Falcon Watch update, Citizen article & sad news

For the third year in a row, it appears that our local Peregrine Falcons have failed to produce chicks. Unfortunately, we are now well past the date when the four eggs should have hatched, which means there will again be no Falcon Watch this summer.

Some of you may have read an article about the falcons in the June 12 edition of the Ottawa Citizen that implied an impending hatch. This story was written without any input from us, and features photographs that were taken without our knowledge or consent. We have contacted both the Ottawa Citizen and the Delta Hotel with regard to the facts of the story as well as the reckless way in which the photographs were obtained by accessing the hatch to the roof ledge. The Falcon Watch has been working with local building managers for many years to ensure that the falcons and their nest are not disturbed or put in danger, so we are very disappointed that such a significant breach has occurred. As many of you likely remember, it was a Citizen photographer who caused the falcons to abandon their eggs at the Marriott Hotel a few years ago.More seriously, we also regret to advise you that one of our birds (Connor, we believe) has not been seen in several weeks. We were hoping to confirm the missing falcon’s fate before saying anything publicly, but the Citizen article makes it necessary to share this distressing news with you now.

In checking on the nest this year (from a respectful distance across the street), neither Chris Traynor nor I have seen more than one falcon at a time, and we have received no reports of both birds together since at least early May. We think that Diana has been incubating the eggs alone, and has been forced to leave them unattended to go hunting. This alone would have affected the eggs’ viability. However, we think it’s more likely that Connor’s age — at least 15 — has been a factor in the lack of a successful hatch for three years running. His age may also be a clue to his fate. Connor has been a familiar sight to Falcon Watch volunteers and a devoted dad to many chicks over the years, so we are all very saddened by this apparent loss.

That being said, we have not been able to confirm our fears, so if you have any recent sightings, please share them by leaving a comment on this post or by email to ottawa@falconwatch.ca.

Thank you for your interest in Ottawa’s Peregrine Falcons. Let’s hope Diana (possibly with a new mate) has better success next year.

Anouk Hoedeman
Ottawa Peregrine Falcon Watch

Eve Ticknor, former Falcon Watch coordinator, asked that I share the following:

Although we knew this day would come, it saddens me as well.  I have watched him for 14 years, first with Horizon and then with Diana, laughing at his antics, learning more about peregrine behaviour.  Professionally we are not supposed to develop what we think of as a relationship with these birds.  Humanly, it is difficult not to.  I am sure another male will come along, and that Diana should have a new mate come spring, and new chicklets.
I give Thanks for all our volunteers over the years of the Falcon Watch, for your observations, hours of standing on street corners looking upwards, for aiding our chicklets when needed.  I give Thanks to Chris Traynor and Anouk Hoedeman for their direction, and for endless trips up to a rooftop to check for a nesting peregrine and then to check on how many eggs.  And I give Thanks to Nancy Scott for her hours of contacting and scheduling volunteers into shifts, and for her hours spent on street corners.

Eve Ticknor, Past Coordinator


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