The Canadian Peregrine Foundation


June 1998

Wednesday, June 3
Kenn Chapman reports:  A new video camera was installed today by Intercon Security on the side of the building at 8 King St E, looking across the courtyard at the nesting ledge. The image won't be as sharp as the cameras on the Etobicoke and Hamilton sites, and it can't be adjusted. But we will be able to see the entire ledge as the chicks, now approaching 4 weeks old, begin wandering back and forth. There are still some problems getting connected to the Internet, but that should be resolved by Friday morning.

When Cory and Romand of Intercon stepped onto the fire escape at 8 King St E, both adults took a loud exception to the intrusion. Both of them did several "close" fly pasts, screeching the entire time. Cory was somewhat apprehensive about this adventure, and came back inside. Pounce-Kingsley then perched himself on the fire escape for a few minutes and glared at Romand. When Cory returned, Pounce-Kingsley withdrew to another observation point. When Cory started drilling the holes for mounting the camera bracket, Victoria -- who was standing guard on the nesting ledge -- went berserk and did several more noisy fly pasts. However, once the adults realized that Intercon's presence was not going to pose any direct threat to the chicks, they settled down on nearby perches to keep an eye on things. The rest of the installation proceeded without further incident.

About 4:30, Pounce-Kingsley arrived on the nest ledge with a small portion of "prepared" food. Instead of feeding the chicks, he just dropped it in front of the two oldest, as if to say, "There it is. Help yourself." The two chicks started picking at the food, and after several minutes without much success, the adult decided to help them out by feeding it to them directly. But already the chicks are being "taught" and encouraged to fend for themselves.

Tuesday, June 9
Kenn Chapman reports:  Today was banding day. It got off to a slow start when a 1-hour delay was caused by a faulty motor on the swing stage. Finally, around 10:30, all was ready, and Mark Heaton (OMNR) ascended the wall to the 20th story ledge. As he approached, Victoria and Pounce-Kingsley, as anticipated, took noisy exception to the proceedings. Pounce-Kingsley made numerous dives at the swing stage, coming within a few feet several times, while Victoria sat on the ledge just to the north of the chicks, and watched for most of the time. Just before the last chicks were put into the bag, she flew past the swing stage and perched on the ledge to the south. Finally the bag was raised to Pud Hunter (OMNR) waiting on the roof.

The chicks were then brought down to the Falcon Watch Centre on the main floor, where Pud weighed and banded them, assisted by John Almond (OMNR), and photographed by Mark Nash. Within 45 minutes, the job was done -- not without some screaming and other impolite comments from the chicks -- and the chicks were returned to the rood and lowered down to the swing stage where Mark Heaton was still waiting for them. As expected, shortly after the chicks were safely returned to the nesting ledge and the swing stage lowered to the ground, all seemed to return to normal with the adults, and life goes on.

There are four female chicks this year, aged 29, 29, 28 and 27 days old. Details with weights and band numbers will be posted at a later time, in a new section, titled "Family Tree", which will detail banding information for all nest sites for the past four years, where possible. Band number and weights for all sites are made available to us courtesy of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, with whose essential partnership we are indeed grateful.

Monday June 15
Bruce Massey reports
:  Observed both Kingsley & Victoria cleaning kills on the TD Bank building on the S.W. corner Yonge & King. Victoria took hers up to feed the young, and Kingsley stashed his somewhere off to the E.

Thursday, June 18
Kenn Chapman reports:  I apologize for the lack of updates for the Toronto nest site. The truth is, we have been so busy downstairs in the Falcon Watch Centre, and no one is really spending any time at the current observation post. Each day, the nest ledge is looked at briefly, and all four chicks are healthy and growing rapidly. We've observed the occasional feeding and the larger chicks are definitely getting themselves ready to fly by flapping their wings vigorously. The two largest have very little down visible.

The estimate is, if these chicks are on schedule, the first one or two will fledge by next Wednesday. However, Peregrine Falcons being what they are, the first one could go as early as Saturday. A new observation post is being set up on the 23rd floor of the National Trust Building, and observers will be on hand from Saturday onwards. There will certainly be regular daily updates posted from here on, at least for the next six weeks or so.

