20 December [from Nadine] — I got a real Xmas treat this morning watching both falcons on top of the Crowne Plaza. One was having breakfast on the southwest corner and the other was pretending not to care on the southeast corner. I wish I could tell them apart but I believe it was Diana who was eating and not sharing. Now they are both napping. We had thought he had gone down south but he is still here. Nice to see.
5 December [from Nadine] — Just watched 3 falcons flying over us at constitution square heading north – one was dive bombing the other while it calmly soared around and the third was flying higher – just watching. It looked like they made contact for a second, but all kept flying over the river out of sight. Cool.
27 November [from Justin Peter] — This afternoon at about 2 pm, I observed a Peregrine alight on the south edge of the roof of the Civic Hospital on Carling Avenue. It had flushed two flocks of pigeons from the roof but did not appear intent on pursuing them at the time.
3 November [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Today Phil Maillard and I found both Diana and Connor on the west face of the Coates Building at Tunney’s Pasture. Connor was in a corner just above the top window at the north end of the west side, while Diana was on top of the 3rd column from the same end, same side. I had seen Diana there a few days ago, but not Connor at that time.
September 4 [from Phil Maillard] — Just after 6 pm, Diana was sitting on the middle light fixture on tower C. Yesterday morning Skylar was perched on the northeast corner of the Crowne Plaza.
August 8 [from Phil Maillard] — Yesterday at 9:15 am Skylar was on the northwest corner of the Constitution Square building. After a few minutes he started vocalizing and flew to the front of the Crowne Plaza, where he did a perfect landing in the nest area, northwest corner. No problem for this little guy! No sign of his parents at this time.
July 28 [from Phil Maillard] — 4 p.m., Connor is perched on the southwest corner of the Crowne eating something. I watch him for several minutes hoping to see him fly or see Skylar or Diana. Then, from the nest area I hear “feed me, feed me.” Connor moves in a little bit then flies off to the Constitution building. Then Skylar makes an appearance up on the ledge near the corner where his father was. He appears to be eating what was left after Connor finished with it. No sign of Diana right now.
July 19 [from Phil Maillard] — I arrived at the Crowne Plaza last night around 8 and didn’t see anything. After going for coffee and walking about a block and a half, I heard that familiar call. I walked back and there was Skylar flying from the Crowne to the Marriott hotel. What a flyer! I lost sight of him over the hotel for about two minutes, then he comes back over the “top” of the hotel in fast mode, calling for food or attention. He then goes around the Crowne, catches a thermal, and takes himself higher – no problem for this guy! I lost sight of him at this point.
15 July [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Around noon today, Phil Maillard and I were down near the Crowne Plaza Hotel. He had arrived before me and had seen both adults on the hotel. When I arrived a bit later, one adult was on the nest ledge. A short while later it flew off heading west with a lovely brown Skylar calling and calling from his perch on the nest ledge (west side). Then we saw Diana fly to the antenna of the Carlisle Building. She sat there preening as we left and Skylar was out of sight, but, from the sound of it, was still on the ledge, though he grew silent very soon.
11 July [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — I just got back to Ottawa on Monday night, and I’ve been keeping an eye on the rooftops, and I saw all three falcons yesterday morning around 9 am – Diana was perched on the northwest corner of 360 Albert, Connor on the Carlisle antenna, and Skylar was lying down on the ledge just to the left of the flag on Minto Place. I wasn’t sure at first if it was Skylar, as the bird was lying down, not moving. I checked back about 30 minutes later, and he was standing, and then he took off soon after.
Last evening, I also saw what appeared to be two adult falcons (west ledge) and a falcon-sized, darker bird (southeast corner) which, in the fading light, I took to be Skylar, all sitting on the Crowne nest ledge (frankly, it must have been Skylar – I don’t think a pigeon would have dared to sit there), so it seems that Skylar has managed to land without fear of the overhang.
29 June, 3:45 [from Marian] — Today, as I was waiting for a bus on Albert St between Bay and Bronson, suddently I saw three Falcons in the air over the Crown Plaza and Constitution Square Building and saw what appeared to be another food transfer. I could see Skylar chasing one of his parents. I was a fair distance away to tell whether it was a successful transfer but I did see Skylar make contact with one of his parents, possibily Diana.
|Hamilton’s chicks airborne!
June 29, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: At 12:10 Thursday afternoon Blue Foot lifted off from the Sheraton roof, flew west to the Standard Life building, then back toward the Sheraton, trying to gain height and reach the roof. Not quite successful the first or second time, she then made a strong flight over the Thompson building where she landed in the shallow water pan of the air conditioning system!!! After a minute or two of getting her bearings she hopped up onto an nearby beam and started exploring.At 17:30 Blue Foot decided it was time to leave the Thompson building. She made a nice circle over King Street and the school board parking lot, then steamed for the Sheraton roof where Jump Up was waiting. This is impressive since the Thompson roof is six or seven stories lower and Blue Foot had to gain significant height to reach her destination. Her landing was less than graceful, but she made it nonetheless. Hopefully Blue Foot’s antics will convince Jump Up that it is time for her to also start flying! Blue Foot has certainly had some experiences! Jump Up spent most of the day on the upper ledge of the Sheraton and on the arm of the camera mount, looking around and testing her wings. The two chicks spent the evening playfully chasing each other around the Sheraton roof ledge.
28 June [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — I just had to tell you of today’s adventures! Several volunteers and friends have been passing by 400 Albert and surrounding streets and have all seen and heard Skylar and his parents in the sky.
