Daily Updates - June, 1997
Brian Burgon reports: After some indication that four chicks were in the nest on Friday, we were able to confirm that number today in the afternoon.
Brian Burgon reports: Could see four chicks clearly.
Brian Burgon reports: Banding of the four peregrine chicks in the Sheraton Hotel nest was to have taken place on the morning of June 11. We have been monitoring the activities of the birds for several days and on Monday, June 9 we saw one of the chicks hop up onto the ledge which surrounds the nest scrape. On Tuesday morning, two chicks were seen on the ledge.
-- On Tuesday afternoon, I discussed this development with Bruce Duncan, Staff Ecologist with the Hamilton Region Conservation Authority. He expressed concern that the chicks might be too old to band: they might jump out of the nest when approached by our rock climber, with disastrous results. On Wednesday morning, we viewed the chicks "up close" and at least one of them had feathering that indicated it might try to fly prematurely. Officials from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, who were handling the banding, decided that the operation was too risky for the birds.
-- Reporters, photographers and videographers from the Hamilton Spectator, ONTV and The Discovery Channel were on hand and took pictures of the birds at the nest site under the supervision of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. The chicks are developing quickly and will likely take their first flights within the next week or so. If a chick is rescued from the ground after an unsuccessful first flight, it will be banded before being put back onto the roof of the hotel.
-- Good news arrived from Etobicoke on Tuesday evening. I reported earlier that a second peregrine nest had been spotted at Bloor and Islington. Observers there have been able to read the leg band of the female - she is "Alberta" one of the two chicks introduced into and fledged from the Sheraton nest in 1995. Four chicks have hatched in the Etobicoke location.
-- Monitoring efforts for the Hamilton nest are being coordinated by the Hamilton Naturalists' Club. The person in charge is Nadine Litwin, and she will be spearheading the project from an office provided for her on the west wall of Stelco Tower 18th Floor.
Thursday, June 12
Brian Henley reports: One of my fondest memories of Alberta took place in 1995, on a hot July evening/next morning combo. All three fledglings were just starting to get a hang of this flying thing..then Alberta who had landed on the roof of a nearby low two-story building decided to try and fly up to the roof of an office building. But she could only get so far up the adjacent high rise office tower, then lost momentum. She was close, but only got up to a floor or two below the roof. She landed face first on a narrow window ledge, back to us, face right against the window and too afraid to move!
-- Panic with the spotters below: call the fire department? Go to the roof and plead with her to try and fly again? A calming voice suggested that we all chill out and let it unfold without getting crazy.
-- Darkness descended with Alberta in her predicament. Back below the office building. well before dawn the next morning -- there she was, still face first against that window.
-- After a while her mother and father made a few passes near Alberta, crying out for her to take a chance! Soon enough, Alberta pushed herself out backwards from the ledge and very nicely flew back to the nesting site. We all cheered and were very relieved.
-- I'm pleased that Alberta, who was not born in Hamilton, but who was introduced into the eyrie and raised here, is doing well in Toronto -- but she'll always be a good Hamiltonian in our hearts.
Friday, June 13
Brian Henley reports: One of the chicks is very precocious and might well try to fly in the not-too-distant future.
-- This morning at 6 a.m., just as I arrived on Commonwealth Square across from the Sheraton, I saw the male moving east. The female adult and one of the chicks, the biggest, were very active and readily visible on the ledge. The chick sort of ran/hopped once, while stretching his still somewhat downy wings a bit.
-- About 40 minutes the old man returned with a kill. His arrival was greeted with great noise levels, but, interestingly, as soon as he dropped the dead bird, type unknown, she picked it up and took it to a nearby roof. Great complaints...but about 15 minutes later she brought the kill over and pulled it apart for the chicks.
Saturday, June 14
Brian Henley reports: In conversation, I discovered that in 1995, there were definitely two males, and one female fledged from Sheraton ledge..but, only one male was born locally, his name was Hamilton. The other two were both hatched out west, the male was named Wainwright, the female was Alberta.
-- Memories of Alberta were shared this morning: she was the heaviest of the three, the last to fly and the last to leave the area in the late summer. She also had a distinctive, kind of clumsy, way of flying.
-- The lady I was chatting to this morning remembered her last sight of Alberta...the others were long gone, but she kept hanging around awhile longer. She took to perching on the corner of the Art Gallery roof, which is only a few stories high. Everyone could see her markings so well, she was very calm..then, one day she just up a flew off never to be seen around here again.
