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Ontario Power Generation's Wesleyville Station, on the north shore of Lake Ontario approximately 10 kilometres west of Port Hope.


Please help us keep track of the peregrines!  We welcome your observations of the Wesleyville peregrines (or any others) by email 

Project Release 2002:  Wesleyville
Through a partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Ontario Power Generation, the Canadian Peregrine Foundation is providing a home at Wesleyville for three orphaned peregrine chicks from Montreal, Quebec.  See the August 10 report for details on their history, and scroll down for the latest news about them.





Thursday September 12, 2002
Mark Nash reports:  I have some sad news to report.  Yesterday, we received a telephone call from Mr. Pud Hunter, from the Aylmer office of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to advise us that one of the Wesleyville released birds, Wesley, has been found dead in a laneway/driveway in a small community named Macintosh, Ontario.  This is close to Walkerton, Ontario.

At this point, there is no known cause of the mortality, and efforts are being made by Mr. Hunter to have the bird sent to the University of Guelph for testing.  We hope to have additional news in the next few weeks, and will post updates here as they become available.

We must all bear in mind, that the first year peregrine juveniles experience a high mortality, and although this sort of news is always disturbing, it is almost expected.  Over the past few years, while monitoring these nest sites, (both the hack release and wild urban nests), we have come to expect upwards of a 50% mortality from each nest over the next 12 months after fledging. 

Over all, the success of both the hack releases, and the results of the wild urban nest is very good, and we are encouraged by the results so far.

Wednesday September 4, 2002
Bill Newell reports:  Day 5 - The first watch of the day had no peregrine sightings.  A check on the quail at the hack box showed that nothing had fed since Tuesday morning.

Tuesday September 3, 2002
Bill Newell reports:  Day 4 - all 3 peregrines were on site in the morning.  Willow fed on a quail.  All three drifted off over the course of the afternoon and were not seen in the evening.  One of the males roosted on the microwave tower 1 km to the west.

Monday September 2, 2002
Bill Newell reports:  I flushed 1 male off a quail he had dragged out of the hack box at 6:45 this am.  He spent until mid-morning on a utility pole, after which he flew back up to the roof and carried the quail up to the ledge where he dined for us three watchers to see.  The other male was seen in the area last night but was not spotted by the 10 am shift change.


Now the extra good news.  The evening shift - 5:00 to dark just reported that Opie, Wesley, and yes, Willow too, were all on site from 5:30 -6:00 until dark!  Where Willow has been is anybody's guess but she took a roost just prior to dark on a pole immediately south of the hack box building.  The other male went to roost on the top of the microwave tower where he spent much of release day.  The second male flew off to the northeast of the site just prior to dark.

Sunday September 1, 2002
Bill Newell reports:   One male spent the day on various structures around the site.  The other male was sighted on site early but spent the day out of sight.  My observations ended at 2:00 pm.  The male that did some flying around today visited the hack box but did not spend enough time at it to eat, although there is food there.  As of Sunday pm, Willow has not been sighted again.  

Saturday August 31, 2002
Bill Newell reports:   The bars were pulled on the Wesleyville birds at 10:35 am this morning.  At 10:40 the female (Willow) flew out of the box and headed west.  She made a brief circle about 1 kilometre out, and went out of sight west.  The two males (Opie and Wesley), came out of the box an hour and 2 hours later, respectively.  One landed in a tower 1 km away while the other spent the day on the hack box building. One male was rescued at dark by Gerry McKenna, having lost his grip on his perch and getting caught up too near the ground.  He was returned to the hack box.  The other male spent the night on the hack building.

Thursday August 29, 2002
Bill Newell reports:   Our three young birds are looking very good.  They've slimmed down slightly and are even eating a bit less.  They've lost almost all their down.  They are taking less kindly all the time to the disturbance of the water changing - literally climbing the walls!  They are also slightly less vocal and more aggressive towards their food.

The release is scheduled for Saturday, August 31 at 10 am.  A falcon watch is scheduled and ready to go.  Our thanks to Willow Beach Field Naturalists and all other falcon watch participants in this fascinating project.

