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Tuesday, May 5
Kenn Chapman reports: Bruce Massey reports seeing a third, adult male peregrine around 9:10 am in the vicinity of the nest site. He was quickly chased away by one of the other adults, presumably Pounce-Kingsley. Could this be the same bird that has been observed several times now in the Yonge/Bloor area and also last week in the Yonge/Finch area? The Yonge/Bloor sightings could conceivably be one of the downtown birds hunting that far north, but while the eggs are incubating it's not likely one of them would go so far north as Finch Ave. But that sighting was confirmed as an adult peregrine. It could possibly be a stray adult looking around Toronto for nesting accommodations to go along with an eligible young female for next year.
Tuesday, May 12
Kenn Chapman reports: I was almost certain this afternoon that what I was watching was behaviour that suggested the eggs had started hatching. First of all, what I saw: Around 2:30 I arrived at one of our advantage points. From below in the courtyard, I saw Pounce-Kingsley come and go from the nest ledge a few times, but it was difficult to know if he was chased off or not. At 2:30, he was sitting on a ledge on the same level as the nest but about 15 feet further south. He looked very ragged and worse for wear. Just before 3:00, Victoria got up from the eggs, walked the the edge, then both of them flew off together. It was a good 3 minutes before Victoria returned to the ledge; then she just sat there for a minute before slowing hobbling over to the eggs. Again, very slowly, she started positioning herself over the eggs, but she didn't completely settle down on top of them. Instead, she seemed to sort of stand/hover over them -- for a good fifteen minutes, before she finally settled down. About 3:45, Pounce-Kingsley arrived and perched on the air vent below the air vent. About fifteen minutes later, he took off again and wasn't seen again by 4:30 when I left. If the first egg has hatched, I would say the time was about 3:15 this afternoon.
-- However, checking my calendar suggests that no eggs have hatched yet. The last time both adults were seen courting around the old nest site was Easter Sunday -- April 13. The following Tuesday, the window washers were seen on the east side of the building, and that's when the birds "disappeared". Even if they laid all the eggs and started incubating them by April 15, the 33-day incubation period would put the earliest possible hatch date at May 18, which is another week from now. Of course, one possibility is that they in fact started laying their eggs on the west ledge a week earlier, but continued courting in their usual spots, thereby leading us to believe that they would continue using the same nest site as in past years. There's no question, however, that the behaviour this afternoon was so peculiar and suggestive of a hatching, that a close monitoring of the site will be maintained from here on .
Wednesday, May 13
Kenn Chapman reports: Based upon the behaviour observed today, it is evident there are no hatched eggs yet. About 9:30 am, there was a changing of the adults on the nest. Pounce-Kingsley had been on the eggs for some time, and was now relieved by Victoria who went immediately to the eggs and settled herself down on them. Pounce-Kinglsey returned to the area a few minutes later and perched on the fire escape across from the nest ledge and proceeded to preen himself.
Tuesday, May 19
Kenn Chapman reports: The eggs have hatched! There is no question about it. Bruce reports seeing an egg shell on the ledge on Friday. This would suggest the first egg may have hatched on that day. However, behaviour observed later today will refute that.
-- I arrived at the observation post about 10:40 this morning, just in time to see Victoria leave the nest ledge with a small morsel of food. Bruce reports she had arrived at least twenty minutes earlier and was feeding chicks. We still don't know how many there are. I tried having a look behind the pillar from another floor/window, but to no avail. We are assuming, based on past years performances, that there are four eggs/chicks, and will go with that assumption until visual evidence proves otherwise.
-- At 12:05, Pounce-Kingsley arrived with a small bird, perhaps a sparrow; he took it right to Victoria on the scrape, then left. Victoria proceeded to feed the chicks.
-- At 12:20, Victoria flew off the nest ledge. After a few minutes she returned to the fire escape on the building across the courtyard, and sat there for 2025 minutes before flying away out of sight. All this time, there was no sign of Pounce-Kingsley, although I'm sure he was somewhere nearby. This absence from the nest altogether suggests that all the eggs have now hatched.
-- Several times during the afternoon, Pounce-Kingsley was seen flying to the nest ledge, then going right over to the scrape. A couple of times, Victoria was sitting on the fire escape watching. Given the behavioural characteristics of peregrine falcons, that the female will not allow the male near the newly-hatched chicks for at least five days, then this behaviour observed this afternoon suggests the last egg must have hatched by last Friday. That would suggest the first egg could have hatched as early as May 12, the day I originally thought an egg had hatched (see the archives).
Thursday, May 28
Kenn Chapman reports: Today for the first time, the chicks have grown large enough to start wandering out from behind the pillar. At last we can see them -- all four of them. Yes, it's finally confirmed that there are four chicks again this year in downtown Toronto. Around 10 am, they were all huddled together about a foot north of the pillar. Obviously they had just been fed and were having their after-breakfast nap. There was no sign of either parent, but they were surely nearby keeping an eye on things.
-- Again about 4:30 this afternoon, we watched as Victoria fed two of the chicks, while the other two waited -- not very quietly nor patiently -- for their turn. Watching them move about, the size of their feet became obvious. It would seem that their feet are already full-grown, at least they looked that big when compared with the rest of their bodies. Two nov them are already starting to show small splotches of black where the primaries are starting to emerge. An estimate at their age would suggest they were approximately three weeks old. The MNR has already been notified, and they will have to determine if next week is the most appropriate time to to band them.
Friday, May 29
Kenn Chapman reports: Around 11:30 or so, Victoria arrived on the ledge with some food for the four chicks. During the feeding, which lasted a good half hour, two of the chicks stood upright on their own legs the entire time. Examining the oldest one later in the afternoon, there was very distinctive light-blue colouring extending from behind the eyes to the front, across the beek, and to behind the other eye. The top centre of the beek has turned an obvious dark grey or black, all of which suggests that these chicks are growing fast are almost ready to be banded (in about one-and-a-half weeks time).
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