One of our pet wishes this year is that the adults will return to the ledge on the east side of the building next year. The "feeling" is there is a possibility of that happening. Early this afternoon, Victoria was seen landing on the east ledge and remaining there for about five minutes. An encouraging sign indeed! We'll be keeping our eyes on this side of the building over the fall and winter months.

Friday, June 19
Kenn Chapman reports:  Well, we thought the time had come -- in a way it has. Bruce Massey arrived around 8 am and checked the nest site from our usual observation point. There were only three chicks visible, all active, flapping their wings and hobbling back and forth along the ledge. Where was the fourth one? Oh my god, it must have fledged.

When I arrived somewhat later, I found Bruce in the courtyard, watching, looking, baffled by the absence of the fourth chick. I looked for myself. Only three very active chicks on the ledge. I gained access to the roof on the Metropole across the street, and did a survey of all the rooftops to the west and south of the nest building. No luck.

Finally I went up to our new observation post in the National Trust Building (I suppose I should refer to it from here on by its proper name: One Financial Place). From the extreme right window of the suite, it was possible to see a little bit behind the pillar. Hugh Currie of the Toronto Ornithological Club was with me, and confirmed my suspicion. There, humped up in the dark of the shadow, was the fourth chick -- sound asleep! Evidently it had been there all morning.

Throughout the rest of the afternoon, it was very evident from the behaviour of the two oldest chicks that they are definitely getting ready to leave home. Yes, the time has come -- heart attack time. This will be the fourth year I have gone through this, but it doesn't stop the anxiety of watching a chick stand on the very edge of the nest ledge, flapping its wings, and almost losing its balance over the edge.

Saturday, June 20
Kenn Chapman reports:  There was a lot of flapping activity on the ledge today, and a few close calls, but no flyers -- yet! Between 1:30 and 2:25 pm, the two oldest chicks did a lot of flapping and "flying" back and forth along the ledge. At 2:25, one of them had her tail over the ledge; when she began flapping vigorously, she lost her balance and almost fell off the ledge backwards. She was able to just hang on with her talons and succeeded in dragging herself back onto the ledge.

Between 3:00 and 4:20 pm, all was quiet, with all the chicks sleeping in the shade behind the pillar. Then there was a small flapping outburst for a few minutes.

At 4:30, both adults were seen on the Scotia Tower. About fifteen minutes later, one of them disappeared somewhere, while the other enjoyed a float on the thermals for several minutes before returing to the Scotia Tower.

On the ledge, there was another brief flapping outburst around 5:15, with a lot of noise from all the chicks. They could see the adults, and were complaining vigorously that they hadn't been fed yet today. That was finally resolved at 5:45 pm when an adult dropped a small morsel on the ledge and left again. It was their first feeding of the day!

Sunday, June 21
Kenn Chapman reports:  DOUBLE EXCITEMENT -- AND TRAGEDY! At 10:00 am this morning, the first chick flew from the nest site, made a strong flight to the west and south and landed on the corner of the TD Bank building on the SW corner of Yonge and King St. It remained there for several hours, with Victoria keeping a close watch from the building across the street.

At 1:00 pm, the second chick also left the nest ledge, and followed her smaller sister to the south and west. Instead of landing on the TD Bank building, she circled around, flew back toward the nest building, circled around to the SW again, flew over the TD Bank building and bumped into the side of the building next to it. She wasn't sure what was happening as she half fell, half flew down to the street and landed on the road, right in between the streetcar tracks. Bruce was right on top of the scene, and stopped the traffic for a few minutes as the chick looked around and then hobbled on her own to the sidewalk. We kept an eye on her for about ten minutes and decided, after about 10 minutes, that with all the traffic and onlookers around, there was no point in leaving her there to fend for her self. Bruce wrapped her in his vest, and we took the chick to the top of 8 King St W and placed her on the ledge just below our video camera. She would be able to see the nest ledge directly across the courtyard, and a noisy adult was on hand to keep an eye on here.

