Too hot to fly? Nope!

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day!

Canada Day at the Data Centre was no holiday! It was hot and sticky for volunteers, but apparently not too hot for Peregrine Falcon chicks to take to the skies.

Rémy took the first shift, and watched the three chicks chase each other through the air. One — probably Luis — disappeared for a long flight that lasted about 20 minutes, but returned to his sisters on the roof by the time I got there.

Susanne soon joined me, and we watched the chicks pose for Canada Day photos above the big logo on the west side of the building. That done, they napped for a while, with a little head or wing occasionally popping into view on the roof.

July 1, 2014


Rick arrived in time for another long chase, this time in pursuit of a parent, followed by more napping. Then Chris and Marie dropped by. More chasing and napping. This meant we had to occasionally make a round of the building to see where the chicks ended up. It’s not exactly a short walk around the Data Centre — maybe a kilometre if you stay back from the buildings to check the roof edges — but today it was exhausting.

Dominique arrived for the afternoon shift in time for another flight display, but by the time the others left, she and I could only find one chick and one adult. Chris texted to say there was a second chick visible on the roof as they cycled away, but we were still down one.

We soon saw chicks and adults flying again, but couldn’t see who was who or where everyone ended up. We did noticed one chick swoop low around to the east side, and when I went to investigate, I saw an adult disappear to the east, and Rowena on the east side of the building. Dominique made another round and reported a pair of falcon-like birds flying around another building in the distance, east of the Data Centre.

We suspected that Luis was on prolonged training flight with Ivanhoe, but I couldn’t find them in my scope, so I couldn’t confirm it was father and son. So we waited, eyes scanning the horizon and all sides of the building in case they flew back to the Data Centre. Nothing for a very long time, except sweat, a few drops of rain, more sweat, and one chick flying from the roof to a ledge on the south side. It preened, then settled in for a nice faceplant. Rowena disappeared from the east side.


July 1, 2014

When Gretchen and Tony arrived for the evening shift, I was horribly overheated and tired, but still worried about two chicks’ whereabouts. Dominique did eventually spot a second falcon chick on the west side of the roof, but we were still down one.

There was another flight, with a chick chasing Ivanhoe west over Bronson Ave. As I followed them with my binoculars, I spotted another falcon on the southeast corner of the Canada Post building. The missing chick? I fetched my scope and, after waiting for the bird to turn around, confirmed that it was Rowena. Rats! (Niice to see her, but I was hoping for one of her offspring.)

After training Tony and Gretchen on Falcon Watch duties, Dominique and I, both exhausted by the heat, went home. I asked our new volunteers to try to find the third chick, and promised to return in a couple of hours.

When I came back around 7:30, they reported three chicks on the roof. Oh happy (Canada) day! Ivanhoe showed up with an unlucky pigeon, which Rowena promptly claimed for herself. Luis, though, wanted his dinner too, so he flew down to his mother’s ledge to join in the feast.

His sisters, perhaps feeling left out but definitely hungry, made their way to the south side of the roof. One (probably Clover) soon flew down and managed to land next to her brother — her first accurate ledge landing — but the other (Clementine, the last to fledge) tried and missed.

Then she tried again, and again, and succeeded! Finally, I thought, the parents are both nearby and all three chicks are on one ledge and will settle in for the night.

Unfortunately, Luis was not quite ready to settle in. Instead, he squabbled with his sister and knocked her right off the ledge! Poor thing. Her sister would have swooped right back up there, I think, but this one had neither the skills nor the energy to get back to the ledge.

After resting up, she tried, but missed, tried and missed again, and ended up doing the bat-cling on the wall before flying off at very, very low altitude toward the annex. From that low roof, she tried one more time to reach her sibling, and again missed.

Then disappeared. Again? Well, this time I found her without too much effort, sitting on a lower ledge on the Data Centre as the last sunlight faded away. And that’s where I left her for the night.

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