. Diana was much later nesting than Horizon and we have found many of our volunteers on holidays, or on different schedules. I am already contemplating hanging a hammock in the trees down here!

We have had several opportunities to watch Diana and Connor flying around, making it look so effortless. Melanie and Phil joined me at 6 am for first watch. That was the only time of day that was close to being cool! City streets are good for trapping heat. I hoped that life on the ledge was cooler. Our chicklet could be seen from time to time running and flapping along the length of the hotel, on the inside of the ledge. We could see this on the monitors on the ground floor of Constitution Square. They have been quite helpful in monitoring the development of our baby.

Suddenly a fuzzy white head popped up on the northwest corner very briefly and disappeared again! Our first view of it, and its first view of a larger world. All was quiet for a while again. This afternoon was a different story. Our brave little chicklet of 32 days, decided to spend most of the afternoon and evening on the upper ledge! It even moved down the whole length, ending up at the southwest corner. Granted, some of this was done from the inside, but done nevertheless. Everytime it saw a parent, we could hear the screams for food! Typical child. This is probably the earliest any of our chicklets have shown themselves on the upper ledge, and to seem so comfortable there! We did see some wing flaps in the evening.

At one point both parents peeled off the ledge giving their gravelly warning sound. I knew it was either someone on the roof nearby or another bird in the area. Sure enough, it was an Osprey, merely floating overhead. It wasn’t attacked, but was escorted on its way. At another time, Connor gave the same service to a Ring-billed Gull, who screamed all the way! He has proven his guard-keeping abilities!

It was good to see “old” friends come by to greet us and get updates. Jane brought me a book on St Francis, copies of my past news articles and a nice donation! She always says a prayer daily for our peregrines, so we are in good hands. Others stopped to chat and get looks through our scopes, and then came back later for more. Can’t get enough of our lovely falcons!

Diana finally brought the last meal of the day, a dark pigeon. Chicklet had been screaming every time a parent passed by without dropping off dinner. True to form, Connor arrived to try to steal some. Diana came back and took it from him. She plucked it more and redelivered it to her child. I have the feeling that she may not have prepared it enough for it, learning as she goes. She is proving to be a good mother and I could swear Horizon is looking over my shoulder, giving Diana tips from afar. Thank you, my girl. You are not forgotten!

Toward the end of our first day, Connor spent some time flying around the antenna on Tower C, apparently keeping an eye on a flock of about 40 birds swirling around above him. As far as I can tell, they were Purple Martins, not a flock I have ever seen there before. Perhaps there was some hatch of insects over the river.

And so ended our first day. We are hot, tired, and so happy to have spent a day in what feels like home again.

July 13 [from Phil Maillard at 7 p.m.] — After I watched the monitor in Tower 2 for about 20 minutes, Diana flew in and started moving around in the nest area. She picked at some leftovers and didn’t stay very long. The little one then started moving around. He/she is getting quite big now and is starting to show quite a bit of brown coloring on its back. As it walked around the nest area it started flapping its wings!! That was really exciting to see. It moved out of camera range toward the northwest corner.

Connor landed on the northwest corner, but stayed only about 10 seconds before flying off and disappearing around the Marriott Hotel. A minute or so later, I could see both Connor and Diana flying around the Crowne Plaza very close to each other. They were magnificant to watch as they circled the hotel twice! Conner then landed on the southeast corner and Diana on the southwest side. She was vocalizing a lot and Connor was eating something and paying no attention to her. She must not have liked this because she flew to where he was perched, and he took off!

July 7 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — I was downtown today with Phil Maillard. We were in the lobby of Tower 1, 360 Albert St to watch the monitor for a glimpse of our little one. For some time we saw nothing, until noon when Diana flew in with lunch.

Suddenly from out of camera sight, ran a small, but much bigger than previously, chicklet! As Diana gave it bits of whatever she brought, it ate voraciously with much bobbing of its head as it swallowed. The picture is somewhat fuzzy so we did not have a clear view but we could see the feathering coming in and watched as it moved around. I think some of the fuzziness is due to the plastic bubble the camera is in. Since it stays out on the roof all year around, I think the plastic is beginning to break down.

Once Diana had finished feeding her baby, she moved off and it went back toward the south end, out of camera sight. Just as we were leaving, Connor flew in at the northwest corner. He started moving down the ledge toward the feeding area with true Connor behaviour! The chicklet could be seen running and wing-flapping its way up to the northern end, and out of sight.

Once we were outside, we again were treated to the sights and sounds of the adults. Connor was now at the southwest corner and Diana was on the east ledge. She flew out and around to Connor and sent him off the corner. He flew up to the other end whereupon she flew there too. He finally ended up in the middle, watching his mate as she went flying, soaring around over the nearby rooftops, back and forth, obviously enjoying the wind! How beautiful! She is certainly as big as Horizon.

It will be interesting to find out if we get the visual sizing of the chicklet as it starts to spend more time on the outer ledge near a parent. That will not happen until next week. Keep your eyes turned upward, and your ears tuned upward as well any time you are in the area of the Crowne!

