The Canadian Peregrine Foundation
HAMILTON HOME PAGE ARCHIVES
Wednesday November 10
Marcel Gahbauer reports: Recent reports from the Hamilton Naturalists' Club indicate that Toledo and Dad are still hanging around downtown Hamilton. Presumably they will stay through the winter again, although only time will tell for certain.
Tuesday August 3
Marcel Gahbauer reports: While the adults are still being reported occasionally, we have heard of no confirmed sightings of George and Grace in quite a while. We would be interested in receiving reports from anyone who does see them - either in Hamilton or elsewhere, if they have already started to disperse. Please e-mail us with your observations.
Tuesday June 29
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: I saw the birds around occasionally this morning. They were flying around a little bit. As I was having lunch in the plaza behind the hotel, one of the chicks flew over the plaza screaming. I guess it was a bit of a farewell since today was my last official day of observation.
Bev Jenson reports: Toledo still shows up at our office
window, crashing into it, then settling on the roof top of the walk way chatting away.
Yesterday, I would think because of the heat, she lay front down, spread her wings
out on both sides of her, put her head to one side and started panting. After awhile
Today she came and brought or was followed by one of the chicks. Toledo left right away but the chick stayed for awhile. It was closer to the other building, so we couldn't see any id tags.
Monday June 28
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: The parents are still sticking around the nest area. The chicks are around much less than their parents. They are obviously trying to get away from home as much possible, just like so many other teenagers. I saw one (possibly two) bird flying way out to the east. One of the chicks dropped home for a bit and did a balancing act on a window washing rig on the top of a building. He was very unstable up there though and didn't stay long. The parents were around putting on a little show when some of the volunteers dropped by in the evening, just before dark.
Sunday June 27
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: There was little activity in the area I was in during the morning. As I arrived one of the adults was plucking a Mourning Dove on the Stelco building. Other than that I did not see the birds much until I was leaving. Just as I was leaving I saw at least three of the birds playing over King street. One of our volunteers also reported seeing all four birds flying out over the east end during the morning.
Saturday June 26
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: Not much activity today. The birds spent most of the time out of sight. There were some workmen working on a roof of one of the nearby buildings, which may have accounted for their not being around much. They would occasionally land on a building within view and then vanish again. I did manage to witness a parent chasing Gulls on two occasions.
Friday June 25
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: It was an exciting day for one of the chicks today. I saw her on the antennae of an apartment building in the morning. She disappeared for a few minutes and next time I located her, she was on the top of the Standard Life building, plucking feathers off of something. Since I didn't see any of the parents flying in the area, I can only assume that she caught it herself. However, after that exciting morning, there was very little activity from the birds. They spent the rest of the day mostly on Stelco, or out of sight.
Thursday June 24
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: The birds were a little more in evidence today. Toledo spent quite some time on the corner of the observation floor on Stelco. The birds were back more on their usual haunts, the Sheraton, Standard Life building and Stelco. I saw a very hungry chick this morning jump on Toledo's back to try and get a piece of her food. Toledo ignored that move, but eventual gave in to the chick's persistence. The birds were flying around a bit before I left for the evening.
Wednesday June 23
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: The birds were not much in view today. They seem to be wandering further from their nesting area. I saw Toledo and one chick on buildings further east than they have been observed before. I also saw one chick chase after a pigeon that wandered too close to her, but unfortunately she missed, and so went to bug Dad and Toledo for food. Otherwise there was not much action from the birds when I did see them.
Tuesday June 22
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: It was a fairly slow day today. There were two feedings this morning that I observed, but I did not see any in the evening. However, I did not see the birds very often today. I would occasionally get a glimpse of one or
the other flying around, but they did not seem to be staying put much today. There were a few chases between parent and chick, and once the two chicks flew by chasing each other. The chicks must be ranging further afield, as it is becoming harder to keep track of the two of them.
Monday June 21
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: The birds were all out doing acrobatics this morning. Upon arrival there were no birds in sight. After searching for about 15 minutes for the birds, Toledo and Grace appeared and executed a textbook aerial transfer as Toledo passed food to Grace. The chicks had a good breakfast and had some flight practice. After that Grace must have gotten a little hungry as she started plucking at an old leftover meal on the Thomson building. George came to investigate but Grace got protective and chased him off.
After plucking a few feathers she decided it wasn't worth it, and just took a nap next to it instead. The chicks spent a lot of time playing in the air together today. It seemed every time I caught sight of them they were chasing each other around. The evening shift went by with barely a sight of the chicks. They would appear long enough to be identified and then be gone again.
Sunday June 20
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: It was an exciting day for the last official day of Falcon Watch `99. The morning crew saw Toledo run into the Standard Life building and slide down it to land stunned on a low roof next to the Standard Life. After she had
recovered, they saw the four birds chasing after an unlucky pigeon. Dad caught the pigeon but ended up drooping it onto the balcony of the Sheraton. The chicks went down after it, and ate their meal down on the balcony. The later shift got a good look at a Kestrel that showed up for
the third day in a row and swooped at Dad. It landed on the Stelco building and then made its way over to the Sheraton, where it landed on the antenna. I had a good look at it in the scope. It certainly is a very brave little Kestrel, assuming it's the same bird. Some time later in the afternoon the watchers were in the parking look and saw a large bird soaring to the north of us. We took a look through the binoculars and saw a white tail. Then a white head was soon spotted, sure enough it was a Bald Eagle. That made it the third Bald Eagle spotted over downtown Hamilton during the watch. During the next shift the watchers were treated to the sight of Dad attacking a large hawk. So it was quite an eventful day, even without mentioning the parade that went by next to the parking lot. The birds were up to their usual acrobatics today, chasing each other around and flying high. We even saw Grace ambushing Dad. She would fly around Stelco building and dive at Dad as he was circling in front of Stelco. It was very hard to keep track of all the birds today, they were out of sight for long periods of time.
