The Canadian Peregrine Foundation


June 1999

Monday June 7, 1999
Robyn Carlson reports:   The press conference that marked the opening of the Suite was attended by: Yvon Morin and Hugh Gorman (Constitution Square), Stephan (Crown Plaza Hotel), Daryl Seip (Ministry of Natural Resources), Eve Ticknor (Ottawa Field Naturalists), and Mark Nash and Robyn Carlson (Canadian Peregrine Foundation), as well as television, radio, and newspaper media.

The temperature was high (35 degrees Celcius), and consequently the birds didn't shift-change as much as observed on previous days.  They were both observed to be panting, and less frequently got off the eggs to turn them and change position.  At 4:30 pm until 5:00 pm, the female stood over the eggs and watched them intently.  At this time, she would repeatedly look at the skyline.  Mark Nash, viewing the event, noted that she was exhibiting typical hatching behaviour.  However, she sat back on the nest by 5:00 without a hatch occurring.  Mark and I left the suite at 5:00.

Reviewing the tape from the evening, I saw that at approximately 5:30 pm the female left the nest ledge for a half-minute.  Her take-off was witnessed through the camera.  Shortly before sunset, the pair did one shift change while the female ate off-nest.  She was shortly thereafter back on the nest and remained there until darkfall.

Tuesday June 8, 1999
Robyn Carlson reports:   The female was on the eggs at 7:30 am, stood up over eggs for one minute at 8:00 before sitting back down on the eggs (she preened for the min).  A shift change occurred at 8:50 (male now on nest).  The male remainedon the eggs (looking around, but not getting off the eggs), then rearranged them at 9:20.  At 10 am there was another switch, with the female coming back to the nest.  The male and female "barked" at each other (perhaps they both wanted to be on the looked like a standoff) before the female got her place at the nest.  At 10:30 the female got off the eggs and pecked at the gravel surrounding the nest for a few minutes.  She got off the eggs and rotated them at 10:30, 10:40, and 10:45.  At 12:25 she stood up over the nest, and at 12:30 the male took over.  He stood up at 1:10 to turn the eggs, and at 1:26 did the same thing, but more extensively.  At 1:40 there was another shift change, with the female taking over after they barked at each other for a while.  At 3:05 the female walked off the nest for extensive maintenance of the nest (pulling the gravel surrounding the nest into the edges of the nest).  At 4:25, the female again got off the eggs and repositioned them.  Later, the male was observed wagging his tail up and down, which indicates excitement, while simultaneously pecking with his beak.  Unfortunately, as his posterior faced the camera, it was difficult to obtain more information with regards to his pecking activity.  One shift change occured prior to dusk.  The female was on the eggs at nightfall.

Wednesday June 9, 1999
Robyn Carlson reports:   The female dozed on the nest for an incredibly long time prior to the first shift-change of the morning (the male appeared at 10:50 to incubate the eggs).  Very little activity occured until 3:10, when the mother exhibited 5 minuites of flurred activity: she arched her back and, with feathers sticking up, wagged her tail up and down while pecking in front of her.  She stood over the eggs in this manner to change positon and rotate the eggs.  Five minutes later, she quickly settled down.

Thursday June 10, 1999
Robyn Carlson reports:   The female rotated the eggs for an extended period of time.  She carried out egg rotation in a flurried manner.  The male was seen sitting on the eggs for increasing periods of time.  In his second shift of the day, the male kicked one of the eggs out of the nest in the peregrine equivalent of a temper tantrum.  When the female returned to the nest, she returned the egg in question to the scrape.

Friday June 11, 1999
Robyn Carlson reports:   The male spent 4 hours and 45 minutes out of the observed 8 hours (between 7:30 am and 3:30 pm) incubating the eggs.  The female peregrine meanwhile spent her leisure time on the radio antenna of a nearby building.  At one point, the female swooped down from the antenna to the nest ledge.  However, the female immediately took flight, rather than relieving the male of his duty on the eggs.