This evening I was talking with Heather, the owner of the scrumptious SconeWitch when we heard lots of falcon screaming. Looking up, 4 birds were flying around just above us. 4? There are only 3 falcons, so do we have another intruder? No! One becomes a pigeon, being chased by Skylar, who is being encouraged by his parents! Wow! The pigeon escaped. It is bit too early for Skylar to be a successful hunter, but he is already practising. Joan saw 2 pigeons earlier today, 1 turning out to be our brown hunter-to-be! He is really getting around.
Anyway, I digress. Back to the scene above, for the loss of the pigeon is not the end of the story. Diana had been clutching a piece of pigeon, just for this occasion. Skylar saw it and immediately flew after her. She dropped it, and he caught it in midair! These kinds of lessons do not usually happen so fast for a chicklet, who has flying lessons first. To continue, once he had his food, Connor came by and grabbed it from him and continued flying. His son then flew after his father, and grabbed it back, turning toward the roof of Constitution Square to eat “his” catch! We were in awe. Soon we saw Diana arrive at the southwest corner of the Crowne. Connor was seen later, with Diana, diving at someone on the roof of the Minto, at least I presume it was someone out of sight to us.
Our little chicklet is the fastest learner of all our past babies. He is still young and tires easily, and can be seen by some flopped on his belly, asleep. He is not dead! He is just recharging his batteries. I don’t think we have ever had a chicklet who doesn’t want to stop flying. Others may wait a day, or 2, or more between flights, but not this one.
I know I and others will be down again and again to watch the fearless one up where he belongs.
Day 11 (24 June) [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — What a hot day to be out falcon-watching! We are getting short of volunteers for some shifts, but those who have come down are being treated to the wonderful sight of our baby flying! I know some of you have missed seeing this as there are rest periods during the day but you have been performing a valuable service to our family as being there “just in case”.
Around 9 this morning, all 3 peregrines were seen on the Carlisle antenna, Skylar’s favourite perch, possibly as his father is usually seen there. A little after 11 he flew after Connor and right back to his antenna. Watchers saw a beautiful flight! Again he flew off after an adult and back again. It is wonderful to see him master those heights. With the winds of late, landing on those lofty bars is not easy.
He has been seen flying to the antenna on the Queen Elizabeth Towers, to Tower C, to the Constitution Square, to the Carlisle, and around again, at different times during the day and evening. He is clearly enjoying the wind, and his wings. At last he knows what those appendages can do for him and he now wants to travel. As he practices takeoffs and landings, and makes longer flights here and there, he will be doing what a falcon should!
He was certainly resting somewhere for a while this afternoon as he wasn’t seen for quite a while. The suddenly there he was, on “his” antenna. Connor was seen making flights overhead, looking for him. Wow! He makes it looks so easy, just floating in the air, sometimes stationary. Those of us grounded where wishing we had wings so we could join him. And then, there was Skylar, on the north end of the Minto. He flew around and around, then around to the back of the Minto and out of sight. Diana appeared with food in a bit, but didn’t know where he was. She, and a large pigeon, sat on the antenna at Carlisle, looking everywhere. She spotted him and made a few passes over the Minto, enticing him up. It worked. He flew up, screaming, and joined her. As they flew behind Constitution Square, we could see Skylar trying hard to grab the pigeon from her talon! I have not seen a chicklet try this so soon into the fledging period! Soon Diana was seen on the Tower 2 of C Sq, alone and without food. Around 8:15, we saw both of them on his antenna, he looking down at her calling for food, and looking at him in the scope, he hadn’t eaten much, so maybe he didn’t get the pigeon from her, or just a little of it. He tried a few perches there, up and down, but when he reached her, she left! He then flew to Tower C, while she went back to the antenna.
Around 8:45, he was flying again, back to the antenna, Diana flying off upon his arrival. He flew after her, but it was evident he was running out of steam. He tried for the nest ledge and landed on a window sill 3 floors below. He tried again and just missed the roof. Then he tried Tower C, but fell short again, in the indented part, just below the roof. He is obviously getting tired, so Diana came in and guided him to the Constitution Square Tower C roof, coming up under him to make sure he got enough height! We were in awe of the very evident care she showed at this time. In light of his previous flights, I think the continued flights and heat and wind sapped some of his energy. When we left, Diana was watching from his antenna while he stayed on Tower 1. Connor was not in sight, but we think he was seen on the east side of the Crowne.
And so it ends. This is always a hard decision. He no longer needs all of us, but it is hard to stop watching and waiting for the next flight. I know some of us will still go there, passing by to and from work, or making the trip in case he can be seen. We have achieved our goal, and once more our volunteers can be proud, of our chicklet, and of each other! We thank all of you, and thank all the supporters who called or came by for updates and hoping to be lucky to see one of our falcon family! Please keep your sightings coming, especially by email, so we all can share in Skylar’s success and adventures. You should be able to see him and his parents, having lessons up to September when he will join other juveniles on migration south, while Diana and Connor stay “at home”.
Thanks to all, Eve ( Coordinator) and Melanie ( Schedular)!
Day 10 (23 June) [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Skylar in the sky! I finally am seeing a bit of flying from a confident little falcon who seems to enjoy the feel of the wind and has finally realized what his wings can do. Of course, he still has to be coaxed off a perch from time to time.
The heat hasn’t been affecting our falcons as it has us. It must be the winds at their elevation. Lucky them! Melanie and later, Claire, both did shifts on their own today, unusual, and I am very glad there were no complications such as a downed chicklet for them. It seems as if Skylar’s taking to the skies has senet a message that we are not needed. Until I see a few key goals accomplished and see more flying, we are not quite done, although I think we will only be going another day or 2.