July 1 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — The banding of our little one is off this year! Shaun Thompson, our biologist, has decided to leave the family alone this year, aside from the FalconWatch, so Diana can better bond with Connor and her baby and get used to the nesting site, etc.

We still want OFNC members to suggest names, although they are not needed so soon.

June 18 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Our falcon chick needs a name! OFNC members are asked to suggest a name for our new little Peregrine Falcon chick. It hatched on about 14 June. The name must be gender neutral as its sex will not be know until banding time. It should also be appropriate for this species of raptor – not just as a baby but as an adult. Please submit names to Eve Ticknor at sandbird@magma.ca before 5 July.

June 18 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Chris Traynor and I were on the roof this morning for a check on our family and are pretty convinced we have just 1 this year. Diana appears to still be incubating an egg, but less seriously than before the arrival of her chicklet. She kept trying to tuck the baby under her and we had the impression that that egg might be in the way. After this length of time, that egg will not be hatching. I expect her to give up on it very soon and concentrate on her baby. the chicklet looks just fine, wiggling its tiny wings when trying to move under its mother. To see such a fierce and magnificent falcon interacting so gently with her baby is quite moving!

June 15 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — I was up on the roof this afternoon with Bob Boisvert and we had a look. I still cannot tell if there is another chicklet or not. It was too windy to get much from the scope and I didn’t want to wait to see if Diana would change position. For Bob it was a thrilling experience. He was delighted to see life from the peregrine’s level and snapped photos all over. We agreed to try again on a less windy day next week. Well, after we parted, Yvon (building Operations Manager) showed up and I found myself on the roof again with him. We went right up to the camera location so I could see where it was aimed. Connor was still on the southeast corner watching us, as he had done when Bob was up with me earlier. The camera has a good aim. The lighting wasn’t good and the distance, of course, is a bit far, but I think it will work. The camera will be hooked up to a monitor in the lobby of Tower 1, across from the Security Desk. A 2nd one may be put in an outside facing window, but not until the Soccer craze is over (July 9th), as that is the 2nd monitor!

As for the Internet, we are getting closer to the hookup and I will certainly broadcast it when the moment has arrived.

June 14 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — This afternoon ( 5ish) I, again, climbed up to the roof to play voyeur, with success! As I watched Diana, she kept shifting and looking down and, sure enough, there was the top of a fluffy white head. The debris along the ledge kept me from seeing more but Diana’s position tells me that the other egg has not yet hatched. It should be very soon, though.

I had been up Monday afternoon and noticed her behaviour was different, restless. Bob Boisvert let me know today that ladies looking over from their offices in Tower C also noticed Diana’s changed behaviour. My guess is that the hatch took place within 24 hours of 5pm today. By tomorrow or Friday we should have the other egg hatched. Stay tuned!!

June 4 [from Phil] — Yesterday at 4:35 pm Conner was keeping an eye on the nest area from the northwest corner of the hotel. After a few minutes, he slowly flapped his wings a few times and jumped into the ledge area and there was some vocalizing. He then flew out and landed close to the southwest corner. He wasn’t content to stay there and landed on the light fixture on the west side of Tower C. (I don’t recall ever seeing him land there before.)

May 30 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — I was on the roof yesterday, late afternoon. Connor was taking his turn on egg duty and Diana was preening way up on the antenna of Tower C. I did my usual thing, sitting down on part of the washer equipment and watching for a chance to check the eggs. After a while, Diana suddenly decided she didn’t want me there and flew down fast to check me out. After her once-over, which is all I thought she’d do, she flew again, screaming and I saw Connor jump up and run to the ledge to see what it was about. Needless to say, I made a rapid retreat! I do not want to stress her at all, so will curtail my visits for now until closer to hatching time, unless there is a need for me to check on them further.

May 30 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — I was on the roof yesterday, late afternoon. Connor was taking his turn on egg duty and Diana was preening way up on the antenna of Tower C. I did my usual thing, sitting down on part of the washer equipment and watching for a chance to check the eggs. AFter a while, Diana suddenly decided she didn’t want me there and flew down fast to check me out. AFter her once-over, which is all I though she’d do, she flew again, screaming and I saw Connor jump up and run to the ledge to see what it was about. Needless to say, I made a rapid retreat! I do not want to stress her at all, so will curtail my visits for now until closer to hatching time, unless there is a need for me to check on them further.

May 24 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — I went up on the roof this afternoon, around 5pm. Although I didn’t get a clear view, being a bit limited on time, I was able to see part of 2 eggs! Our female stood up and turned around, turning her eggs, but was never off them completely for me to get a clear view. I’ll go up again soon, weather dependent, of course!

Congratulations to Marie Clausen, whose name suggestion of Diana was pulled out of the name box! Diana the huntress! She bears the name of a Greek Goddess. I’m sure she will live up to it.