Starting tomorrow, June 21, we will not have volunteers in the parking lot, but I will be keeping a dawn and dusk eye on the falcons for at least another 10 days. The daily reports will continue
Saturday June 19
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: There was lots of activity from the birds today. The chicks and the adults were having a great time soaring around. There may possibly have been a food transfer between a parent and chick although it was hard to tell for sure. There were many games of tag among the birds. The watchers were having a much harder time, trying to keep track of four birds that kept flying all over the place. For the watchers it was like playing hide and seek. We spotted the birds hanging out in several places we hadn't seen them previously. They may just have been trying to get away from the loud music playing in the plaza downtown, although the chicks seemed to be enjoying it more than the parents. The chicks spent some time on Stelco overlooking the plaza. The Kestrel made a brief reappearance today, but only once and there weren't any big battles. George had a little trouble with a downtown apartment building landing. He ended up missing the railing and dropped onto somebody's porch. Dad flew over to the apartment to keep an eye on him. George must have been making a racket because we
saw him fly off and a short time later someone appeared on the porch looking around curiously. It must have been quite a sight for that person if they discovered George on their balcony! Other than that minor mishap the chicks seem to be doing very well. There weren't too many feedings today. The last one was around 8:00 p.m. when Dad came in with the kill and the chicks chased him off and plucked it themselves.
Friday June 18
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: The birds were all fairly quiet this morning, there was not much flying around. I guess they didn't like the competition for attention they were getting from the airshow practice. The Hamilton airshow is this weekend and lots of the participants were out practicing over downtown. All the noisy low flying jets didn't seem to bother the birds too much. The chicks spent most of the morning on the Board of Education, and the parents were also not flying around much. Around noon things picked up and we got to see the amazing flight capabilities of the Peregrines and compare it to the pilots. Things settled down again in the afternoon, with both chicks spending some time on the Sheraton hotel. Grace had a short bath in a puddle up on the roof, and Toledo waded through a puddle on the Standard Life building for a quick bath. Both chicks were up on the Board of Education for the evening, but right before dark were flying around. The chicks seemed a little less active than usual today, although after the rain and the cold last night they may just be enjoying the sun today. They were certainly hungry enough, and took any opportunity they could to steal food from Dad and Toledo. The parents were having a hard enough time today, putting up with a rampaging Kestrel. The Kestrel must have set up its territory near by,because in the morning and evening it would appear and harass whichever parent wandered too far east. There were some fairly impressive battles as Dad would chase the Kestrel, and then the Kestrel would gain the higher air and would start chasing Dad. Toledo looked a little battered after one skirmish with the Kestrel.
Thursday June 17
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: The chicks continue to make rapid progress in their flying lessons. We would often lose sight of one or the other chick as it headed out of our view. The chicks seem to be getting a lot of height now in their flight, Grace did some high soaring with her parents. Both chicks are often seen perched on the highest points of the downtown buildings. There were several games of tag between the birds, and the chicks occasionally touched talons. Once they even locked talons for a few seconds while tumbling through the air. The chicks even took after Dad and chased a few gulls. Most of their acrobatics were in the morning,, early afternoon, and late in the evening as we had some rain in the late afternoon here in Hamilton. All four birds stayed put for the rain, but after it stopped they were out and flying again. They were particularly active just before sunset. We saw one chick have a minor run in with the Stelco building, but he was fine. Fortunately that was the only bird that had a run in with the buildings today. The watchers this morning were treated to the sight of Toledo trying to attack her reflection on the Standard Life building. I also got a close up look of George chasing Dad off a kill and keeping him away when Dad wanted his fair share. Grace spent some time wandering around the machinery on top of the CIBC building. We were a little concerned for her safety, but she emerged from her adventures just fine. I think these two chicks are wannabe engineers because we always see them wandering around the cooling units and other machinery on the roofs.
Wednesday June 16
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: After getting some food and exercise first thing this morning, it was play time for the chicks. Some time after I arrived, I saw Grace on the roof of Standard Life building picking at something. I got a close look at it in the scope and discovered that Grace had a crumpled up paper that she was playing with. She was carrying it around and shredding it. Then both chicks took a nap on Standard Life building. After naptime was another playtime. Both chicks found a puddle on the roof and were splashing around and bathing in it. Then it was time for some more airtime. The chicks were doing lots of aerial acrobatics today. The chicks were playing tag and chasing after the parents. They looked to be practicing aerial transfers, touching talons. Grace seems to be living up to her name, and George is doing very well also. There were only a few awkward moments. The first one was when a bird hit the CIBC building and flew off quite low. We didn't get a good look at which bird it was. It was either Toledo or a chick. A while later in the evening a security guard saw Toledo hit a window and land on a low roof. She was there for some time but apparently recovered and eventually flew off. The chicks ended up for the night on the Stelco building, with Dad and Toledo keeping a close eye.
Tuesday June 15
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: The chicks are learning quickly. It is getting harder to keep track of the two of them. They would often go out for fairly long flights, and we'd lose track of them for awhile. They did some flying around this morning, visiting the downtown buildings. One chick even landed on the 17th floor of the Stelco tower this morning. Our volunteer up in the tower got quite a thrill. The chick was up on the tower for quite some time. The chicks also spent some time up on the roof of Hamilton Place. One chick did a bellyflop landing onto the roof, but recovered fine. One of the chicks also did a tumble down a slope to a lower ledge, but also was fine. Later in the morning one of the chicks was on the Standard Life building and I took a look at it in the scope. Sitting next to it, on the top of the Standard Life building, was a Robin. It must have been a very lucky Robin because the chick must not have been very hungry and left the Robin alone. After a nap the chicks spent some time wandering around on the roof of the Sheraton hotel. They seemed to be playing hide and seek with me, wandering around among the pipes. The parents were keeping a close eye on the chicks, in between giving them flying lessons. Both chicks then flew over to Standard Life and took a nap together. In the evening there was some more flying around. Both chicks seem to be landing very well. There were
only a few fumbled landings today. Both chicks spent some time on the west face of Stelco again this evening. We think they must enjoy soaking up the late evening sun, especially on a cold day like today. There was some excitement for the watchers in the evening when we saw what looked like a Goshawk flying overhead.