Both adults have been flying here and there at different times of day, perhaps to show their chicklet how easy it is. I have certainly seen Connor doing just this.
Skylar spent the night on the Minto where we left him last evening, but had moved to the Carlisle by morning. His parents vocalized a lot over the Carlisle Building but he wasn’t seen until early afternoon! He took to the air shortly after and headed north between the Minto and Constitution Square, with Diana just behind him. He flew up to the top of the antenna on Tower C! Both his parents joined him up there, to the delight of Lene, Marc and Bev Peterkin. He must have gone to the Delta a bit later as Diana brought food to an out-of-sight bird on the roof there.
I arrived along with Barb, Nancy, Scott and Mary to find that our chicklet hadn’t been seen for a bit. However very soon he was visible on the Carlisle antenna. Connor made a few attempts to show how easy flying is, but no dice. When Skylar was ready, and he will choose when he is ready, he flew over the roof of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, and made a great landing on the southeast corner of Tower C! Connor didn’t like him near the edge, and after flying back and forth between Tower C and the Crowne, he went and pushed Skylar back from the edge, probably with some food as incentive. I remember Horizon doing this occasionally, too.
After running along the edges for a bit, he flew back to the Carlisle antenna. Suddenly there was a terrific racket from Diana and both adults were flying around and over Tower C. It was evident neither had seen Skylar leave! Diana was screaming at Connor as if to say, “You were supposed to be keeping an eye on him”! Watching the adults flying and soaring around the antenna of Tower C, was so beautiful, so breathtaking! All of a sudden, Connor spotted him on the other antenna and flew to join him. Soon Diana joined him and as we left, all 3 were on the Carlisle antenna, together. How I wished I had Chris’ camera for a family photo. There will never be an opportunity as this. All of us, now joined by Joan and Doreen, stood and stared for a long time. This is what it is all about. This is why I do this.
I should mention a very nice article in today’s (Tuesday) Metro publication. It also contained the lovely photos Chris took of Skylar from inside Constitution Square. Thank you, Tim Wieclaski!
We will continue Wednesday and maybe into Thursday, but I think we will not be needed after this. I know a few of us will still go down to watch as our little chicklet is given his flying lessons by devoted parents.
Day 9 (22 June) [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — This has been quite a day for our little Skylar. He was found still on the balcony of 101 Bay Apartments at 6 this morning and was still there well after 7, having been left alone by considerate construction workers!
Just before 8 this morning he left the balcony and headed towards Constitution Square. As Chris and Jim screamed NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!, he bumped into it twice. Tried the Crowne Plaza Hotel 3 times, tried Tower B, and finally landed on an air grate at Sparks and Lyon, exhausted. However there was still lots of life left in him. He escaped the first capture attempt but was unable to do so the 2nd time. Chris got him with the help of another man who has followed our falcons over time here.
Now placed in the rescue box, Bill was on his way to band him, while Melanie stood on the curb, ready to turn away anyone wanting to park in “Bill’s spot”! Now, why can’t someone do that for me when I need it? Yvon Morin gave them a room for the banding and, with Jim, Jeanette, Kaarina ,Mary, Chris and others looking on, Melanie held a very strong and loud Skylar while Bill put on 2 bands, weighed and measured him. He is finally officially a male! He was then returned to his nest ledge while Frank, Lene and the volunteer already there watched to be sure he would not take off so soon. He didn’t! Many thanks to the staff of the Crowne for helping get Skylar home.
Our very tired chicklet slept for a while, on his belly, which alamed some onlookers ( offices nearby), who weren’t aware that young falcons sleep on their bellies. I had a call that he had died!! I was so glad to explain about sleeping positions.
He seems to have been bitten by the flying bug as soon he “floated” off the ledge and up to the roof (words of Mary, Marian, Ann and Claire, the volunteers who saw him). Just after I arrived (5), he flew straight and steady over to the roof of the Minto Suites. He spent time exploring the north end, had a food drop and a nap. He moved along until he met up with the end of the ledge and the giant flag on the west side. For a while all we could see was his shadow! He had been watching Connor as he flew overhead and around to show his son how it is done. He spent a long time looking at his father who perched on the Queen Elizabeth Tower antenna. Joan kept watch from inside the stairwell there where she had a clear view of Skylar. Gordon, Scott, Mary, Joyce and I also watched from various streets nearby. When we left around 9 pm, he was still there, having had Diana visit his location a few times, probably with food.
Day 8 (21 June) [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — This has been a very long day! Skylar spent the day still on his ledge at the Constitution Square. He reminds me of Solitiare who was a good flier but who chose to wait 2 days between each flight. Another similarity was the attention and multiple feedings during the day. Usually the parents withdraw much food at this time to encourage their youngster(s) to exercise more and to fly. Well, not here! Skylar received 5 small meals during the day, between long sleeps. All he had to do was flap his wings and cry lots and loudly and food was delivered.
The adults would sometimes land on a ledge above him and stare down at him, or sit across on the other tower, or on the Crowne. At one point, Diana had a starling which she started to pluck, then stopped and dangled it from her beak, to entice him to come to the very next part of the ledge. He declined by crying even more loudly and flapping his wings a lot. Twice this happened and then she hopped over and gave it to him! Connor also had turns at bringing food to him. By this evening, Diana brought what would be his last meal of the day, and personally fed each bite to him in view of all! How spoiled can you be?
The adults would sometimes be seen on the Carlisle antenna, the Crowne or Constitution Square. Connor had his daily gull chase, complete with screams from both. He didn’t try for leftovers as the meals for Skyler were very small to begin with, making me wonder if some of them were his own leftovers!