May 18 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — I am pleased to tell you that our new female is now brooding on her nest which is located between the 2nd and 3rd columns from the northwest corner of the Crowne Plaza Hotel. I have spoken to a member of the Engineering Staff of the hotel as Matthew McNaughton, former Operations Manager, is no longer employed there. Josh will ensure that no one from Maintenance will go on the ledge. Horizon would not have let that bother her, but our new mother-to-be will not be as comfortable with that.

As I have not been up more that once a week, I am making an educated guess that she probably started brooding around the 15th of May. That means a hatch around the 17th of June and fledgings around the 23rd of June, all things being equal!!!

May 1 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — I spent about 40 minutes on the roof of Constitution Square Tower 1 this afternoon. I got up there around 5:45 and both falcons were on the west ledge. Connor was at the northwest corner and his mate was on the gravel near the 2nd pillar. As I walked closer to the north end of the roof, they both flew off the ledge and around the Crowne Plaza Hotel. they circled over me and then up to the southwest corner of Tower C where they mated briefly. Connor then went back to the same corner of his ledge and preened while she stayed up on Tower C and simply looked around. After a while, Connor flew down and around to the north cubby where he plucked something and disappeared. The female stayed where she was. When it was apparent that no more activity would be happening while I was there, I left. When I reached the street, both were out of sight.

I have had several reports of activity in the last 2 days but I can confirm no nest, no eggs, no chicklets at this time. If they do make a nest in the near future, it will most certainly be on the west side of the Crowne. They have shown interest in that area, in spite of activities elsewhere.

I will check again soon.

April 22 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Around 2:30 this afternoon, Phil Maillard and I were driving down Slater St just east of the Crowne Plaza Hotel and suddenly saw both Peregrines flying overhead! It was good to see both, although it would therefore seem that there is not a nest – yet. They disappeared over the Constitution Square Tower 2 and Place de Ville Tower B, not to reappear to our eager eyes.

There could be a nest elsewhere, i.e., Booth St, which is worth checking out. The female would not be starting full incubation until all her eggs are laid, usually a day or so apart, but usually mating takes place very near the nest site, so??

April 22 [from Remy Poulin] — Here’s a name from the past. This is Rémy Poulin. I’m into my second year of my posting to the Washington DC area, but I do occasionally find myself back in Ottawa on business. Last week was one of those times. I was walking back to the Ottawa Marriott on Monday, 17 Apr at around 2:30 in the afternoon when I happened to look up and spotted two falcons flying overhead doing an aerial food transfer with one bird dropping what was left of a meal to the other in flight. Both birds then returned to the top of the Ottawa Marriott. Spring must be in the air ’cause the birds are a courtin.’

Another falcon sighting: This photo was taken by Eve Ticknor April 18 around 6 pm looking over to the southeast corner of the Crowne Plaza Hotel from Tower 1 of Constitution Square.

March 31 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — I went up to the roof of Tower 1, Constitution Square early afternoon today. Although I checked all along the west side of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, and most of the east side (couldn’t see the very northeast corner), there was no sign of either peregrine, nor of a nest area. I’ll still keep checking from time to time, so keep those activity sightings coming!

P.S. The Wildlife Festival will have displays at the Billings Bridge Plaza ( Bank and Riverside) April 7-9. The OFNC display will have a 2-panel section dedicated to our Horizon! Please go check it out when you can.

March 29 — Geoff Cousens photographed this second year Peregrine Falcon (at right) off his 18th floor balcony in the west end of Ottawa. The high-rise building is near the old “Carlington” ski hill/reservoir. His neighbour had mentioned that he had seen a “hawk” flying around the building many times.

March 1 [from Bernie Ladouceur] — On Monday, I saw what I assume was Connor on the SE corner of the Crowne Plaza. Tuesday, I saw what I thought to be a large, therefore probably female, peregrine perched in the middle of the south side of the Crowne Plaza, near the top. It appeared especially wide across the upper back and to have a fairly pale (blue-grey) back.

This morning at about 9:40 a.m, I sighted what I assume to be the same two birds interacting with each other near the SW corner of the Crowne Plaza. The female appeared to have a kill and landed on the SW corner. Connor(?) almost landed beside her and then flew to the SE corner. The size difference was quite apparent.

February 20 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — John Pratt has been seeing an adult peregrine fairly regularly from his office at 580 Booth St (14th floor). He says it flies by from the vicinity of 615 Booth St. It may be on a food patrol or may have been using this area as a temporary roost.

Please start reporting sightings more often now, as in the next few weeks we should hopefully be seeing our pair around the Crowne. Horizon and Connor used to be seen together around mid-March. We’ll see how it is with the new female.

January 28 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — This afternoon, around 2 p.m., I had a brief glimpse of one of our falcons. It was coming around the west side of a red brick apartment building at 570 Laurier. It was flying slowly with wings and tail outspread. Unfortunately that was all I had time to see as I was in traffic. In spite of turning and pulling over to the side of the road, I lost it immediately and could not relocate it. Against the blue sky it was a beautiful sight!

It will be another month or so before we start seeing any signs of courtship. At least that used to be the timing. With a new female, we may see new behaviour. Keep those eyes upward and your ears open!