Monday June 14
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: It was a slow morning for the birds today. There was lots of rain, and the two chicks were spending their time crouched down on the roof of the Sheraton hotel. I saw Dad at one point taking a bath in a puddle on the roof of the Standard Life building. Later on, one of the volunteers spotted the two chicks playing in a puddle on the roof of the Sheraton. After the sun came out and the chicks had dried off they did some flying. They visited a few of the downtown buildings. At one point Grace gave her watchers a scare when she landed on an air conditioning unit, on a grill covering the fan. She wandered around and checked things out thoroughly before leaving again. Both chicks then went back to the Sheraton again for a late afternoon nap. Toledo and Dad were kept busy chasing off gulls and showing the kids the finer points of flying. Grace was learning her lessons fast and went after a pigeon, with a parent in hot pursuit. The pigeon hit a window and dropped down to a roof, so unfortunately Grace had to do without that snack. While it was getting towards dark Toledo and Dad chased off two crows. Toledo must have worn herself out during the second chase because she bounced off a window on the Standard Life building and circled around quite low for awhile before getting herself back high again. The chicks were doing well with their flying. They are learning quickly, and are flying around to all the high buildings.
Sunday June 13
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: It was a quiet morning for the chicks. Both chicks were on the Thompson building, where they had spent the night. They stayed on the roof for most of the morning. At around 10:00 Grace flew around and landed on a low roof of the Fairclough building. She didn't stay long though, she soon flew back to the Thompson building. Just before noon I got a real thrill. Dad landed on the 17th floor of Stelco. I was almost nose to nose with him. I fortunately had a camera with me and snapped half a roll of film of him. He stayed up there for quite some time. A little later Grace flew over to the Fairclough building again, but didn't stay long. She was soon back on Thompson. Some time later George flew over to the Board of Education building. Then Dad took off after a Red-tail Hawk, and drove it away. George and Grace took a short afternoon nap, in order to rest up for their activity in the evening. George flew back over to Thompson a couple of hours later and both chicks were hanging out on the roof for awhile. Around 6:30 p.m. the chicks got restless and both took off flying. They had us observers dashing all over downtown trying to keep track of them. We had them landing on the Board of Education building, the Thompson building, the Standard Life building, but they spent most of their time on the Sheraton. Grace finally made it back to the nest, which is the first time either chick has been back since fledging. Grace stayed put in the nest. George on the other hand was still flying around. He made several attempts on some of the ledges of the Sheraton. On all his flights Dad stayed right with him, keeping a close eye on him. The three observers at the time were kept very busy running around trying to keep an eye on George. He finally landed on the corner of the CIBC building. We kept an eye on him until it got too dark to see him anymore.
Saturday June 12
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: Both chicks are continuing to test out their wings. In the morning Grace took a few flights around, but again ended up on the Thompson building again. It seems to be her favorite spot now. She proceeded to spend the rest of the day on the Thompson building. George, who had spent the night low on the Stelco tower, took off early in the day and headed for the Sheraton Hotel. He landed on the north side. His next flight took him over to the top of the Board of Education building. He spent the morning up there and had his watchers in a bit of a panic because we could not spot him up there. Fortunately we did eventually get a look at him up there. While keeping an eye on George two Turkey Vultures were spotted circling above downtown. One of them must have gotten too close to George because Dad took off after it. The Turkey Vulture unfortunately turned the wrong way and was heading for the building Grace was on. Toledo joined in the attack. The two falcons kept hitting the Turkey Vulture and it couldn't get high enough to get away. It was stuck down between two tall downtown buildings and the parents kept driving it lower towards the road. It eventually managed to land on the Thompson building, on the opposite corner from Grace. It stayed there for a little bit and then got up the nerve to fly away. The parents made a couple of dives at it before it was lost from sight. We presume it managed to get away, reasonably safe and sound. A couple of hours later George got tired of his spot and tried to fly over to the Standard Life building. He couldn't get a grip and ended up flying back to the Board of Education building. Not too long after that attempt Toledo flew in with some food for him. A few minutes after that some people came out on to the roof of the Board of Education building and George took of. He tried again for the Standard Life building, but unable to get a grip there he ended up on the Thompson building. Both chicks then spent the rest of the day on Thompson building, often lying right together. They were fed by the parents a few times up there.
Friday June 11
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: I should have known that everything would go crazy as soon as I left. After Grace's exciting day yesterday, her brother George must have been feeling left out because at 6:00 a.m. this morning he decided the nest was too small and took off. His first taste of freedom was not quite as nice as Grace's. He flew over to the Fairclough building and managed to get himself stuck in one of the downsloping window ledges. He finally got his nerve up to try and get off the Fairclough building and flew towards the Stelco building. Unfortunately he was unable to get a grip and ended up bouncing off a few windows before he gave up and headed back to Fairclough. He landed on the fifth or sixth floor of the Fairclough building. He had quite a time for over an hour on that ledge. He would scramble up to the top of the sloping ledge only to slide back down again. Around eleven o'clock he half fell, half flew, out of the window ledge and over to the Stelco building. He managed to land on it that time, somewhere around the sixth floor. He spent all the rest of the day on that ledge.
His sister Grace meanwhile in the morning did a few flights of her own before settling down on the Thompson building next to the Sheraton Hotel. She spent the rest of the day on the roof of the Thompson building. Toledo came in twice to feed her, once pushing Dad off his prey to feed it to Grace. The parents have been keeping a watchful eye on their foster chicks and keep encouraging George to get off the ledge he is stuck on.
Thursday June 10
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Mike Street) reports: Yesterday Meredith said, "Just watch. Since I'm not going to be here someone's going to fly tomorrow." She was right. At 3PM today one of the chicks decided enough was enough and - LIFTOFF! - the first of the 1999 birds took its first flight, exactly one year to the day from last year's similar event. And what a flight it was. Down toward the base of the Sheraton, a bit of a wobble, then almost vertically straight up the walls to the top of the hotel, another wobble, then across the street, then .... You get the picture. The volunteers on duty all agreed that she was the most graceful first flyer seen since this all started in 1995 and dubbed her 'Amazing Grace'. (We think it's the female but could be wrong. These things can be inexact.) By 6PM Grace had been back and forth from the Sheraton to the Stelco building at least three times, finally landing lower down on the roof of the Thompson Building where she stayed the rest of the evening. Since we had our own "Gracie', it was perhaps inevitable that the remaining chick was named 'By George'. (The naming didn't stop there - the parents are now 'Holy Toledo' and 'Good Old Dad'.) The parents visited George with food twice during the evening, but despite plaintive cries Grace was left alone. When we went home in the darkness at 9:30 Grace was still on the Thompson Building roof and certainly hungry. Tomorrow should be fun.