This evening we had a bit of rain and our chicklet didn’t like it. He ran back and forth along his ledge and hopped over to the other part, as his parents had tried to get him to do earlier. He slipped several times and we thought he would finally fly due to slipping off, but no. As the rain stopped, so did he. And again we waited as we had been doing all day.
There were many people to talk with during this long day, especially patrons from the Baton Rouge who watched us while dining, and came over to satisfy their curiousity so they could go back and tell others while they ate. The temptation is to make up stories and one of us did briefly! One man came over last night and asked the usual question, and Chris just looked at him and said we were doing a survey to find out how easily it would be to make people look up. John and Eliane, back from BC came by to catch up, and Joan joined us in the rain and for our last part of the day. And…
Suddenly our chicklet was off and away around the corner, tried landing on an apartment building, but wasn’t high enough, so went around the corner and landed on the edge of a balcony, right across from 400 Albert!! At this point we decided to call it a night.
Day 7 (20 June) [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Arriving before 6 this morning was an eyeopener as to weather. It was so cold the mitts and multiple layers came on and stayed on most of today, courtesy of stiff gusty winds.
Gilles, Mary, Chris T, Joan and I met and decided where to continue our search. Chris went to the roof of Constitution Square while Mary went with Joan into the SAT Building. Gilles did a street patrol while I stayed back in case anyone else showed up.
Suddenly Joan spotted our errant chicklet, on a window ledge on the 8th floor of the Marriott, west side! We spent the next few hours taking turns watching him to see where he would go. Jim O’Neil showed up as did Langis. Diana and Connor still did not know where Skylar was, although they did fly over the Mariott once or twice. At one point Connor sat on the antenna of the Carlisle Building, looking around. Someone in the Marriott stuck his head out the window for a better look at Skylar whereupon Joan went in to ask Security to stop that, which they did. Eventually some volunteers had to leave and Christine, Joyce and Scott took over.
Around 11, Skylar decided to move, and move he did. He tried for Tower C, but landed on the middle of the side where he caught one of his talons. Struggling helped to free his foot and he went to try the Crowne Plaza Hotel’s east side. He didn’t quite make it to the ledge, so he continued over to a lower ledge of Constitution Square, the 11th floor level of Tower C. Diana immediately flew in right next to her baby and checked to see if he was alright. Once she did that, she left, hoping he would follow. NOT!
He was HUNGRY and let her know on and on and on. What a screamer he is. Both Diana and Connor flew around trying to entice Skylar to move but he wasn’t giving in. Diana kept on far longer than her chicklet was willing. By now we were joined by Phil, Marian, Chris E, Bill, Suzanne and Gillian.
I went up with Security to the 11th floor of Constitution Square, right to the office where Skylar was trying to get through the glass that he couldn’t understand was solid! It was so good to see him so close. His feet were fine, so the talon that had been caught was uninjured. He was very tired, eyes closing, tucking his head into his back feathers, rousing to look around to cry for food and tucking his head back. I took photos, of course. Then back down to the street.
After a little while Diana flew over to a nearby ledge to pluck a pigeon for Skylar. He still wouldn’t leave his ledge so she moved closer. No dice! She gave in and brought it to him. As I had realized she might do this, I went up again with Security and was able to photograph and observe both mother and son. By now it was more obvious that Skylar is a male! This was confirmed as well by Bill and Marian, up in the adjoining tower, who watched Skylar and Connor together. Being on the other side of a pane of glass with Skylar was so special!
When Diana brought the pigeon, he grabbed it from her and mantled it, covering it with his wings to shield it from her in case she wanted it back. She complained and her sent her such a look that she shot off the ledge, screaming, and those below had a moment of fright, thinking it was Skylar leaving.
Again, shift changes, and Lorraine, Jordan and Claudette joined me. Before she left, Mary came to tell me of a group of people who rushed out of Constitution Square to tell her that 2 birds had been fighting and they were both dead! Once they described what happened, she explained about the mantling. They still insisted the birds were dead. Again, she explained that young peregrines flop on their bellies to sleep. Still they were concerned about the dead bird with its feet in the air! Patient Mary! This time she told of the pigeon Skylar had eaten up there. At last they were feeling better about what they saw.
There was more enticement flying during the evening. Skylar looked ready to fly again, so some of us stayed longer. Chris T had joined us by now. Connor was above the little doorway on the south face of the Crowne and Diana was on the southeast corner of the ledge. However, he was still on the ledge when we did leave. It will be interesting to see if he is still there in the morning, or will have moved.
Day 6 (19 June) [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Well, this was the day!
This will be very short as the first part of today was the same as yesterday, and the day before, etc. Eating, napping, running, flapping seemed to be Skylar’s activities while the adults alternated between resting and incentive flying or ledge-hopping. The latter is done by Connor. He would take a little food to part of the ledge away from Skylar who would run for it, just to find Connor had flown to another part of the ledge, and so they would go up and down, and then Skylar had earned the food and a nap.
This evening, they started around 5:45. The difference this time was Skylar who was actually lifting off the surface of the ledge while fly-running along. Several times we saw this happen and I told Gilles and Scott it was time to go over to Queen St. As soon as they did, they saw Skylar leave the northern end of the ledge, flap-fall down maybe 10 feet, regain its wings and fly with strong beats and gaining some altitude. Around the east side of Tower C, and…
Where did Skylar go????? The search was on! I started to call a few people, especially Melanie who had all the phone numbers. Once she received the message, she left work for home and called everyone she could! She is so good at this!! We went in different directions, looking high and low, and in between, included flowerbeds and ramps. No luck! Searchers included Gilles, Scott, Gillian, Lorraine and Jordan, Doreen, Claire, Marian, Lynn, Ashley and baby Patrick, Joan and Gordon ( who is not yet an official volunteer). Joan went home, got her Justice pass and went off in her buildings for better looks at others. Eve went up in the Marriott for the same. Getting inside the hotels is difficult right now, as they are filled with grads! We stumped up and down all streets in the area, passing all those ribs on Sparks. Some of us gave in. We have to keep our strength up, right?