Monday August 19, 2002
Bill Newell reports:  The three chicks are up to one quail each per day and are looking alert and healthy.  They certainly are a vocal bunch.  The daily arrival of their meals brings on shrill cries.  They are growing practically as I watch them - more feather development and less white downy fuzz each day. 

Thursday August 15, 2002
Marcel Gahbauer reports:   Today the three chicks were taken from their captive foster mother and moved to the Wesleyville hack box in preparation for release.  Ontario Power Generation provided a room for the banding of the chicks, which was attended by staff and members of the public.  Dominic Iafrate of Ontario Power Generation presented Mark Nash of the Canadian Peregrine Foundation with a cheque to help cover the cost of caring for these three young peregrines.  After the chicks were banded by Pud Hunter of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, they were carried up the many flights of stairs to the roof of the main Wesleyville building, and introduced to their new home.  For approximately a week and a half, they will view Lake Ontario and the adjoining shoreline through the bars of the hack box, and then they will be released to explore the area on their own.

Saturday August 10, 2002
Marcel Gahbauer reports:  Through unexpected circumstances, the Canadian Peregrine Foundation is about to undertake a fourth release this summer, at a new location - Wesleyville, on the north shore of Lake Ontario, roughly one hour east of Toronto.

The story begins in Montreal, Quebec, just over four weeks ago.  The Champlain Bridge, one of the city's main traffic arteries, is undergoing extensive repairs this year.  In recognition of the presence of a peregrine pair at the site, the construction was scheduled such that it would not reach "their" part of the bridge until mid-July, by which time presumably they would have successfully raised their family.

Unfortunately those plans did not unfold as expected.  When construction crews approached the area on July 12, they found the adult female sitting tight on the nest, and after she finally moved aside, discovered three chicks, only one or two days old!  As it was impossible to delay construction for another 6 weeks, the chicks were collected and brought to UQROP (Union Québécoise de Réhabilitation des Oiseaux de Proie) in Ste-Hyacinthe for care.  Within a few days, they had been transferred to Falcon Environmental Services, a breeding facility in eastern Ontario, where they were placed in the care of an adult female peregrine, who quickly assumed her motherly duties.

The next step was to determine where the three chicks could be released back to the wild once they are ready to take flight.  Since the Quebec release program ended several years ago, there are few hack boxes remaining in place and in good repair.  Having more recent experience with releases in Ontario, the Canadian Peregrine Foundation offered to undertake the work necessary to provide a site for their release in Ontario.  The Société de la faune et des parcs Québec agreed that this would provide the birds with their best chance at a successful release.

Several sites were considered, including all of those which have been used to date for Project Release.  Ultimately, however, a new location was selected - Wesleyville.  At this location is a full-sized power generating plant which was built in the 1970s, but never entirely completed or put into operation.  A peregrine nest box was put on the roof several years ago, and is now being remodeled to serve as a hack box for these three chicks.  Bringing these three chicks to this location is a partnership between the Canadian Peregrine Foundation, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and Ontario Power Generation.

The Wesleyville site, though a building, is in a very rural area, surrounded by fields, wetlands, and small patches of forest, as well as Lake Ontario along its south perimeter (see the photo gallery).  This should provide the fledglings with lots of undisturbed areas in which to practice their hunting skills.

The chicks are scheduled to be delivered to their new home in Wesleyville on Thursday August 15, at which time they will be banded and placed inside the hack box.  They will remain inside for a week to ten days as they adapt to their new environment, and will then be released.

These three chicks have already had a very unusual life - hatched under a bridge, raised by a foster mother in captivity, and now soon to be released from a high rooftop by the lake.  It would be fascinating to learn how these peregrines compare to others by including one of them in Project Track-'em.  At the moment we don't have sufficient funds to dedicate a satellite transmitter to one of these birds, but would hate to miss out on this unique opportunity.  If you can help us with fundraising for this project, please contact Mark Nash at, 416-481-1233, or 1-888-709-3944.

© Canadian Peregrine Foundation