Throughout the afternoon, the smaller chick remained on the roof of the TD Bank, while her larger sister stayed on the ledge where we left her. She spent some time running back and forth along the ledge, flapping her wings, and spent the rest of the time just resting.

About 5:15, the larger chick started wandering along the ledge again, and ended up on the fire escape grating. She encountered difficulties there by getting her talons caught in the grating, and it took her about fifteen minutes to free herself enough to make her way back to the ledge.

Just before 6:00 pm, Victoria showed up and perched on the fire escape. Shortly after, Pounce-Kingsley arrived with some food for the two chicks remaining on the nest ledge.

Meanwhile, we had lost sight of the small chick on the TD Building. She had hopped down off the ledge onto the roof. A few times we could see her head popping up at various places, and wings flapping. Presumably she finally found a cool place to relax and sleep.

At 7:00 pm, I went to the 23rd floor National Trust observation suite, and noticed the larger chick was still on the ledge of 8 King St W. Then I just barely caught a glimpse of the smaller chick: evidently she had left the TD Bank at some time, and found her way to the top of the fan unit on the rood of the nesting building. I saw her just as she took off and flew north out of sight. About 10 minutes later she returned and perched on the roof of 8 King St W, directly above the larger chick on the ledge about 10 feet below her.

At 8:10 pm, The larger chick hobbled along the ledge to the NW corner of 8 King St. She bobbed and flapped and made it very obvious that she wanted to go somewhere, anywhere. She was bobbing her head in every direction, and finally she let go and flew around to the top roof of the nesting building.

Then, several minutes later, tragedy struck. The larger chick flew off the nesting building and headed back toward the ledge at 8 King St W. She was unable to gain sufficient altitude, and flew headlong into the brick wall. One of the watchers picked her up in the courtyard and concluded she had broken her neck. We wrapped her in the blanket and took a cab to the Humane Society where Wendy Hunter was waiting for us. Upon examination, it was noticed the chick's beak was broken which suggests her impact against the wall was extremely hard.

The two chicks remaining on the nest ledge have not really started flapping at all yet, so it may be several more days before they fledge.

Bruce Massey reports:
I started the day at 0600 Hrs. At about 0630 I went into the MacDonalds courtyard, and found the two adults opposite the Nest on 8 King St. E. They seemed to be patiently waiting for something. At about 1010 Hrs. I was on Yonge St. over by Adelaide when I saw a bird leave the nest to the south and then west along King St. The flight looked pretty strong and I dismissed it as one of the adults going in and out of the nest. At 1100 Hrs. Victoria flew to the "Shoppers Drug Mart" building on the southeast corner of King & Yonge and perched on the top of one of the windows on the Yonge St. side. At 1120 Hrs., myself and one other volunteer found the 1st fledgling on the top of the roof of the TD Bank building at the southwest corner of King & Yonge. The way the 1st fledgling was found, was as follows: the fact that Victoria perched where she did, and when John and I were walking around through the MacDonalds courtyard trying to track vocalizations that we heard. We were walking east on King and still heard the vocalizations from the direction of King & Yonge. We were walking north on Yonge at about Adelaide when we found her.

At about 1300 Hrs: I had moved about 200 yards down King St. towards Bay in order to watch Fledgling #1, who had moved to the northwest corner of the building. At this time, Fledgling #2 again went south and then west on King St. Her flight wasn't as strong and she seemed to be struggling more than than Fledgling #1. She tried to land on the building where her sibling was but flared out too soon and had to continue west on King St. She came around and did a fairly controlled "brush-off" of the Royal Bank building (3 buildings west of Yonge St on the north side of King St). However, she had lost too much height, and came back to the east towards Yonge. She came down below the streetcar wires at about the 1st block west of King & Yonge St. She finally landed on the streetcar tracks in front of the entrance to the King Subway. It was a stroke of luck that it was Sunday and there was very little traffic, and I was able to make a mad 200 yard dash to where she had landed. After directing a couple of cars around her I herded into a doorway near the subway entrance. By that time Kenn and one of the other volunteers arrived, and after a 5 minute discussion it was decided that she wasn't injured but that she was in danger from the traffic, and it would be better to get a hold of her and release her from the top of 8 King St. E. This was accomplished by myself using my "trusty" fishing vest and a couple of attempts before I got a hold of her. I didn't get the vest over her head, but I had a good hold on her and didn't feel comfortable in trying to get her head covered, as I would have to release her and try again. We carried her over to 8 King St. E. and went up the fire escape (The worst part, as it is mesh and I suffer from a little touch of vertigo). My other concern was when I released her would she panic and go off the roof. When I released her, she just froze in a semi-erect defensive position, and I was able to back away without any trouble. The unfortunate end of this story was that later that evening the bird impacted the Nest Building, when attempting to make it back to the nest. I wasn't present but heard about it the next day.