As for Connor and Diana, they did not know where their falconette was and were obviously upset. From time to time, they would fly around, with food, and, on returning to the ledge, call and call, or sit and look constantly around.
We closed down after 9pm, to resume at 6am. Send up all those good vibes, prayers, etc., for Skylar who is (hopefully) spending the night alone, but safe, ready for more adventures tomorrow. We will certainly be ready. Many, many thanks to all who came out tonight at a moment’s notice! It is really appreciated. We will see some of you in the morning, along with others. Get your rest now. You will need it!
Day 5 (18 June) [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — When Lorraine and Josee arrived at 6am, Diana was on the constitution Square and Skylar was running along the ledge as he had much of the previous day, flapping its wings, stretching, preening and occasionally eating. When, oh when, are you going to fly?
And, then, there was much commotion involving both adults! What was going on that they were flying around screaming? Oh, yes, I had forgotten about the men who attach a giant flag to the Constitution Square. This involves 2 men who, once the roof attachments are done, go down the outside, each on a single rope, to clip the flag on to wires on the side of Tower 1. Josee was so worried she went to tell Security to clear them off the roof. It was not to be. Those men do this every year and refuse to wear helmets.
Doninique called me about the same. I am not worried. If those men get hurt by our falcons, so be it. They chose it. This will be happening for the next couple of days. Meanwhile it is business as usual for Skylar.
The next shifts also watched the spectacle, and Skylar, of course. Our chicklet kept on. It is probably the fastest runner of all chicklets we have watched. The adults would do teasing and incentive flybys from time to time. Several times someone would stop breathing or give a tiny scream as the wings flapped on the corner.
This evening gave Scott and Kaarina their first shift and lots to see. There were periods of lots of activity between the adults and their offspring. At times all 3 were visible on the Crowne, at different spots. I have still not been able to accurately compare Skylar to Diana to find out if we have a male or female.
I was hoping the first flight would not take place today as we had several times of fierce gusts of wind. At one time, our sandwich board went flying, as did many of our flyers ( down Albert St). Scott grabbed the scope before it went, then handed it to me and dove for the flyers, landing on his stomach on the sidewalk, on many of the flyers.
We had visitors today! Gordon comes by most evenings and was there to help with the sandwich board. But we had a new visitor, a young groundhog! It was behind the barrels outside the Sconewitch. Clearly it was not starving, although there was no sign of a mother, nor a home / hole. As I was about 2 feet away and it was not scared of me, I wondered if it had been raised by a human, then discarded, or had gone off course from the land around the Hill or Supreme Courthouse. As suddenly as we saw it, it was gone.
And, so, we ended our day without seeing first flight, and, so ended the year’s longest day! Happy Solstice!
Day 4 (17 June) [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — I would like to introduce you to Skylar! His name was suggested by Marian Bird. Well done, Marian! I pulled the name out of my Falcon Watch hat tonight after putting in all the names I received. Thanks to all the volunteers who made the suggestions. There is always next year.
It is amazing to think that we have been here for 4 days already. Someone today was looking into one of the spotting scopes at Skylar and observed that all the months seemed to have melted since the last one he had been looking at. I know what he meant.
Newcomers, Heidi and Owen, started their day at 6 with Chris, Lorraine and Josee. Naturally they were so taken with our family that they are joining us! Skylar was visible first thing and many times throughout the day. Connor arrived with prey, which was promptly removed by Diana. She is slowly learning, thought she still lets Connor get away with his own ideas of feeding. Young falcons are deprived of food and showed incentive flying and teasing from time to time to encourage exercising and flying. Yes, they do get to eat eventually, more so if Connor is around! Dominique arrived to take over the shift. She is so helpful, usually doing this shift on her own! We thank you!
Around 10:30 there was a scare as Skylar disappeared and was thought to have taken its first flight. Immediately a search was commenced. Josee was summoned from the East block, along with 2 of her colleagues. Scott who showed up off schedule joined in. Soon it was apparent that the errant falconette was hiding behind a column and had stayed home all the time. It is good to know that emergencies can be dealt with! Wing-flapping was evident from time to time. There was even a visitor who had taken part in the Bay of Fundy Peregrine Falcon Introduction Program in the ’80’s Soon Melanie, Christine and Josee were on shift. Yes, Josee who stayed until 9pm! She is in love with Skylar!! Anyway, they had quite the excitement, and none of it connected with the falcons. There was a car accident at Bay and Albert involving the restaurant at the corner. Melanie called 911. Soon police,emergency vehicles and an ambulance were there, and Christine was called on for a witness statement! If only our falcon parents knew what we volunteers have to go through for their offspring. Our baby has proven to be the fastest runner on the ledge, at least compared to its previous siblings. We have seen amazing speed with such confidence. Wow!
Dinner was served just before 6pm. Babies sleep right after eating, right? NOT! Skylar was up again in a couple of minutes. A lot of time was spent preening. Just got to get rid of those down feathers. Our chicklet moved along the ledge, stopping at times for more preening, but basically quiet, for the evening we thought. Well, Diana decided to provide incentive by showing up near Skylar, then moving when he reached her, up and down the ledge until she had enough and went to the southeast corner. The little falconette ran as fast as those little legs could travel. Finally it was seen on the southwest corner, peeking around to where its mother was. A couple of times both were close together, and just when I thought I’d have a clear look at them for the size comparison, Diana would leave. As much as all of us were looking, we all think we have male. Josee said, “Of course it is a male. That’s why I am in love”!