Sunday June 13, 1999
Marcel Gahbauer reports:   Although the adults continue to dedicatedly incubate the eggs, it is now evident that we will not have a hatch.  They were already incubating by the end of April, which means they are now at the very least on their 45th day of incubation - roughly 10 days longer than usual.   We must therefore conclude that the eggs are infertile.

This is of course very disappointing for everyone who has been following this nest.  However, we think we can step in to prevent the nest from being a complete failure.  A few weeks ago, we encountered the same scenario in Hamilton, and were able to successfully introduce two captively-raised chicks to the adults, who immediately adopted them.  We would like to try to repeat this in Ottawa.

By next Monday, June 21, we expect to have two young chicks (roughly one week old) available to us from Falcon Environmental Services in Montreal.   These chicks would be considerably younger than the ones we put in the Hamilton nest, but this is an advantage, as it reduces the risk of rejection.

Unfortunately, the chicks are an unplanned expense, and we simply do not have the money to pay for them.  Unless individuals and corporate sponsors step forward to cover the cost of the two young peregrines, we will not be able to proceed with this project.  If you can help us with raising some of the necessary funds, or can refer us to someone who might be willing to make a donation, please call us at (416) 481-1233 or 1-888-709-3944.

Monday June 14, 1999
Robyn Carlson reports:  The female was incubating the eggs at 11:30.  She stood up from the nest at 11:40 to reveal 3 eggs.   Eve Ticknor of the Ottawa Field Naturalists observed, during the preceeding weekend, what appeared to be the consumption of the 4th egg by one of the adult peregrines.  The male and female spent an equal duration of time incubating the eggs over the 4 hour time span between 11:30 am and 3:30 pm.

Tuesday June 15, 1999
Robyn Carlson reports:   The temperature cooled considerably from the previous day.  The male and
female falcon incubated the 3 remaining eggs quietly today. An increase in shift-changes was noted, with the pair trading off on the scrape every hour.   At one point, the female appeared beside the nest for a brief moment before alighting without relieving the male of his duties.  Later, the male appeared by the nest while the female was incubating.  As the female was unwilling to hand over incubation duties to the male, he soon left.

Wednesday June 16, 1999
Marcel Gahbauer reports:  The decision has been made to proceed with plans for a foster release in Ottawa.  We have received enough positive response to our appeals to funding so far that we are willing to take a risk and go ahead with the project, even though we are still well short of our budget.  We hope that additional sponsors and donors will come forward in the next few days to allow us to complete the fostering attempt.

The plan is to introduce a single chick approximately two weeks old into the nest on Friday morning (june 18) around 10 am.  At this time the remaining eggs will also be carefully removed, and taken in for analysis to determine why they did not hatch. We of course hope that the chick will be quickly accepted by the parents, as was the case in Hamilton.  If this first release is successful, we will attempt to add a second and third chick to the Ottawa nest in the following couple of days.

Robyn Carlson reports:  Between the hours of 11:30 am and 3:30 pm, the male spent 2 hours on the nest.  Rotation of the eggs occurred less frequently than observed on previous days, with an average of one rotation every half hour.  The behaviour of the adults was calm.  The female left the eggs unattended (before the male appeared in view a few seconds later) when the incubation duty shifted from the female to the male.  However, when the incubation duty shifted from the male to the female, the female appeared beside the scrape and the two adults exchanged extensive verbal communication before the male left.

Thursday June 17, 1999
Robyn Carlson reports:  An increase in communication between the mating pair was observed.  Both the
female and the male called out several times to the partner off the nest while incubating.   In addition, a switch in incubation duties was accompanied by much verbal communication.