-- Lots of activity on the nesting site today. I was there by 5:15 a.m., and all 4 chicks were very loud. One, the largest, has only a tiny bit of down of left and is getting less rotund looking. The three others still have much down, although down could be seen floating down from the site.
-- The precocious one did do a little ledge "running" and wing exercise flapping. At one point, he (or she?) was right on the edge of the ledge, leaning forward flapping the wings a lot. But then he backed off. A guy from the ministry offered the opinion that the big one may well try to fly in the next 3 or 4 days.
-- Only one feeding between 5:15 and 7:30...and only two or the four got any of the carcass. Nadine, who is co:ordinating things, said that yesterday, the chicks were fed often and not everyone was hungry at the same time.
-- She said that they slept a lot yesterday afternoon, but more activity was observed from about 6 p.m. until 8 or so.
-- We have very few volunteers so far...I pray that when these guys try to fly that there will be no need for a rescue.
Monday, June 16
Brian Henley reports: Two of the four chicks tried to fly this morning. The little guy (girl?) which I saw dive bomb in a very inadequate attempt to fly, landed on the roof of the Art Gallery, maybe 15 floors below the nest. This happened at 5:50 a.m.
-- I saw it again at noon: stressed, pitifully crying for help. My heart broke, although I do know that eventually it could probably fly again when it was very hungry and a few days older and bigger.
-- I went on 2 local radio stations to appeal for help to monitor these guys.
-- A rescue for the Art Gallery strandee was initiated. Someone wrapped it in a towel, placed it in a box, and rode it up the elevator and back to the roof of the Sheraton Hotel. It wasn't placed in the nest, just nearby. It was banded at that time. This is too much. I feel as much anxiety for these chicks as I do for my own kids.
-- The other one who left the nest flew somewhat better, but only got as far as the roof of the adjacent high rise office building.
-- Both chicks are now out of the nest while one or the other parent stands nearby. This has been a very busy and stressful day on the Falcon Watch. Thunderstorms are predicted too.
-- Before the chicks took the plunge (?) an adult put on a spectacular aerial display as the sun was rising, passing back and forth.
Nadine Litwin reports: "Sheraton" (the first to be
banded, and named after the Hotel in which he was hatched and banded) left the nest in the
very early morning hours, and landed on the roof of the Art Gallery across the street from
the Sheraton. He spent the morning walking, hopping and flapping along the ledges of the
roof. He also discovered that he could hop a small distance between two columns. However
he missed one of his jumps and landed on the sidewalk. He was speedily rescued, and by
2:00pm he was banded and released back to the roof of the Sheraton Hotel.
-- "Fairclough" also fledged but was more successful, managing to fly to the roof of the Standard Life building immediately to the west of the Sheraton Hotel. He spent the night perched on that building through heavy rains before venturing over to the Ellen Fairclough building the next day.
Tuesday, June 17
Brian Henley reports: Things are a little calmer, but only a little, this morning..all four fledglings are accounted for, although two have tried to fly and now are off the nesting site.
Nadine Litwin reports: The Ellen Fairclough building is situated to the southeast of the Sheraton Hotel. "Fairclough" landed on the 9th floor ledge of that building where he spent the better part of the day fluttering against the window. His nickname comes from this event. His parents tried to coax him off the ledge with fly-bys, calling, and food. Finally at about 2:00 in the afternoon and with his parents with him, he flew back to the nest. His return was accompanied by applause and thumbs-up from onlookers.
Wednesday, June 18
Brian Henley reports: Anyway, today has been VERY quiet -- not much happening at all. I was on site at 5:00 am exactly; it's 9:30 now -- no feedings; not much flying at all by the adults either..
-- It is a drizzily rainy morning, and very foggy now too; but it was not that way at dawn.
-- Yesterday, I had an encounter which I swear I remember as long as I live. I had been on Commonwealth Square for 90 minutes or so. One adult had been flying back and forth in front of the nesting site a lot, then it flew over to my position, hovered right above my head no more than maybe 15 feet up. There were no cries of alarm or attack. It back beated the wing movements for maybe a minute then flew off. I could see every detail of its markings. I know it is silly to impose human characteristics on birds, but was it a greeting, an investigation or a bonding of two energies who are on the outlook for the welfare of those 4 young ones?