Day 3 (16 June) [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Today’s report is going to be shorter. I didn’t get down to our base until 5 pm and left it around 7 pm because I had an orientation for new volunteers. Yes, we really did find some new ones, and there are a few more coming! We still have gaps but finally they are filling up.
The weather today kept everyone rather subdued. Hot and humid just don’t do it for activity. It seems that our chicklet feels the same way! According to the log, it would seem that it didn’t get fed today, at least until tonight. The adults flew around from time to time and their offspring did his wing-flapping and moving along the ledge at times, but it sounds as if the day was a quiet one.
At first, when I arrived, all was quiet, very quiet. Langis was just leaving and Nancy Scott and Barb Chouinard arrived shortly after that. Lorraine stopped by and signed up for a few more shifts. All that was more than we observed from above. Connor suddenly arrived with a kill, no idea what, and landed on the southwest corner. We all thought he would pluck it a bit and feed his baby. NOT! He proceeded to eat it himself, so fast and looking around as if Horizon was on his shoulder! Not much vocalization from chicklet, but a steady stream of ***** from Diana who was on the southeast corner, leaning out to watch him! Finally she had enough and flew to his corner. But he wasn’t ready to give in, so he flew with it around the hotel, with Diana on his tail. Eventually one landed on the southeast corner and the other on the north side of the Constitution Square. After some time, one finally brought some food to the by-now-very-hungry chicklet!
I left for the orientation, so will update tomorrow evening when I go down again. We have some enthusiastic new volunteers, Hooray! They had good questions and comments and most of them bought our spiffy hats! These are being sold for $15 to volunteers only! I do have more.
Day 4 is coming. Will that be the one???????
Day 2 (15 June) [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Being a working woman, I didn’t arrive at the Falcon Watch base until this evening, only to be greeted by Mary, saying “I’ve been having heart attacks”! And I knew just what she had been saying.
Apparently our chicklet has been having a busy day. When Melanie and Josee arrived at 6am, it was already on the ledge, preening. It was at the southern end but was ably moving up and down the ledge, hoping for breakfast. The adults were doing several “fly-by’s” but their offspring wasn’t tempted. It had breakfast on its mind! Finally that wish was granted a bit after 8am. Such a long time to one so little!
Dominique took over for the next shift and spent her time watching much preening going on. This is necessary to get rid of the fluffy white down to make room for the brown feathers needed for flight. Sometimes we look in the scope to see a blizzard coming down from a part of the ledge! The adults spent some time on one or another of the very tall antennas in the area, eventually coming down to rest on the ledge either side of the chicklet.
Phil watched the chicklet moving up and down the ledge, doing wing-flaps and generally getting stronger for its first flight. We are so hoping for this event to not happen right away, and for all to go well, of course.
Mary arrived and our chicklet seemed to go into high gear, just for her! She watched, forgetting to breathe, as it came right to the outside edge, trotted to the southwest corner (right on the corner, Eve!), flapping and moving around, all with total confidence. Some say that these birds do everything by instinct and reactions are only learned behaviours. Well, I, and others, have seen enough over the years of doing this, to believe that there is some thinking, and personality showing up. This chicklet has shown confidence from the first time I saw it on the ledge. Again, tonight, after I and Chris Traynor joined Mary, it seemed to feel quite at home up there, inspite of having seen little of the world it will soon be flying over.
Diana tried but missed a pigeon and sat, waiting for Connor to produce. There was a lengthy wait…. Around 8pm she suddenly flew straight west and we were sure she had seen Connor approaching, which was true, as shortly both of them arrived, flying fight into the ledge where their baby was waiting. Lots of screaming accompanied this, mostly from Diana. Connor flew over to Constitution Square and sat on the railing above the corner while his mate sat on the ledge screaming at him, non-stop! All of a sudden, she flew over and bumped him off and sat on the corner while he flew to the northern end of the ledge, hopped inside, probably to check for leftovers, a trait we have seen in him over the past 10 years, and back to sit on the corner.
As the chicklet was quiet, and both parents showed no sign of moving, we decided to pack up.
Day 3 to come!
Day 1 (14 June) [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — At long last I am ready to start! It seems like a long time since I have heard the cries of little falcons and am looking forward to this aspect of the Falcon Watch. Up to now time has been spent planning, contacting building managers, getting flyers and business cards printed at Staples, worrying if they will be done on time, locating all the equipment in my home ( here and there), putting together my checklist, conversing with Melanie about scheduling, passing on any emails from volunteers, new and regulars.
Did I mention trying for a few hours sleep?
And, then, a 5am alarm goes off and I realize it is time! One last look at the checklist and I’m off. I love arriving early downtown. It is relatively quiet. Not this time as a pair of Ring-billed gulls are on the roof next to us, loudly courting! They sound like Elks in rut! I sign the key out and get the equipment out of my car, with Roseanne’s help. Soon Phil bikes in and it’s like old home time. The adult peregrines are active, flying about and on and off the ledge for a bit. Then they are off for food. Shortly Diana brings something in her right talon, but as soon as she touches down on the southern end of the ledge, she is off across the street to the northern end of Constitution Square, plucking and eating whatever it is. And then, and then, up pops our chicklet! We get a super look at it, from shoulders up. It looks browner than I expected and seeing it on the ledge is also sooner than I expected. It was up for about 15 minutes, until Diana brought in breakfast. Then no more seen or heard from for several hours, at least from our chicklet. Of course, Connor is nearby and he can’t resist coming to look for leftovers, his favourite!