Friday June 18, 1999
Robyn Carlson reports:  A press conference was held at the Ottawa Falcon Watch Centre today at 9:50 am, to introduce the 14 day old male anatum peregrine chick (named Preston by his breeder) intended for fostering.  In attendance were Mark Nash and Robyn Carlson (Canadian Peregrine Foundation), Ulrich Watermann (Preston's breeder), television and newspaper media, Frank Pope (Ottawa Field Naturalists), as well as the public (many of which are well-known supporters and frequent visitors of the Ottawa Falcon Watch Centre).  Preston was not formally requested to speak at the event, but took it upon himself to do so, both frequently and loudly.   Preston remained at the Falcon Watch Centre for the rest of the afternoon, snoozing often, but waking several times to demand a quail dinner from Ulrich.  The foster date is tentatively set for 3:00 pm Saturday.  If the foster is successful, 2 more chicks (15 day old anatum peregrines) will be introduced to the nest.

The male and female adult peregrines meanwhile appeared fairly content to remain (incubating) on the nest.  However, they appear more vocal at shift-changes and while incubating.

Mark Nash reports:  Today has been an exciting day for us in Ottawa, with many many people coming into the Falcon Watch Centre to get updates on the foster release planned for this weekend.  Visitors were also treated to a close-up look at Ottawa's newest peregrine - a 14-day old chick named "Preston" (he has an Alberta background, has now moved to Ottawa, and has a lot to say...).  The chick has been provided to the Canadian Peregrine Foundation by Ulrich Watermann of the Great Lakes Raptor Conservancy, who has accompanied me to Ottawa to help take care of Preston until he is released to his adoptive parents tomorrow.

Our plan is to pick up our other two foster chicks tomorrow morning, and introduce one of them to the nest in the mid-afternoon.  If this is successful (i.e. the parents adopt it), the other two chicks will be released as well.   Watch for more news here in the coming days.

Saturday June 19, 1999
Mark Nash reports:  For the past two nights, the Crowne Plaza hotel has generously provided the Canadian Peregrine Foundation and the Great Lakes Raptor Conservancy with free accomodation in conjunction with the foster release project.  Preston the peregrine enjoyed luxury accomodations on the inside quite unlike those he will experience from now on, outside the building.

This morning I drove to Montreal to pick up the other two chicks for release from Mark Adam of Falcon Environmental Services.  We were back in Ottawa by 1:30, at which point Preston was introduced to his new step-siblings.  They seemed to get along quite well - all of them screamed in harmony.

Around 3 pm we began the release proceedings.  The Falcon Watch Centre was packed with visitors and media.  First Pud Hunter and Daryl Seip of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources banded the three chicks.  By about 3:30, we were ready to take them up to the ledge for release.  The adult female was on the nest at the time, and was very defensive - she refused to leave.  She immediately accepted the first chick and became protective of it.  As soon as it was out on the ledge, she positioned herself between it and the people in the doorway.  The other two chicks were released, and she hovered near all three of them.  For over an hour, we waited anxiously for the male to arrive with food.  Throughout this time, the three chicks stood near the end of the ledge, and the female remained right beside them.   Around 5:30 the male returned with dinner, and the fostering attempt was deemed to be a success.

There will be more details about the new chicks and today's events in the days to come...

Sunday June 20, 1999
Robyn Carlson reports: The instant family appeared to be bonding nicely.  The young chicks, aged 16 (male from Simcoe, named Preston), 17 (male from Montreal), and 18 (female from Montreal) spent the day in awkward attempts to try out their limbs.  The three chicks also took several naps throughout the day, snuggled together in slumber.  Although a feeding was not observed between the hours of 9:30 am and 3:30 pm, the parents were seen hunting together in the early afternoon.  The arrival of either parent to the nest would cause an uproar from the excited chicks.  The newly arrived parent would, as a general rule, check to see how each chick was doing by tapping them on the beak in the semblance of a kiss.

Monday June 21, 1999
Robyn Carlson reports:  The peregrine chicks were fed, beak to beak, by their mother 5 times between the hours of 7:30 am and 3:30 pm; they were fed at 7:30 am, 8:45 am, 11:15 am, 11:35 am, and 3:05 pm.  The female chick spent considerable time off screen as she practiced her mobility (which is considerably greater at this point in comparison to her two brothers').  The two brothers meanwhile slept side-by-side.  When the female finally returned from her journey to the far reaches of the nest ledge, she wasted no time in snuggling down with her brothers.  Preston, the youngest and smallest of the chicks, displayed his ability to learn quickly in an afternoon feed: initially losing his share of the meal to his larger siblings, he began jumping at his mother's beak when she had a piece of food in it.  By the end of the feeding session, Preston had garnered quite a share of the pigeon dinner for himself.