-- As I write the two more sensible chicks remain in the nest, and two are on the roof of the Sheraton Hotel, but not on the nest ledge. One has been banded. After it landed on the Art Gallery roof, it was hopping along the roof and fell to the sidewalk below. It was rescued immediately.
-- Ministry of Natural Resourses personnel were called and arrived within the hour, banded it and took it up the elevator back to the roof. Bruce Duncan, staff naturalistwith the Hamilton Region Conservation Authority and a real expert on raptors generally, examined the banded falcon and said that this one should never have tried to fly as it wings are barely developed.
-- The one which has always been more advanced flew several times between the hotel and the Ellen Fairclough Building across the street. One time, it hit a strong wind current, panicked and flew to a narrow window ledge on the Fairclough Building. Face against the window, the fledgling provided some excitement for the office workers on that floor.
-- Nadine requested gently that the workers really should try not to alarm the chick, they all readily agreed and kept their distance. Four hours later, it flew back to the hotel with no problem.
Nadine Litwin reports: "Sheraton" flew again, this time successfully to the roof of the Standard Life building, then above it on thermals. He was accompanied by an adult. He spent the night on the second-from-the-top window ledge of the Standard Life building. This little fellow was an enthusiastic and exuberant flier.
Thursday, June 19
Brian Henley reports: Much more activity to report on today -- and news from a previous day's adventures.
-- As the gathering light filled the eastern sky before 5 a.m., I was easily able to locate 3 peregrines on the nesting site, one was the adult female. The other two chicks were out of the nest, one very prominent on the corner of the adjacent Standard Life Building, one on that same building's roof, but further back and not always near the edge.
-- It didn't take long for the two chicks to be flying back and forth from the Standard Life to the Sheraton. The landings were a little wobbly and hesistant, but not bad flying efforts by each.
-- The adult male spend the first two hours of daylight not doing much at all. One flight, but mostly perched high and away from the nesting site.
-- The adult female did fly from the nest to Standard Life, back to the Sheraton hotel, and then off on a hunt. She returned after a 20 minute hunt with a pigeon for the two remaining chicks in the nest.
-- In speaking to Bruce Duncan who banded the fallen male (being dubbed Sheraton for his name, I believe), it was quite exciting getting the male chick back on the roof. The assembled rescue/banding party got onto the roof all right, but Bruce had trouble releasing the bird. Not only was Bruce being divebombed at great speeds by both adults, but Bruce forgot to take his watch off, so the male chick's talons caught hold of the wristband and would not readily let go. Then, after the talons were loosened from the watch band, the chick, Sheraton, caught hold of Bruce's wedding ring!
-- We have no photographs to my knowledge, but Brian Burgon, former president of the Hamilton Naturalists' Club who, may be able to help. A provincial employee has been taking pictures from the roof of the Fairclough Building, even though he has been asked to stop. But still he continues to upset the adults very much when he ventures on that roof.
-- Sheraton -- the chick, not the hotel -- is getting very saucy. He flys with a ruddered unevenness at times, and can land a little funny too. But he was seen flying at a good speed beside his mother last evening, doing a little showing off.
-- The flyers are not getting fed as often as the two remaining in the nest. Sheraton hastaken to flying back to the nest on occasion when there is food present. We still need more volunteers badly.
Nadine Litwin reports: At the end of the day thunderstorms were coming in. All 4 chicks were observed in the nest with "mom" and "dad" perched nearby, one on the corner of the Standard Life building, the other on top of the Sheraton Hotel.
Thursday, June 19
Nathalie Lemieux reports
We just had a bit of excitement around here (the Wild Bird Clinic in Guelph). Nadine (I think that's her name), the coordinator of the Peregrine Watch in Hamilton just came in with one of the young males from their pair. He was found lying in the middle of the street at around 1 am. Apparently this little guy is a trouble maker - he has been flying since Monday and has already had one mishap. We plan to keep him in overnight and if all checks out OK, he'll be on his way home tomorrow.
Friday, June 20
Brian Henley reports: Score is 2 still in the nest, two out...parents fully accounted for as well.
-- This morning was relatively uneventful. When I arrived on the scene shortly after 5 a.m., there were three Peregrine forms on the nesting ledge of the Sheraton Hotel. As the sun was not up, and as the southern exposure of the hotel is very shadowy during the pre-dawn light, I'm guessing that the 3 were young ones in the nest. The father was on the Stelco Tower, the largest office tower in the immediate vicinity; the mother (I think) on the corner of the Fairclough Building, and another youngster (I think) was to the west of the nest, on the corner of the Standard Life Building.
