Not to be unpatriotic, but …

The big news today: Nancy arrived to join Tim on the morning shift only to find workers on the roof right over the nest, getting ready to hang a big Canadian flag on the south face of the Data Centre — right in front of the nest ledge. This was a surprise, because we’d asked for the flag — which must hang on all federal buildings in time for Canada Day, as per the government’s orders — to be installed on the east side, where it would be less likely to endanger a Peregrine Falcon chick just getting his wings.

Turns it it was the contractor’s mistake, and they corrected it, but not before causing our falcon family a lot of obvious anxiety. After a fruitless attempt to chase the workers away from the nest, Rowena joined Ivanhoe and Pringle on the west side of the building to wait out the intrusion. Kudos to Nancy for raising the alarm, and to Tim McNally of SNC-Lavalin for taking quick action and also making sure the flag was hung lower and further to the north, to avoid blocking the falcons’ access to their “larder”, the ledge where they cache their food.


In other news …

Tim (the volunteer, not the SNC-Lavalin guy) had to leave late in the morning, I joined Nancy after 12, and Pringle spent most of the afternoon sleeping or perching on the west wall. He took a couple of short flights from ledge to ledge and another very long one, in which he disappeared from view for a few minutes, then reappeared in the distance from the direction of Hog’s Back. The first time a falcon chick flies so far that you lose sight of it  is always a heart-stopping moment, and a relief when it comes back.

After his little sortie, Pringle went back to calmly perching and preening on the south ledges. He had very little interaction with his parents, and did very little screeching. Either he was well fed in the early morning, or his parents had left him some food on the ledges where we couldn’t see it.

Nancy and I didn’t really think Pringle wasn’t going to exert himself much more after his one long flight, and he certainly didn’t look inclined to more activity. As does happen from time to time (okay, often in anticipating falcon behaviour), we were wrong. At around 5:30 he rather abruptly flew behind the building. We expected him to loop around, as he often does, but he didn’t come back. So I went looking for him and found him perched on the northwest corner of the roof. He right away took off again, this time circling over the buildings and parking lot for a minute, taking a little test dive, and then flying southwest.

This time, Nancy and I were able to track him off and on as he soared over the area south of Heron, between Bronson and Hog’s Back. He was flying with one of the adults, but they were so far away and high up that we completely lost them for what seemed like an eternity. I eventually made my way up to the highest point on Bronson and scanned the horizon, but still could not see them. In these situations, there’s little to do but wait and watch the sky, so we did — for a full 17 minutes until he reappeared and landed smoothly on a ledge. Dominique had dropped by in the meantime, and Frank soon followed, which was a relief because Nancy and I had to sit for a minute to calm down and let the adrenaline settle.

I left pretty soon after, but Nancy later reported that Pringle took another long flight, this time disappearing for half an hour. He probably heard about the Escapades Music Festival  happening at the RA Centre this weekend, and is training so he can get as far away as possible from the deep thump-thump-thump we heard during tonight’s sound check. We’re concerned that the loud, bone-rattling bass will seriously disturb the falcons and damage their hearing. With Pringle still building his strength, they won’t simply abandon their home base for three days straight. So we’ve alerted the festival organizers to the fact that there’s a Peregrine Falcon family just up the hill from their megaspeakers, and we hope they’ll be kind enough to turn down the bass a little.

UPDATE (28 June, 1 p.m.): The festival organizers say they are looking into ways to mitigate some of the noise.



One thought on “Not to be unpatriotic, but …

  1. I stopped by the CRA about 4:30 today. There’s a falcon on the west side, not sure if it’s Pringle or Rowena.