Tuesday June 22, 1999
Robyn Carlson reports:  Most likely due to the high temperatures, the chicks fed little and slept freqently throughout the day.  During feeding, the mother demonstrated to her three children how to prepare the prey prior to ingestion.  Preston, the youngest chick at 18 days of age, exhibited his killer instict by attacking a bone left on the nest ledge from an earlier feed.

Wednesday June 23, 1999
Robyn Carlson reports:  The peregrine chicks worried viewers when they positioned themselves behind a pillar and thus were blocked from the camera's view.  However, the chicks soon moved back into view of the camera, much to the relief of viewers.  The chicks are becoming visibly larger, with thicker down coats and the beginning growth of contour feathers.  The female is the most mobile of the three chicks, and practices flapping her wings extensively.  Due to the increased temperature, the parents remained close to the chicks, as nest ledge is in shadow throughout the hottest time of the day.   The adult female peregrine fed her children seperately (i.e. in different feeding periods) as opposed to all together every feeding period. 

Thursday June 24, 1999
Robyn Carlson reports:  The chicks' behaviour has become much more observant of both their mother and of each other, in an attempt to learn how to process and consume their food.  The mother brought a decapitated but otherwise complete pigeon to the nest ledge, and proceeded to pluck the feathers and subsequently tear the flesh from the carcass.   Throughout the proceedure, the chicks looked on intently.  Preston was the first chick observed (at the tender age of 20 days) to feed himself, as opposed to receive food beak-to-beak from his mother.  Shortly thereafter, the female chick was able to feed herself.

Friday June 25, 1999
Robyn Carlson reports:  All three chicks spent considerable time walking and flapping their wings.  They quite visibly increase in size daily.  The contour feathers of the wings and the tail continue to grow in.  The male chick, who appears to be developing at a slower rate than his other siblings, fed himself for the first time.

Saturday June 26, 1999
Robyn Carlson reports:  The peregrine family has settled into a fairly constant routine of several feeds in the morning (i.e. approximately 8:30 am and 9:30 am) as well as a feed at approximately 2:00 pm.  Evening feeding routine is yet to be established.  The parent peregrines appear very interested in the activities at the Falcon Watch Centre; the adult peregrines often perch on Constitution Square directly above the Centre's street access door.

Sunday June 27, 1999
Robyn Carlson reports: The chicks are now using their increased mobility to explore the nest, and
are consequently having to be constantly chased by the camera.  Preston wandered close to the camera (situated 40 feet from the nest bowl) to investigate, while his mother modeled for internet viewers and Centre visitors by jumping up on an air vent near the camera, allowing an excellent view of her.

Monday June 28, 1999
Robyn Carlson reports:  The three chicks can now be distinguished by their facial markings; the female chick has an entirely black face, her brother has a completely grey face, and Preston has a black spot on each cheekbone.  The chicks' motor skills are progressing nicely.  All three chicks now have an adult posture and are quite sure-footed.  However, the chicks still tend to topple when they practice flapping their wings.

Tuesday June 29, 1999
Robyn Carlson reports:  The chicks are increasing in size daily.  In addition, the chicks' contour feathers continue to grow in and they all now have adult colouring on their faces (black as opposed to white).   They are steady on their feet and spend considerable time running along the nest ledge and flapping their wings.

Wednesday June 30, 1999
Robyn Carlson reports:  Now that the chicks all have completely dark faces (that is, adult facial colouring), it is much more difficult to distinguish between them.  The chicks were so active that it was difficult to keep them in view of the camera.  In addition to walking along the ledge, they also practiced hopping along the ledge, aided by wing flapping.  Daily, the chicks' confidence with respect to the use of their limbs increases.


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