Wednesday June 9
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Mike Street) reports: Our Congratulations to Meredith who is off early this evening to attend her Graduation from the University of Guelph tomorrow. Today was once again relatively quiet. Well, almost. The chicks were up near dawn for their morning exercises. The parents brought food twice for sure, and possibly twice more before siesta time. The nap stretched well into the afternoon and the volunteeers had just about reached the limit of boredom when one of them noticed Dad taking off after a large bird in the distance. (Keeping an eye on the adults is part of the watch). Was it a vulture? No. A Red-tail? No. WOW - it was an adult BALD EAGLE! It is quite unusual for Bald Eagles to be over Hamilton in summer, and this was the first time since 1995 that an adult Peregrine had been seen chasing one. We're not sure if the chicks saw all of this flying lesson, but we hope so. After that excitement the rest of the day was pretty dull. Could tomorrow could be the day? It was June 10 last year when the first chick flew at the same age, but these chicks have not yet shown the really active behaviour which suggests that things are about to change.
Tuesday June 8
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: The birds had a busy morning today. There were three kills before 7:30 this morning. The chicks were up on the ledge bright and early this morning stretching their wings after a night of rest. Around 9:00 Dad appeared to be giving the chicks flying lessons, he would swoop down low over the nest ledge several times. During midday it was time for a break and there was very little activity. Shortly after 3:00 p.m. the chicks were back on the ledge flapping again. Dad dropped some food off for the chicks a little later and Toledo came by and hustled him off the ledge. During the evening shift there was little activity from the parents, Dad was in the ledge next to the chicks and Toledo was hanging out on top of the Stelco building. The chicks made up for their parents however as they were hopping and flapping along the ledge. Right before dark the watchers in the parking lot were treated to quite a sight when Toledo flew right overhead, with some food, and landed on the Board of Education building directly behind us. She prepped the food up there and then flew over to the Standard Life building where she ate the meal herself. Dad flew over and hassled her a bit. The chicks were mighty upset because they hadn't been fed since the afternoon.
Monday June 7
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: There was quite a bit of activity today but none of the chicks have taken off yet. The morning was quite eventful for the parents. There were some men up on top of the Standard Life building and all the watchers thought that the parents might attack. They got very agitated and were keeping a close watch on the men. They settled down again after the guys left the rooftop. A little later however Toledo was scared off her perch on the Fairclough building when someone appeared on the roof there. There were no more incidences of people on the rooftops fortunately. In the evening however the parents were kept busy chasing off a turkey vulture and a red-tailed hawk. They also fed the chicks several times in the last couple of hours of daylight. The chicks were out on the ledge in the morning stretching their wings. During the afternoon siesta time there was not much activity from either the chicks or the adults. After 7:00 p.m., with the wind picking up, the watchers down in the parking lot were treated to a few heart stopping moments as one of the chicks was testing its wings and took a couple of airborne hops. The parents appeared to be cheering the chicks on, as they would swoop low over the ledge, as if to say "this is how it's done kids".
Sunday June 6
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: There was not too much activity on the ledge today. When I arrived the chicks were on the ledge but soon moved into the nest. It was a very windy day in downtown Hamilton, and the chicks were not feeling brave enough to venture out on to the ledge. Even Toledo was having difficulty. She landed on the camera and kept losing her balance due to the wind. The chicks would venture out onto the ledge for quick looks at the view but wouldn't stay out for long. Tomorrow will hopefully be more eventful as the Hamilton Naturalist's Club Falcon Watch starts officially, and with any luck the chicks will put on a display for the hardworking volunteers.
Saturday June 5
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: Both chicks were out on the ledge this morning when I arrived. They were quite happy up there, enjoying the morning sun and they stayed up on the ledge most of the morning. There was some hopping around on the ledge while flapping their wings, however they still show no signs of leaving. The chicks are still losing lots of down feathers, after a good shake they would almost disappear in a blizzard of down. At midday the chicks were down in the nest, taking a little break from their adventures of the morning. In the afternoon one of the chicks was up one the ledge for quite a long spell and the other chick joined it occasionally. One of the chicks was still up on the ledge when I left. The parents put in occasional visits, most notably in the morning when Toledo arrived with some food for the chicks which she fed to them up on the ledge. Dad spent some time sitting on the camera. Otherwise the parents were not in evidence too much, they were mostly just seen whizzing by the windows or flying around the downtown buildings.
Friday June 4
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: Upon arrival this morning Toledo was in the nest with the chicks, and Dad was out flying around. Not long after my arrival Toledo took off. The chicks must have missed the company of their mother because one of the chicks almost immediately afterwards hopped up onto the ledge surrounding the nest. It proceeded to flap its wings vigorously for awhile and then calmed down. The first chick was joined on the ledge soon after by the second chick. They both spent some time up on the ledge walking around, flapping and getting a good look at the marvelous view they have from the top of the Sheraton. They spent about an hour up on the ledge before disappearing into the nest again. The parents are spending less and less time around the nest. They would put in occasional appearances to chase after the Gulls or to drop food in the nest. Throughout the day one of the chicks made a few more expeditions up onto the ledge. Then at around 5:30 one of the chicks moved up onto the ledge for some more wing flapping and was joined some time later by the second chick. They seem to be enjoying the view tremendously as they were up on the ledge for a quite some time before descending into the nest again.