Shift changes. Marian arrives and Roseanne leaves, while Phil stays a while. Around noon we can see all 3 falcons on the ledge, Diana near the north, Connor at the south and chicklet a column from Dad. Everyone is preening, in fact a LOT of preening went on at all times today! This chicklet seems very confident while it is visible, moving along the ledge at times, very alert and curious, and not always upset if its parents are on the ledge without food. Eventually the chicklet goes out of sight to sleep for a while. Mid-day is siesta time for all.
During this time we watch the rest of the wildlife around us. Phil has gone, as has Marian, while Mary has arrived. It is so good to see these friends again! Near us are the usual House Sparrows, Pigeons and Starlings. This time we have a pair of House Finches in constant motion between the tree and wires, lots of lovely singing. 3 young squirrels are on the veranda roof, 2 black and 1 gray. Is there a mother? We didn’t see one. A couple of Monarch butterflies flutter by. Visitors stop by. Some are ones we see each year, like Jane, who says a prayer to St Francis for out falcons daily! Others are new to us, some from other cities and provinces. A few have watched falcons in Toronto and Hamilton and are delighted to see ours as well. Dominique and Elsa join us for the next shift. Mary stayed longer. It is hard to stop sometimes. One might miss something.
And, then, siesta is over and activity resumes. We see our chicklet again, further up the ledge, almost at the middle. Suddenly it is entirely on the ledge and backing toward the outside! We all hold our breath! It backs to the edge and evacuates before heading in again. This one seems more advanced than I had thought. I am now thinking it is 34 days old instead of 33. I am also leaning towards male, though I need to see it next to Diana for a size comparison. Males tend to fledge earlier than females and this one appears to be headed that way. We have seen some very vigorous wing-flapping several times today!
The last volunteer change was around 6 when the Marshalls left and shortly after Chris Traynor showed up for a while. He left around 7, when I had decided to close for the night. Too bad. He should have stayed. Chicklet appeared on the very northwest corner! Soon his mother brought dinner and all grew quiet. And so Day 1 comes to an end.
I am apprehensive about tomorrow and the coming days as we have many shifts with no one scheduled. It is quite possible that our chicklet will fledge, successfully or not, without any of us to see. My hope will be to get a call from someone working down in the area who will see what happens. Sometimes work gets in the way of life!!
Stay tuned for Day 2.
June 13 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Check out this photo! It is the first good look at our chicklet with a parent! Thanks to Bob Boisvert.
June 6 [from Scott Holliday] — Just noticed that there is a little bundle of white between the second column and the roof flashing. It seems to be moving, slowly. I guess the little one is finding its legs and decided to go out for a little stroll to familiarise itself with its surroundings. Parent on nest is being very watchful of the young one.
May 27 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — I just thought to say that the best time to view our family on the webcam on the Canadian Peregrine Foundation website is late afternoon and early evening. The lighting is best then. Just click on the picture to get the one that updates every 30 seconds. Although the picture is small, you can follow the development of our chicklet. At times you can see it sitting up to be fed, like around 6 pm while I am writing this!
May 24 [from Scott Holliday] — I noticed a lot of activity in and around the nest today on the webcam, many many sorties are being flown by both parents, and I have observed a couple of times (at most maybe 2 minutes at a time) that BOTH parent falcons were off the nest at the same time, and not just to trade places either, in fact it is happening again as I write this, but in the next shot the other parent has returned to the nest.
May 22 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — As of 4:30 pm today, I saw 1 chicklet and 1 egg. Diana was tenderly feeding her chicklet. Then it tried to crawl under her, with difficulty. Diana moved around to make room, then tucked the remaining egg under her as well. I doubt it will hatch after all this time. If there are any changes, I’ll let you know.
May 16 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Finally! I went up this afternoon and, as usual, wasn’t able to see anything but Connor’s back. After 1/2 hour, he turned around and shuffled back and forth, and soon the reason was evident as there was a tiny white fuzzy head! I think it was hatched sometime between late yesterday when I was up with Deb Jacobs, our new MNR biologist, and this morning, when Scott thought he saw something on the webcam. We will still have to wait to see if there is another or not. Stay tuned!
May 12 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — I went to check on Diana and her egg progress this evening around 8 p.m. She had not yet hatched her eggs as far as I could tell but she was a bit unsettled and I am sure we will have a hatch very soon. I will be up checking tomorrow afternoon/evening. Keep your fingers crossed.
May 11 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Hi Nadine, I was on the roof next to yours for an hour Wed evening but Diana didn’t budge so I still cannot tell for sure just how many eggs she has. I plan to check every evening now as I am sure we’ll have a hatch over the weekend!
May 11 [from Nadine Fox] — Just an update from the 21st floor — They have been quiet all week and we have only seen a couple of glimpses in the morning – none in the afternoon. This morning Connor(?) was soaring among the roof tops for about 10 minutes then landed atop the satellite tower above the QE towers on laurier for about 10 mins then soared around again for awhile. It was nice to see him (her?) for that long again. they have not been sitting on “our” corner all week.
May 8 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — I was on the roof again today, as I have been every few days but still cannot see the eggs. That bird just won’t move! I watched her for quite a while as she looked around. Someone had to be doing something in the crawl space behind her as she looked in that direction several times. Eventually she dozed off.
I’ll be going up daily starting Thursday, weather permitting, until we have babies. Please, those of you working with a window toward the nest ledge, please keep an eye open and let me know if their behaviour changes.