-- I was not on site last evening but was told this morning that there was a bit of a reunion last night. All four chicks were together again on the nesting ledge. Three of them engaged in some good-natured ( I hope ) pushing and jostling, while the fourth kind of kept out of the action. During the last 90 minutes before sundown, there were two feedings for the four when they were all together on the ledge. During the second feeding, the same one who kept out of the jostling action, kept its distance again.
-- Two of the youngsters have names. The male who fell from the nest before my very eyes and who is now banded is named Sheraton. The other one who has been flying fairly well between buildings (but only short, sensible distances so far) has been named Fairclough -- sex unknown on this one.
-- In the nest is the chick only referred to as No. 3 at the moment. It is relatively active in terms of wing flapping exercises, a bit of running as well but never out of the nest yet. One of its characteristic stances is to have the right wing extended for long periods of time. It doesn't seem hurt or anything, just a weird posture at times. This one has absolutely no down left.
-- The fourth, also as yet unnamed, does have some down visible. It exercises fairly regularly too, especially the "running" bit with head down. It has not been out of the nest at all yet.
-- The spotter from the 18th floor of the Stelco Tower noticed that both chicks in the nest were laying on their sides, with legs fully extended behind them. They appeared to just be sleeping because they soon afterward were back on their feet again.
-- Sheraton does relatively little flying, but he is quite boisterous and does run around the roofs of whatever building he is on. Fairclough does fly every once in a while, but only short distances between roofs.
-- No feedings this morning until I left at 7:15 or so. As one of the best viewing areas is the parking lot beside the Convention Centre, a Peregrine spotter, usually Don, can be seen there a lot.
Nadine Litwin reports: "Sheraton" was picked up by the SPCA from King St. in front of the Sheraton Hotel around 2:00am. A pedestrian discovered him in the street and brought him to the attention of the Hotel security staff. Our 24-hour alert system didn't work so we didn't find out about "Sheraton" until about 6:00am. when one of the early morning observers arrived on the scene. We were not able to pick "Sheraton" up from the SPCA until their front office opened. He was then transported immediately to the University of Guelph's veterinary college (Wild Bird Clinic) where he was to remain under observation for the weekend.
Saturday, June 21
Brian Henley reports: Distressing news, and somewhat contradictory of yesterday's messages. It is hard to keep track of all six peregrines, and the early morning spotters, myself included, thought we had them all accounted for, but no.
-- At about 1 a.m., early Friday morning, Sheraton was found by a passerby on the sidewalk beside the hotel. It took awhile to summon everybody who needed to be alerted. Sheraton was taken into the hotel by security (I think) and placed in a wire cage. Nadine, and others did get to the hotel sometime later, and got it properly wrapped and in a cardboard box. As I'm sharing this news second hand, I hope I have the details reasonably clear.
-- Bruce Duncan was summoned to the hotel and determined that while Sheraton was not injured, his blood count was not satisfactory. Sheraton has been taken to the "hospital" in Guelph...condition unknown at this point, but Mike Street indicated that he may be observed there for about a week then brought back. I'll let you know what I find out as soon as I know, although I'll be out town from this afternoon until late Sunday.
-- This morning saw some particularly exciting action among the 3 remaining chicks and 2 adults. First of all, the adult male did little as usual -- only one short flight, and a couple gull drive offs. He was very visible, but not overly active. The two chicks left in the nest were very loud as the sun rose as usual. One of the last 2 to fly did have a short flight to an adjoining ledge, and, I think, to the Standard life and back quickly.
-- Fairclough was out of the nest a lot, but did go back a couple of times. The adult female was very busy for most of the time between 5 and 7:30 when I was on the scene. She passed by the nest several times, putting on an impressive flying demonstration for those in the nest. She also gave Fairclough three spectacular flying lessons, during which the two of them flew in tandem over the street, between the hotel and the Standard Life building. Swoops and turns, and some fair speed too.
-- Mike Street was on site with an excellent scope -- such views via the 800 power lens! The adult female does have quite a honker! Her beak is a bright orange and very prominent, much more so than the male. Great views of the chicks too.
-- About 6:30, Fairclough flew, and was headed to the rear (north side) of the Standard Life Building. I noticed that it was well below the roof line, and was not too confident in its wing beating. When I got around, Fairclough was one floor below the roof, clinging to a ledge, facing the window. Although he was in a somewhat awkward position, the ledge on this building is level so it was not too bad.