Thursday June 3
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: The chicks had migrated overnight from one end of the nest ledge to the other, which unfortunately makes them harder to see as they are hidden behind the ledge. They still don't seem that adventurous, nobody has been up on the ledge since Monday. The parents took off soon after my arrival. Shortly after one of them appeared with some food for the chicks, dropped it in the nest and then took off again. Toledo spent some time in the morning on the Fairclough building, while Dad was away. He reappeared shortly before lunch and sat on the ledge next to the chicks. When I came back in the afternoon Toledo and Dad had switched spots. They were soon out flying around again. Around 4pm Dad came in to tease the youngsters with some food, which got the chicks up and vigorously flapping their wings and moving around in the nest. I got a good view and could see that most of the feathers on their wings have come in. Both Toledo and Dad then moved to the top of the Fairclough building, which is where I left them.
Wednesday June 2
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: Quite a bit of activity this morning. When I arrived Toledo was on top of the Fairclough building again and Dad was on the roof of the Sheraton. They didn't stay in place long. They were both soon flying around the area. Around 11am one of the parents arrived on top of the Standard Life building with some food, however it must have been unsatisfactory because after a few bites it was abandoned. Toledo flew in a little later with some food for the chicks. The parents today seemed to be introducing themselves to me. Several times Dad buzzed quite close by one of the windows through which I was watching. Later on Toledo gave me quite a thrill when she landed on the corner of the building right on the observation floor. She wasn't there long, however, before she flew off again. I got buzzed several more times during the morning, and one of the parents again attempted to land on the corner of the building, this time a few floors above me unfortunately. Dad and Toledo were kept busy chasing off the gulls around lunchtime. The chicks are still fairly white blobs in the nest although they did stretch their wings a couple of times, and I got a look at some of those flight feathers coming in.
Tuesday June 1 (afternoon)
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Meredith Rose) reports: Today I had my first introduction to the birds. They decided to take it easy on me for my first day. As I arrived at my vantage point in the Stelco building Toledo was sitting on the Fairclough building, of which I have a great view. Dad was a little trickier to spot, but I found him sitting on the roof of the Sheraton above the nest. There was not much activity today while I was watching. I did manage to make out two white blobs in the nest so was reassured that both chicks were still there. While I was observing, Toledo spent the whole time up on the top of the Fairclough building across from the nest. Dad spent most of his time on the Sheraton above the nest, although he flew across to the Fairclough building just before I left.
Monday May 31
Marcel Gahbauer reports: Checking on the webcam this morning, I noticed that one of the chicks was up on the rim of the ledge. It stayed up there for at least an hour, wandering back and forth a fair bit, but also lying down flat at times. For a while Toledo stood nearby keeping an eye on this adventurous chick, but eventually she took off and left it to explore on its own. The other chick remained in the recessed portion of the ledge while I watched, but it's easily possible that it too went up on the rim at some point before or after when I was looking.
Thursday May 27
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Bruce Duncan) reports: The Hamilton Naturalists' Club has hired a volunteer coordinator for the 1999 Falcon Field Watch of the Sheraton Hotel birds. Her name is Meredith Rose and she is a biology student at the University of Guelph with lots of experience at the University's Wild Bird Clinic. The Hamilton Naturalists' Club is pleased to have her available for the watch. Her contract begins on June 1.
Marcel Gahbauer reports: For the last couple of days, the two chicks have spent most of their time at the far end of the ledge. We have temporarily zoomed in with the camera to allow everyone to get a good look at the chicks on the Hamilton Webcam. Of course, the down side to this is that it is easier tfor the chicks to walk out of range of the camera. We will try to keep an eye on the site, and if they begin spending a lot of time out of sight, we will zoom back out to more of a wide angle view.
Toledo continues to brood the chicks much of the time, and it seems they have resigned themselves to this treatment. She may still instinctively think that they are young chicks which need her protection, since they have only been around for a week, while of course the chicks simply don't know any better, and have to go along with what mother wants. This morning I even saw Dad standing over the two chicks for a little while, although he seemed to be standing guard more than brooding them.
Tuesday May 25
Marcel Gahbauer reports: Everything seems to be going well with Hamilton's newest family. For the past few days, Toledo has been spending quite a bit of time on the nest ledge with the chicks, and it looks like she is still trying to cover them up to keep them warm. Right now the chicks are probably welcoming her attention, as the past couple of days have been unseasonably cool in southern Ontario. The chicks have been left alone at times as well, and wander back and forth on the ledge quite actively. Dad hasn't been spotted too frequently, but does bring in food regularly, and no doubt perches nearby to keep an eye on the nest.
Friday May 21
Marcel Gahbauer reports: Today we made history in Hamilton! Despite their trials and tribulations, Toledo and Dad are now the proud parents of two 19-day old peregrine chicks. This marked the first time in Ontario that peregrine chicks have been introduced to foster parents which did not already have chicks of their own, and one of the few times such an attempt has been made anywhere.
Mark Nash picked up the chicks from Mountsberg early this morning, and met the rest of us at the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel around 8 am. The first stop was the 17th floor lounge, where Anne Yagi of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Bruce Duncan of the Hamilton Naturalists' Club banded the two chicks. Both were in good condition; the female weighted 545 grams and the male 485 grams. Because the chicks already had the breeder's band on the right leg, they received only a silver left-leg band, and did not get a coloured CWS band on the right leg.
Around 9 am, the chicks were ready to be released, and we ascended to the rooftop. Pud Hunter and Anne Yagi of OMNR accompanied Rick Folkes, a climber from the Hamilton Naturalists' Club, to the upper roof. Meanwhile, the rest of us watched from the lower roof, where the camera is positioned - see Hamilton photo #3 to get an idea of the layout.
As soon as we arrived on the roof, we noticed that Dad was perched on the nest ledge just metres away from us, and was vocally expressing his displeasure with out presence. For several minutes we stayed there, as if trying to stare us down. He then made several flights out over the street, but always returned either to this ledge or the one beyond. This was a very encouraging sign, since it showed that he was still feeling very territorial about this ledge.
We were beginning to wonder where Toledo was when she suddenly appeared following Dad on one of his short excursions. She then joined him in visiting the two ledges closest to the camera and scrutinizing us. Both continued to make flights to and from the building while Rick was on the roof strapping himself in for the ~6 metre (20 foot) descent to the nest ledge. Interestingly, during this time Dad briefly mated with Toledo while she was perched on a high ledge of the Stelco tower to the east. Again we took this as a positive sign that the pair bond had remained strong despite the failed nesting, and that both still felt very attached to the area.