News about Hamilton falcons
from Mike Street, May 8, 2007First Peregrine Falcon Chick of 2007 at Sheraton Hamilton Hotel
The Hamilton Community Peregrine Project, coordinated by the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club, is pleased to announce the arrival today of the first Peregrine Falcon chick of 2007 at the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel. Four eggs were laid, so with luck three more chicks will hatch. Birders can keep an eye on the chicks here.
May 6 [from Phil Maillard] — Yesterday at 1 p.m. Diana was on the southwest corner of the Crowne Plaza taking a much deserved break. At 2:45 p.m., Conner was on the same corner watching over the nest area.
April 29 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — The camera on Constitution Square is running this year, to the website of the Canadian Peregrine Foundation. It is static rather than running video, and refreshes the photo rapidly. I checked it this morning and can see the nest area. Hopefully On Monday they can zoom in closer so you can see a falcon on the nest. Maybe we can see the eggs whenever the birds switch positions. Webcam on Canadian Peregrine Foundation web site
From Phil, 1:15 pm — Both Eve and I can see Diana sitting on one of the light fixtures half way down on Tower C. After we went for coffee, about a half hour later, she was gone.
April 10 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Yes, we are brooding, at least, Diana is. Chris Traynor and I went up on the roof of the Constitution Square Tower 2 this afternoon around 4:30. Diana is in the same nest location as last year, between the 2nd and 3rd columns from the north end on the west side. She was facing in when we got there. Once while we were watching, she turned around so she was facing our direction. She turned whatever was under her, but we could not tell if it was 1 or more. That will come in future visits. For now it was just fine to see her on her nest! My estimate of hatching date is on or near the 13th of May. Stay tuned!!
April 3 [from Marian] — When I arrived at the corner of Kent and Queen this morning, I was just in time to see Connor mate with Diana on the southeast corner of Tower C. I watched Connor for a while as he soared above making a few passes over Tower C before landing on the antenna of Tower C.
April 1 [from Phil] — 11:55 am: Connor is at the northwest corner of the Crowne Plaza and Diana is one pillar down from that corner. There is a fair bit of vocalizing. At one point Connor disappears inside the nest area while Diana stays right where she is.
March 30 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — I was over to see our falcons today around 11 am. First I was invited in to Scotia McLeod to watch from their windows on the 21st floor of Constitution Square Tower 1. What a view they have! I wouldn’t get any work done.
Diana was sitting and sitting on the southwest corner. Just when I had packed away the camera and was leaving, Connor arrived and there was mating! He then flew around the hotel twice and disappeared.
I then went onto the roof of Tower 1 to check the west side. Connor was sitting near the old nest area and Diana was still at her corner. He left soon after my arrival and I didn’t see him again. She was still sitting, softly calling, so I took a couple of photos and left. She was still there when I reached the sidewalk.
Keep your eyes open! I have a feeling she will nest in the same area as last year. Lets hope she lays eggs soon.
March 24 [from Kelly Hislop] — On Saturday March 24, Rod Bhar (Macnamara Field Naturalists Club) and I watched a juvenile peregrine falcon flying along the south shore of the Ottawa River, at the east end of the Deschenes Rapids. What drew our attention was the squawking of a relatively tightly clustered group of gulls in hot pursuit of what turned out to be the falcon carrying a live bufflehead. A few gulls swooped at the falcon but eventually the gulls gave up and dispersed. The peregrine falcon flew across the open water to the ice, where it landed, standing on its prey for a time before pecking at the neck of the still-living duck. The job was soon done and we watched as the peregrine alternated between plucking feathers and feeding. It was during this period, watching through a scope, that we were able to positively determine that it was a juvenile peregrine falcon and a male bufflehead. We left before the falcon finished feeding but it had decapitated the duck and was well into devouring the body. Anyway, I hope that this information is useful to you. In any case, it was an amazing and dramatic thing to witness!
March 14 [from Marian] — I had an opportunity to watch a bit of flying from the falcons this morning. At times it was difficult to keep track of them as they did not stay long when they landed. I first saw one land on the southwest corner of the Crown; then twice on Tower B. At one point there was one on Tower B and the other on the east side of the Crown. This was the first time for some time that I have seen both Connor and Diana together. When I looked back at Tower B, the other one had disappeared. Shortly after the one on the Crown Plaza took to the air and disappeared from site. The last sighting I saw was when I was waiting for the light to change at Albert and Kent. One was coming in for a landing on the Queen Street side of Tower B (or maybe the Radisson). A minute later I saw the other (or maybe the same one) makes the exact same approach. By the time I got to Queen Street neither were in site.
[from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — You should be seeing more of this flying as the days progress into spring! I expect to start climbing to the roof sometime in the first part of April to check for nesting once Diana isn’t being seen as much. However, courtshop and mating should be seen by some of you before I do that. “Falcon Fever” is in the air!
[from Cathi] — I saw Diana cleaning out the old nest area last week. Today she was measuring for curtains, lol, walking around the area.
February 16 [from Marian] — There was a falcon hanging out on the east side of the Crown Plaza today between columns 5 and 6. I believe it to be Connor. I first saw him this morning on my way to work. He was still there when I passed by at 12:30 and again around 4:15. No sign of Diana.
January 29 [from Eve Ticknor, FalconWatch coordinator] — Phil Maillard and I were in the vicinity of the Crowne Plaza around noon today. We observed Connor with a fresh kill on the southwest corner of the ledge. Diana was not in sight, though. About a half hour later we passed by the same area and Connor was not in sight, either.