Yes!

I stopped by the Data Centre yesterday (Wednesday) and found one of the adults perched next to the nest. Interesting. Soon, it climb back into the nest, but stood there, hunched over, rather than hunkering down flat as usual. Also interesting. Based on the behaviour, I suspected there was either a chick already or hatching in progress, but I couldn’t see anything other than the adult Peregrine.

So I returned this evening (Thursday), and found an adult standing in the nest. I thought it seemed small and rather dark, so guessed it was Ivanhoe. My suspicions were confirmed five minutes later when a much larger and browner adult landed on the ledge. Rowena had left Ivanhoe to tend to the nest, but now she was back and eager to take over from him.

As the two adults switched places, I saw it! The top of a round, white, fluffy head and a hint of dark eyes barely peeking above the edge of the nest. It was a fairly fleeting but unmistakable glimpse, repeated a few minutes later.

Did I get pictures? Oh come on — you try! Best I could do was this photo of Rowena looking all proud and maternal … or something. Use your imagination!

I’ll try to get more views in the coming days to determine the chick’s age, so stay tuned. But it’s probably safe to say we’ll have a the Falcon Watch starting in late June.

P1150738

Still waiting …

I last checked the Data Centre nest site on Friday. Rowena is still on the nest, and no sign yet of chicks. She’s always facing into the corner, it seems, so all I see are her wingtips.

I will continue checking as often as I can.

May 9, 2014.

Data Centre, May 9, 2014.

Dining downtown

Lately, I’ve been doing daily patrols for our new FLAP initiative in Ottawa, looking for birds injured or killed by collisions with downtown buildings. Naturally, whenever I’m near the Delta Hotel at Albert and Lyon, I look up to see if the resident Peregrines are there.

I haven’t seen them in about three weeks, which might seem worrisome but for the fact that there has been plenty of evidence that they are around. Twice I’ve found parts of Northern Flicker wings — their bright yellow shafts are a dead giveaway, so to speak.

This morning’s find, though, was rather more macabre: two very fresh flicker heads, plus an entire Flicker wing. These were clustered on the sidewalk directly below the northeast corner of the Delta. Tellingly, one man who saw me taking photos just smiled and looked up knowingly. Another man pointed up and said nonchalantly to the woman next to him: “C’est les faucons.”

NOFL 1NOFL 2NOFL 3

Who would have thought, 20 years ago, that people living and working in downtown Ottawa would react so casually to Peregrine Falcon food scraps at their feet?

While I do feel badly for those Northern Flickers, I also feel relieved to find strong evidence that Diana and Janus are nesting. How so? Well, for much of the year, I know I have a good chance of seeing one or both Peregrines at the Delta if I simply bother to look up. If I don’t see one, ever, in three weeks of daily visits, there are two logical explanations: 1) they’re not using their usual nest site or 2) one Peregrine is sitting on eggs and the other is off hunting for both. The ex-Flickers support the latter theory.

This’ll have to do for now

Rowena(?) on the nest at the Data Centre.

Rowena(?) on the nest at the Data Centre, April 25, 2014.

I dropped by the Data Centre this afternoon in the hopes of getting a clear view of Rowena on the nest. Through my scope, I could barely make out what looked like a pair of wingtips (literal wingtips, that is, not shoes). The photo above is the best I could do, digiscoping in a stiff wind.

Apparent nesting at Confederation Heights

Ivanhoe and Rowena appear to be incubating eggs at the Heron Rd. & Bronson nest site. As usual, we can’t actually see into the nest, so we can only guess at when we might see chicks. Most years, we expect the chicks to hatch in early May and fledge in mid- to late June.

At this point, we also don’t know if Diana and Janus have established a nest at the usual site at the Delta Hotel. We have not had roof access across the street at Constitution Square for the past two breeding seasons, which means there are only two ways to confirm the presence of eggs or chicks. One is to arrange for access to an office at 350 Albert that might have a view. The second is wait until there are chicks large enough and mobile enough to sit on a ledge.

There is a third possibly: that we will see no eggs or chicks by July, and be forced to conclude, once again, that the nest has failed.

I haven’t seen either downtown falcon on my early morning FLAP patrols downtown, but that’s to be expected if one is incubating eggs out of sight and the other is busy hunting.