-- Mike brought around his scope, and we had a stunning view of Fairclough. Despite his location, he was calm, even preening his feathers a bit. Several times, it looked like it was peering straight down the barrel of the scope, very handsome fellow indeed. Actually, I'm not sure Fairclough is a male.
-- Mike went back to the Board of Education parking lot. We were in communication via radio. At the same time as I noticed Fairclough turning his head from one side to the other, the adult female returned with some food. Great noise from her and the other two chicks. Fairclough calmly pushed off from the ledge and flew back to the nesting ledge for some food.
-- Later, the adult female made several passes by the nest. Fairclough left the nest for his usual spot on the Standard Life building, and the other two chicks were active. One did leave the nest for the next ledge briefly then returned.
-- The adult female did go on the roof of the hotel near the nest, had some food with her and appeared to be trying to attract one of those on the nest to come over.
-- One more flying demonstration between the "mom" and Fairclough capped an exciting morning.
Nadine Litwin reports: At about 3:00 in the afternoon a staff
member of the Sheraton Hotel called to report one of the peregrine chicks, a female later
nicknamed "Stelco", sitting at the overpass between the Hotel and the Convention
Centre. She had been noticed on camera by the Board of Education security staff in their
parking lot (right across the street from the Sheraton Hotel) apparently drinking from a
puddle. She was scared up to an automobile, then flew down King St. to the overpass, which
is just a bit lower than the Art Gallery roof. She decided to perch there for a while,
right over King St., while our hearts stopped. She was intrigued with a robin that went
berserk when it saw her. In the meantime a sparrow was intrigued with her and came in for
a closer look (!). There were only 2 volunteers at the time, spotting from the Stelco
Tower. So FalconWatch mobilized another 7 for this rescue because of the several different
directions in which "Stelco" could have flown, none of them safe for her.
Tourists were using the overpass to go over to the Convention Centre, theatre-goers were
coming and going, and traffic was very heavy. She was rescued, banded and released to the
roof of the Sheraton by 9:30pm.
-- "Spectator" also made her first flight today. In the evening she flew over to the roof of the Standard Life building.
Sunday, June 22
Nadine Litwin reports: "Spectator" was discovered by HNC member Mike Street in the very early morning hours in a small tree beside the Art Gallery air conditioning unit (right across the street from the Sheraton Hotel). Mike kindly provided a more secure platform for her but it wobbled and she decided not to stick around. She headed for the larger trees just outside the Board of Education. She was safe there, away from traffic and people. However any attempt by volunteers to approach the trees was countered by her parents' deafening ka-ka-ka. That stopped everybody. A special watch was set up to monitor her flight home which she managed to do over a 10-hour period. She made it home by flying to progressively higher perches on nearby buildings. Her parents were in attendance throughout the entire (long) event.
Monday, June 23
Brian Henley reports: All four Hamilton Peregrine chicks have flown, and all four have names. Sheraton and Fairclough you have been told about before. The two chicks who remained in the nest are now Stelco and Spectator (both began to fly on Saturday afternoon/evening).
-- Spectator is pictured in today's Hamilton Spectator as it was discovered after 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon in the Board of Education parking lot. We do not have enough volunteers for sunrise to sunset coverage. Spectator was found drinking from a huge puddle left by the storm. When he got there no one knows for sure. He was approached by the parking lot attendant; it flew to the roof of an overhead covered walkway across King street and remained there for several hours.
-- Just before sunset, Spectator tried to fly up to the roof of the Ellen Fairclough Building (a very big building), ran out steam close to the top and, instead of landing on window ledge, it hit a blank brick wall, tumbled backwards to Art Gallery roof, then a few moments later, gathered itself and flew back to the nest.
-- This morning at 5, all 3 chicks were in nest, both adults present. There were no flying lessons, and no feeding until much later in morning. The only action was the adult male chasing away an interfering gull.
-- Sheraton remains in hospital with a low white blood cell count, and is considered to very susceptible to infection. Also, there is concern because Sheraton is not eating at all -- he refused quail, even! So what to do ? Local raptor experts and MNR people seem to want Sheraton back on site immediately. It's unclear why this has not happened. I have called the local falcon monitoring office often but status of this situation is unclear at moment.