By 9:30, Rick was down at the ledge, inspecting it from end to end for remnants of the eggs. However, there was nothing to be seen (or smelled). At one point Toledo landed on the ledge just a metre or so away from Rick. Fortunately however, neither she or Dad ever attacked any of us.
Having completed the ledge inspection, Rick was ready for the chicks to be lowered down to him. He released them at the far end of the ledge, where Toledo and Dad had been nesting. This task accomplished, Rick quickly beat a retreat, and within moments Dad was on the ledge looking down (presumably in utter bewilderment) at the chicks, while they stared back up at him and began screaming for food. We rushed inside to allow the peregrines to interact naturally. This was at 9:40 am.
Inside we had hooked up a small television to the camera so that we could observe the activities outside. We knew that the first encounter between the adults and chicks was likely to determine whether the newcomers would be accepted or rejected. For several minutes Dad remained on the ledge looking down at the chicks, and there was communication going on between all three. He then flew off at 9:44, with Toledo coming in less than a minute later. She stepped down into the recessed portion of the ledge, and the two chicks immediately ran toward her, screaming for food. Toledo seemed startled, and began to walk backwards away from them, but they continued to pursue her. Soon some instinct seemed to kick in, and she began to try to cover them up, as if trying to continue incubating - after all, that's as far in the reproductive cycle as she had gone. The chicks, however, are too large and active to be brooded at this age, and would have none of it.
Dad rescued Toledo from this struggle by bringing in a pigeon at 9:48. We were amazed that after only eight minutes, he had already accepted the chicks and gone out to hunt for them. A big cheer went up as Toledo hopped up to the ledge, grabbed the food, and took it back down to the chicks and began feeding them. At that instant we knew that the chicks had been accepted, and that we had nothing to worry about. We continued to watch the new family for another hour, then headed downstairs to begin to spread the word to Hamiltonians about the newest residents of the Sheraton. Watch for photos from today's event to be posted in the Hamilton Photo Gallery within the next week.
This release was organized very quickly and many people provided invaluable help over the past few days, and especially today. Special thanks to Pud Hunter and Anne Yagi of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources for throwing their support behind this project and rearranging their busy schedules to accommodate us, to Craig Shaver and the staff of the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel for their cooperation and hospitality, to Rick Folkes of the Hamilton Naturalists' Club for climbing down to the ledge to release the chicks, to Mark Adam (our peregrine breeder in Montreal) for rapidly agreeing to provide us with chicks of the appropriate age, to Weed Man for sponsoring the chicks on such short notice, to the Mountsberg Wildlife Centre for agreeing to house and take care of the chicks last night prior to their release, and to Bruce Duncan of the Hamilton Naturalists' Club for assisting with the banding of the chicks. Without everyone's help, we would not have been able to pull this off.
Thursday May 20
Marcel Gahbauer reports: Around 10 am this morning, two 18-day old peregrine chicks took to the sky -- not on their own, but in a Toronto-bound Air Canada flight from Montreal. Mark Adam, the peregrine breeder who will be providing the Canadian Peregrine Foundation with chicks for the Richmond Hill and Guelph releases, had been able to make these two chicks available to us on incredibly short notice.
Mark Nash, Paul Grieve, and I waited with great anticipation for our precious cargo to arrive at Pearson International Airport. Just as we were about to get to the front of the pick-up line, the entire building was plunged into us. We heard rumours that the power might remain off for several hours, and we suddendly became very nervous about the condition of our birds. Fortunately, the computers soon began humming again, and before long we had the birds in our possession.
The Mountsberg Wildlife Centre had agreed to house the peregrines for us overnight at their Raptor Centre. Upon our arrival, Sandra Metzger examined both birds and noted that both appeared to be in good health, and certainly full of energy. Both were fed a meal of quail, and appeared to be ravenously hungry - although the female chick showed almost as much interest in Sandra's shirt as in the real food. The female was also the more noisy of the two chicks, not only calling out while in the box, but also trying to vocalize between gulps of food.
After being fed, the chicks were transferred to a cage, where they would spend their last night in captivity. Early tomorrow morning, they will be released in Hamilton, and we hope that Toledo and Dad will quickly accept them as family.
Wednesday May 19
Marcel Gahbauer reports: Exciting news - Hamilton will have chicks after all! With the support of the Ministry of Natural Resources, The Canadian Peregrine Foundation plans to release two chicks into the Hamilton nest on Friday May 21. Dad has been a foster parent before (in 1995), and while Toldeo has not, we hope that her motherly instincts will kick in when she sees the chicks.
We were fortunate to be able to acquire the chicks on short notice from the same breeder who is providing us with chicks for the Richmond Hill and Guelph releases later this year. They will arrive in Toronto tomorrow morning, and we hope to introduce them into the nest in Hamilton the next day. Stay tuned for more details!
Monday May 17
Marcel Gahbauer reports: Little has changed in Hamilton the past few days. Toledo and Dad continue to incubate the lone egg at times, while ignoring it at others.
Tuesday May 11
Mark Nash reports: Over the past few days, we have been monitoring the Hamilton nest closely, and noticed that something didn't seem quite right. The behaviour of the adults changed noticeably, with them spending much more time away from the nest scrape than before. Most noticeably, when they left, only one egg was visible, but we could not see any chicks, which should have hatched around the middle to end of last week, judging by when they were laid.
We have just spent the past three hours looking through the live camera eye, and unfortunately have bad news to report. We saw three shift changes during this time, with prolonged periods during which no adults were present. Only one egg is visible, no food was ever brought in during the shift changes, and both adults still seemed intent on incubating the one remaining egg when they were there.
By tilting and panning the camera, we scanned the entire ledge a dozen or more times over the past three hours, with no visible signs of adult behaviour interested in any other part of the nest ledge. Given that Etobicoke has had three of their eggs hatch, and Hamilton was at least several days ahead of Etobicoke, chances do not look good for the single egg visible in the Hamilton nest site.