Monday, June 22
Kenn Chapman reports:  Today was relatively quiet; there were no new fledgings. "Linda" was found perched on the roof of 8 King St W this morning, in the same location where she was last seen the night before. Later in the morning, she flew around a bit and ended up on the old CIBC building on the ledge near the top. This chick has no problem with flying! She demonstrated an instinct for catching the thermals, and gained considerable altitude to get to the top of the CIBC.

Around noon, Pounce-Kingsley brought some food to her on the CIBC, and he repeated that task at 5:35 pm. For most of the day, Linda contented herself by remaining on the ledge of the CIBC, trying to relax and keep cool, not an easy task considering she was sitting right out in the hot, searing sun all day.

At 6:30, Linda flew off the CIBC building, headed north, circled around near the Scotia Tower and tried to land on the Commerce Court building. She failed to find a perch there and continued to circle around, "floating" on the thermals before attempting a landing to the south on BCE Place. Again, she had no luck there, continued floating/flying around until she settled on the south side of the CIBC building. Altogether she was in the air for possibly a good ten minutes -- not bad for a 42-day-old chick on her second day off the nest.

Back on the home front, the other two chicks did very little all day. There were brief periods of furious flapping, but fortunately no foolish flying. They were not fed all day until after 6:00 pm.

Bruce Massey reports:  1st Fledgling (Now named Linda) made several stong flights through the day and in the evening made a good long flight including "brush-offs" on BCE, New Commerce Court and the Old Commerce Court.

Tuesday, June 23
Kenn Chapman reports:  More excitement, mysteries and rescues today: Leona made the decision to leave home early this morning, about 6:50 am. Despite the steady drizzle, she made it safely to the roof of 10 King St E, right next door, after circling around a couple of times.

Meanwhile Linda, who had spent the night on the roof of 8 King St E, decided to go for an early morning fly about. At her tender young age, she had not yet learned to cope with the extra weight of the rain that started falling. Consequently, as she continued flying around, she progressively lost altitude, and finally came to rest in the small parkette on Court St across from the cathedral on Church St. A couple of workers in the area noticed her, knew what she was, and spent a couple of hours trying to find out who to call before Bruce finally came to the rescue (he had been preoccupied with following Lucy's progress, and hadn't noticed Linda flying off). He placed her in the box and returned her to the Falcon Centre to wait for Mark Heaton (OMNR). Mark finally arrived around 10:30, examined the bird, and concluded there was no injury. We took the box to the roof of 8 King St E and released her there. Her first reaction was to show her indignation by hissing at us, then she ran to the other end of the ledge. She remained there until early evening when she started flying again, moving from one rooftop to another, demonstrating strong flying skills.

Throughout the day, observers kept watching the nest ledge for signs of the fourth chick (Lucy). Comments were made that neither parent had been seen taking food there. Nor did we see her on the edge flapping her wings -- however, this was not unusual as she tended to remain behind the pillar throughout much of the day. Around 6 pm, we went to the observation suite on the 23rd floor of One Financial Place, trained the 'scope on the pillar, and finally concluded that what we were looking at behind the pillar was just a lot of dirt and shadow. Lucy had flown! But when? where? It wasn't until about 8:30 that the watchers were able to account for all three chicks -- Lucy was the one sitting on the ledge next door at 10 King St E.
-- So, the nest is now empty.