-- P.S. Incident of interest. Fairclough has become a confident, adept flyer and can be hard to monitor as he goes farther afield every day. Anyway on Sunday evening, the adult female brought back a kill, then set to pulling it apart on a hotel ledge near the nest. Instead of sharing her hunt, she ate most of it herself. Fairclough annoyed at this, flew to that ledge and pushed her away, and ate what little was left. Kids !
Nadine Litwin reports: In the evening, after radios and vests had been returned to the Sheraton hotel for safekeeping for the night, and when the last of the volunteers had headed for their cars, two chicks decided to do a last-minute fly-around. They crashed. One of the crashes was heard by security staff in the Standard Life building. One chick, believed to be "Fairclough", was spotted huddled in the corner of a ledge on the side of the Standard Life building where it remained for the night. The other landed on the ground. It turned out to be "Spectator". She was unhurt, feisty and spoiling for a fight. By then an exhausted Coordinator was feeling decidedly less loving towards these chicks. While "Spectator" probably could have found her way back up to a rooftop under different circumstances, the city lights and window reflections would have caused her confusion and harm. So "Spectator" was rescued, banded and released back to the roof of the Sheraton Hotel by 11:00pm.
Tuesday, June 24
Brian Henley reports: All 5, two adults now known simply as MOM and DAD, plus 3 fledglings Fairclough, Stelco and Spectator, were present and accounted for at dawn this morning.
-- We had a terrible, prolonged thunder, lightning, rain and hail storm overnight, leaving me wondering whether any of the falcons had suffered or were downed by the elements. All rode out the weather with no problem.
-- Very little action this morning, but last evening, not long before sunset, a female chick, Stelco, I believe, fell onto the sidewalk; she was rescued, banded and returned to the roof. The bander tells me that she was very feisty and left him somewhat bloodied for the experience.
-- Sheraton's health concerns remain. The dilemma was between those thinking that he had better be returned to the nest soon or he would not be accepted back and fed properly. The other viewpoint was that he was being medicated to help gain strength to fight infections and should not be returned until that medication (antibiotics ?) had been completely administered. As I write (11:15 a.m.), Sheraton is expected back from Guelph at any time. He has not been eating and concerns about his survival are about.
-- Anecdote of the morning -- DAD caught something small, a starling probably, and took it to the Standard Life building. The chicks were loud in anticipation of a feeding, but DAD was just teasing a little, I guess, as he took off to Stelco Tower where he ate it all himself. A few complaints were heard !
Nadine Litwin reports: "Sheraton" was finally
brought home from Guelph and re-united with his family. Ideally the Wild Bird Clinic would
liked to have given the chick a full 7-day treatment of medication. However MNR biologists
believed that an absence of 4-5 days was already too long for a safe reunion. But because
the parents had been excellent foster parents in the past (the assumption being made that
these were the same adults that nested in Hamilton in 1995) and because the chicks were
still returning together to the nest in the evening, MNR biologists suggested an early
morning release before the peregrine family's activities began. The compromise was 5 days
of medication and a mid-morning release from the clinic. Watchers were stationed in the
street, and on the 17th and 18th floors of the Stelco Tower.
-- Both parents took aim at the two volunteers doing the release the second they appeared on the roof of the Sheraton. As soon as he was released from the box, "Sheraton" leaned back on his tail and started to shriek. Pandemonium followed. Both adults immediately turned their complete attention to the chick, the female hovering and calling from above, the male shooting and whipping by. Two of the siblings remained together watching from the roof of the Standard Life while one flew over to "Sheraton". "Sheraton" hopped up to a perch, flapping his wings and calling all the while. "Dad" seemed to want "Sheraton" to stay on the roof but he headed off the roof anyway with his sibling. The two flew together, vocalizing all the while, appearing to chase each other, between the Sheraton Hotel and Standard Life building, then disappeared. One returned. Watchers had a few heart-stopping moments scanning the streets and sidewalks before someone noticed that there were now four chicks on the top of the Standard Life building.
-- The chicks rubbed bills, poked around, slept, and generally hung around together on that roof throughout the rest of the day. In the evening they made the short flight back to the nest. The adults in the meantime had taken up positions on neighbouring buildings where they remained until dark. There were no feedings or food drops today. Observers left after dark.
-- This turned out to be the last night of the old roosting pattern of 4 chicks in the nest and adults nearby.