The whereabouts of the other Hamilton eggs (chicks?) is unknown, but it seems likely that for whatever reason they have been pushed aside under the ledge. Another possibility is that some kind of predator made off with the first three chicks shortly after they hatched. What we do know for certain is that there has been no human disturbance of the nest, since the rooftop doors are locked, and nobody has been granted access recently.
We are very saddened by these current observations, but will keep monitoring the site in the hope that at least the one egg still hatches.
Saturday May 8
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Brian Burgon) reports: There has been more activity around the Sheraton Hotel nest site in the past few days.
On Wednesday May 5 Dad spent over 40 minutes on the nest ledge watching Toledo sit on the eggs.
On Thursday May 6, just before 1:00 pm, Toledo landed on the corner of the 17th floor of the Stelco Tower, outside Brian's office window. Toledo's X over 9 / black over red band remains in good shape, but Brian could not see the other band to determine if it's colour had deteriorated any more. There's no question that Toledo is the breeding female. Her beak still looks like the point is broken off, unchanged from when this was first noticed several months ago.
On the morning of Friday May 7 a bird struck and shattered a 1/4" plate glass window on the 15th floor of the Stelco Tower. When this was reported Brian investigated and learned that an adult male Wood Duck had been found on the ground below the window.
Following up, Brian was told that just after 9:00AM an observer in the Salary Dept on
the 19th floor saw what he initially thought were two falcons, extremely close together in
a high-speed chase, coming toward the west side of the Tower. He lost sight of the birds
as they dipped below his field of view. It appears that the falcon broke off the chase
when the Wood Duck hit the building.
Later on Friday Toledo was seen soaring over the area. All the activity is a noticeable change from the relatively quiet incubation period and suggests that this phase is coming to an end.
Wednesday May 5
Marcel Gahbauer reports: A few dedicated webcam viewers have reported to us that Toledo and Dad appear to be more restless on the eggs in recent days. Given that the first eggs were laid in late March, and the incubation period is approximately five weeks, we should be seeing a hatch very soon.
We are still waiting for a confirmed location for this year's Falcon Watch Centre, so that we can bring the live image to anyone able to visit downtown Hamilton. We will post the location and times as soon as possible - hopefully within the next week.
Saturday April 24
Mark Nash reports: Around 12:45 pm, I peeked into the Hamilton nest cam from the office and caught the shift change. As the adult moved off the nest bowl it was quite evident that there were four eggs.
Saturday April 17
Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Brian Burgon) reports: Happened to check the camera around 1PM yesterday (Apr.16) when Toledo got up for a stretch. Clearly saw three (3) eggs side by side. Too bad it's not four, but we can't complain.
Saturday April 10
Marcel Gahbauer reports: Late this morning, Natalie Helferty and I visited Hamilton to fix the computer in order to get the live video signal back up on the website again. It is up and running again (and hopefully will remain that way...) The only minor problem remaining is that the clock is currently 12 hours fast. We will try to correct this soon.
While we were working on the computer, we had an opportunity to observe the female on the nest (via the camera) over a period of at least half an hour. During this time she never fully got off the eggs. However, she did twice change her position, and we were able to catch brief glimpses of the eggs. The first time it seemed like there might be only two eggs, but the second time she stood back a bit further, and we both are quite certain that we spotted three eggs in the scrape.
Since the first two eggs were reported several days ago, it is unlikely that additional eggs are still being laid now. There is an outside possibility that there is a fourth egg in the nest, but this is unlikely, as we saw the other three eggs side by side, and if there was a fourth it would have had to be hidden from view by the female, i.e. separated from the other three eggs, which would be quite unusual.
Keep checking the live webcam, and you might have a chance to count the eggs yourself when the male and female perform a "shift change". We will keep the camera zoomed in as close as possible for the next few days at least to try to facilitate an accurate count.
Friday April 9
Marcel Gahbauer reports: The Hamilton Webcam has been activated for the 1999 season! Click on the link near the top of this page to access the Hamilton Webcam page. We hope the connection will function smoothly, but there may be some temporary glitches resulting in the loss of the signal while we learn to operate the new equipment. Please bear with us; if the signal does go down at any time we will try to restore it as soon as possible.
Looking through the camera from the office, we have seen Toledo incubating the eggs each time we checked. We hope to catch a glimpse of a shift change between her and Dad in order to count the number of eggs.
Monday April 5
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Brian Burgon) reports: There are definitely two (2) eggs in the nest. Toledo has been seen very actively turning the eggs, not only by rolling them over but also by moving them end-to-end.
Tuesday March 30
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Brian Burgon) reports: Toledo spent almost all of today (Tuesday, March 30) in the west end of the ledge. She got up for a stretch once in a while and I was able to clearly see more than one egg! We are going to try to get an egg count tomorrow. On another note, an observer on the 24th floor of the Stelco Tower reported Dad strenuously harassing a large flight of Turkey Vultures migrating over the city today.
Monday March 29
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Mike Street) reports: There has been a confirmed episode of copulation (last Thursday) and Dad has been seen feeding Toledo (Friday afternoon). In addition, Toledo has spent all of this morning sitting in the west end of the nest scrape. Things definitely have changed since last week.
Saturday March 27
Marcel Gahbauer reports: On my way through Hamilton this afternoon, I stopped by the nest site around 3 pm, hoping to get a look at Toledo. While she didn't seem to be around, Dad certainly made his presence noticeable. Over the brief time that I was there, four Turkey Vultures and one Red-tailed Hawk drifted over the Sheraton, and Dad vigorously chased every single one of them away. Most got the message quite quickly, but one of the vultures was a bit slow to react, and Dad actually did hit it on the back. The vulture then briefly went into an evasive dive as Dad stooped on it a second time - I know have learned that given sufficient motivation, Turkey Vultures can be surprisingly fast and agile.
Following all of the excitement (the raptors came through one after the other, never giving Dad a break in between), Dad flew directly up to the ledge where last year's nest was located. He at least still seems to be very loyal to this site. Now if only one of the females would show an interest in nesting...
Wednesday March 24
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Mike Street) reports: Although Dad and Toledo have visited the ledge and even been down in the scrape, there have only been a few flights which might be called 'courting', and no evidence of physical copulation.