Wednesday, June 25
Brian Henley reports: SHERATON is back and doing well...so far. When released onto the hotel roof yesterday, there was an unholy row. Both adoults were agitated, both were swooping menacingly towards the people trying to release SHERATON safely. Upon release, Sheraton was dive-bombed by DAD repeatedly, although MOM was ultimately successful in fending off this aggression by circling over SHERATON. SHERATON did try to fly almost immediately, and, though a little wobbly, did a good job. Within a half hour, all 4 chicks were together in the same area -- no problems. SHERATON, nor any of them, was fed last night.
-- This morning, MOM directed a prolonged flying lesson for 3 chicks -- all but SHERATON. Later, she caught a bird, flew right over the parking lot, two fledglings in pursuit. She dropped the prey twice, caught it again, then one of the fledglings caught it and took it away. Sheraton, a loner before anyway, was fed separately, and did not have to share anything with anybody. A call to the office tells me that SHERATON is doing fine this afternoon. All are accounted for.
Nadine Litwin reports: There was intense activity throughout
the morning, with feedings and food drops on average once an hour. In the evening all 4
chicks returned to the Sheraton for the night but not to the original nest. They gathered
instead on a ledge near the nest, something they had done once before
-- The last evening food delivery appeared to be a bat.
Thursday, June 26
Brian Henley reports: All was very quiet at the Peregrine Falcon area this morning. A smallish, but enthusiastic, band of observers were present by 5:15 a.m. There was relatively little action, except for MOM doing some flying training sessions. These were relatively brief, although observers enjoyed one during which MOM and two fledgings passed over the Board of Education parking lot at a relatively low level. Each demonstration involved MOM being chased by a chick and the speeds could get quite dramatic -- but these were brief interludes on a very low key morning.
-- One feeding was noted at about 6:45. Later in the morning a conversation with those present during the previous evening at sunset, indicated that there were several feedings after 7:30 or so. One feeding happened as late as 9:20, nearly a half hour or so after sunset. The observer is fully convinced that the kill was not a bird, but a bat.
-- About 6:20 a.m., I noticed some feathers falling down the front of the Standard Life Building and one fledgling was seen who looked like it was eating. There had been no drop-off to that point. It seems that the chicks were so well fed last evening, there were leftovers for the morning
-- Nadine reports that SHERATON is doing very well indeed. He flys with the others, he eats heartily and, as usual, continues his very eager, off-the-wall type of behaviour. The young ladies, STELCO and SPECTATOR, are good flyers, but far behind FAIRCLOUGH. SHERATON is better than the girls but not as good as FAIRCLOUGH. Incidentally, FAIRCLOUGH is the only one not banded, and that's because he has not been involved in any untoward incidents.
-- Already, we are sadly talking about the days when observers won't be necessary any more. As much as it is a committment and a drain at times to be part of this Peregrine watch, what a fantastic experience ! Something that will be sorely missed when our buddies fly away.
Nadine Litwin reports: "Sheraton" still doing very well even though the medication should have worn off by now. For the night the chicks gathered two ledges away from the nest.
Friday, June 27
Brian Henley reports: Except for one incident and one flying demonstration, it was very, very quiet on the Hamilton Falcon Watch this morning. There was a flyby, with one adult and one fledgling in the pre-dawn light. It appeared that their talons touched. A transfer of food practise ?
-- A little later, around 5:30, one adult was seen stooping from the Ellen Fairclough building corner perch, then zipping along King street very, very quickly. The adult was not as high as the Art Gallery roofline (I was on the Commonwealth Square). The same adult then retraced the flight path at a slower pace. Later, a dead crow was found near the roadside...presumbly that was the kill but for reasons unknown, the carcass was left. Too heavy ? Too near pedestrian and/or vehicle traffic ?
-- Last evening was very interesting. All 6 birds were in evidence, but, the range of perches for all is expanding significantly. A television antenna on a fairly distant apartment building was used for perching by two chicks and one adult. The antenna on top of Century 21 (Hamilton's tallest building, several blocks away from the hotel) was also used. Two kills and a definite transfer of food while in flight were witnessed.
Nadine Litwin reports: Chicks moved over to the old IBM building for the night.
Monday, June 30
Brian Henley reports: All 4 chicks are accounted for, but last evening or this morning, observers never have seen more than 5 falcons at any one time. More practises of transferring food in flight. Also, food is being dropped off in a variety of locations, sometimes relatively low. All chicks seem to be flying very well and are spreading their range widely. It's becoming very difficult to monitor them all.
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