We must remember that this is not Mom and Dad any longer. We have a whole new scenario.
While Toledo is certainly old enough to breed, she may not yet be ready. We know that
she's had a rough life so far, and there are indications - when she first arrived in
Hamilton last fall she kept flying into windows, her feathers are not yet full adult
colour, and so on. Where I'm heading is that we may not have a nesting this year.
Alternatively, we may have a late nesting - if memory serves Mom and Dad were a lot later
1995, their first year.
We have been asked how we are sure that this bird is Toledo, and that Mom is not back. While anything is possible with birds, had Mom returned we (and much of downtown Hamilton) would have known about it because there would have been at least one good territorial fight. This has not happened, and the only female seen downtown since last November has been Toledo. (Thank heavens for those multiple coloured bands!!!)
On a related note, the Discovery Channel show filmed during Falcon Watch '98 will be on next month. It will be interesting to see their take on all this. It will air on the program called "Animal Tracks", "HAMILTON FALCONS" - Volunteers in Hamilton, Ontario get up at 5 am to make sure the local peregrine falcon chicks don't fall out of their downtown nest. April 29, 8 pm; midnight; April 30, 3 am; May 2, 10am.
Nadine Litwin comments: Or - heaven forbid - she's choosing her *own* nest site elsewhere. When I watched for a while a couple of days ago, she led the way *east* down King St ... where is she going anyway, is she just hanging around the Stelco Tower or is she actually going somewhere?
Tuesday March 23
Nadine Litwin reports: I spent about an hour-and-a-half this afternoon in downtown Hamilton watching the peregrines, and was intrigued with their behaviour. One bird (the non-busy bird) stayed on a corner of the Stelco Tower overlooking the nest site, the other was busy ... it chased away some Turkey Vultures (about a dozen paraded through town while I was there) and went with serious intent after a crow, it flew over and into the nest, it glided by the Stelco Tower, it spent most of its sitting time on the Stelco Tower or on/in the nest ledge. But the non-busy bird didn't go to the nest ledge. When it moved, it flew to a corner of the Thompson Building, which is very low and overlooks the Sheraton pool area. When it did that, the busy PEFA immediately flew to the nest site. When the non-busy bird flew again, it was to turn *away* from the nest ledge and eastward down King St. Then the PEFA on the nest ledge immediately followed it.
I'm assuming that the busy bird was "dad", and the other bird "Toledo", but it was a bit confusing because it didn't seem to me to be that small of a bird that kept going to the nest ledge. It's head was large and black, and I could see a yellow bill which made me think for a second that it was "mom". But I don't think she's been reported back yet. I didn't see courtship flying or copulation while I was there today.
Monday March 15
Mark Dietrich reports: Stelco has returned to Lansing!!!! We saw her for the first time this year back on her favorite corner of the Michigan National Bank tower. We should have a family this year.
Wednesday March 10
Mark Nash reports: In trying to follow up on the sightings of Toledo in Hamilton, we have learned some interesting information from Sara Jean Peters of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife. Apparently many of the peregrines in Ohio and other midwestern states were given purple bands on one leg and red bands on the other. When Toledo first arrived in the fall, her leg band was distinctly purple. Over the winter, however, it has faded to an orange-red colour. During this time Toledo has been seen at close range several times, and the band number was always consistent, so there is no doubt that she was the only female in the area this winter. The purple bands are now known to fade, and as a result of this problem, these bands are no longer being used. Instead, a gold coloured band is now being used on some peregrines in the midwest.
If the immature peregrine that has been seen in the Hamilton area this winter is also wearing an orange leg band, as some reports have suggested, this would indicate that another peregrine from the midwest has made it to Hamilton, either accompanying Toledo, or on its own.
Saturday February 27
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Mike Street) reports: I understand that 'Toledo', as she has been nicknamed (already!!!), was an urban nest banding. Colour band: black on top half with white X; red on bottom half with 9 oriented to the left. US band: 1807-53821 (mauve). The latest is that she was seen inspecting the nest ledge with Dad on Thursday. No sign of Mom yet.
Thursday February 25
The Hamilton Naturalists' Club (Mike Street) reports: Hamilton Falcon Watchers are keeping an eye on the Sheraton Hotel to see whether or not the adult female of past years returns to oust her competition. The younger female peregrine which has spent the winter in the company of the adult male known as Dad has now been identified. This bird was banded in the nest in Toledo, Ohio in 1995. It was next seen in Buffalo N.Y. on February 4, 1997 where she was treated for injuries received in a territorial fight and released. This one obviously likes the tough towns.
In another peregrine falcon item, a non-adult bird was observed Monday sitting in a bush in a yard near the brow of the mountain. After a while the Peregrine launched itself into the air, caught a medium sized black bird, and returned to the yard to do the necessary.
Wednesday February 24
Rob Dobos reports: A juvenile peregrine lingered around the Burlington Ship Canal through January - I saw it fly past CCIW (Canada Centre for Inland Waters) on Jan 7 and Jan 20. A group of us doing the Winter Waterfowl Count on Jan 10 also saw it perched on the lighthouse at the end of the Ship Canal pier. It took a brief swipe at a Rough-legged Hawk that was flying in off the lake. Other observers also saw this bird during that period at the canal. Barry Cherriere mentioned that he saw a peregrine at Windermere Basin about 2-3 weeks ago - I think that may have been the report of it going after a red-tailed hawk.
Tuesday February 9
Marcel Gahbauer reports: Last Friday, Ulrich Watermann reported to us a sighting of an immature male peregrine over Hamilton Harbour the previous day (Feb. 4). This peregrine had an orange-red band on its left leg, and a purple band on its right leg. This is the third time we have heard of a bird matching this description in the Hamilton area, and we are very curious to learn more about this bird. We would like to hear about any future sighting of this peregrine.
Also, various sources report that the Hamilton adults are still being seen at the Sheraton Hotel downtown quite regularly, and at least one immature is often spotted near the Burlington Canal (under the Skyway bridge). This is possibly the same bird that Ulrich reported from Hamilton Harbour, but again we would welcome more information.
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