Bruce Massey reports:  (Please stay with me on this account - if it seems confusing, believe me it was.)  I started day at 0530 with one of the adults diving down on some gulls from the St. James Tower to the east over St. James Park. What I thought was the 3rd fledgling went off the nest at 0710. She did it right, going straight west off the nest to 8 King St. E. She must have landed on a window sill or one of the angle irons that are on the east side of 8 King St. E. After about 15-20 min. I happened to be walking through the MacDonalds courtyard when I saw her fly south towards the Metropole. After another 15-20 min I found her on the south side of 10 King St. E. I then set myself up at King and Victoria to watch her. By this time a volunteer had came by and we watched her together.

By now it was around 0915 and I received a radio call from Bill Green at CPF headquarters that there was a downed peregrine at the Court St. parkette. I left the volunteer watching the 3rd fledgling, and headed over to the parkette. My thoughts were that Linda had finally come to ground. Much to my surprise, it turned out the downed peregrine was very large dark colored bird. By piecing together the story, she had been down in the parkette from about 0700, when she had landed in the alleyway. Three workers herded her into the park, and I found out much later that they even had petted her (Luckily they had used welding gloves). I returned to the info center and got the box, and then proceeded to pick her up, again using my vest and returned her to the info center. About an hour and half later Mark Heaton came to look at her and she was released from the same spot as her ill-fated sister.

Now if by reading the above account you are confused, I will attempt to clear it up for you. Fledgling #3 was in fact the 4th to fledge. Remember she left the nest at about 0710. If the rescued bird had been in the parkette since 0700 then she was the 3rd to fledge and the 0710 bird was in fact the 4th. This bird was also much more calmer than the 1st bird to fledge. She let me approach behind her without reacting and I was able to put my vest over her and get her into the box. This was the only time she showed any distress. She was so upset that she clamped onto the D-Ring of my vest and in fact the vest stayed in the box until Mark Heaton checked her out.

Wednesday, June 24
Kenn Chapman reports:  Will these chicks ever learn? Actually, Linda and Leona, the two small females, did a lot of flying around in the morning, from one rooftop to another. Again in the evening, they kept the watchers running all over the streets of downtown Toronto as they both did a lot of flying, soaring, and riding the thermals. They both gained high altitude with no difficulty as they took turns flying around and onto the Scotia Tower and the CIBC building. At one time, one of them was seen perched on the top of Commerce Court, one of the highest buildings in Toronto.

It was Lucy that gave us the problems. Since leaving the nest ledge on Tuesday, she remained on the roof of 10 King St E. Throughout the afternoon, she laid down on the ledge, right next to the depression that housed the air circulation unit for the building. We started to worry when we noticed that not once did she get up to stretch and flap a bit. She just said still all afternoon, occasionally raising her head to see if there was any food nearby. Then around 6 pm, she did get up, and started flapping furiously. After a few minutes, instead of flying off the ledge, she jumped backward and landed on the top grate of the fan unit. After several more minutes, she flew/flopped down into the air unit depression, about a 12-foot drop. Would another rescue be necessary?

Efforts were made to get in touch with the building superintendent, and he finally arrived about 8:30 (he lives north of the city and was already at home for the evening). Wendy Hunter of the Toronto Humane Society just happened to drop by earlier to see what was happening, so she went up to the roof with the superintended and myself. We went into the air unit depression, and found Lucy sitting there, looking very disgusted with the whole situation. Almost immediately she started hopping around, and at one point she made a run at Wendy. It was obvious the bird was not injured nor experiencing any stress from her misadventure. Wendy had misgivings about whether, at Lucy's age and flying experience, she would be able to have enough room to fly up the 12 feet and out of the depression. However, Mark Heaton's (OMNR) instructions were, if the bird is not injured, then leave her alone for a day and give her a chance to work her own way out of the depression. It was conceivable she could have made it. Then the superintended pointed out a puddle of water on the floor, and mentioned this was the runoff from the air unit and contained numerous chemicals such as rust and corrosion inhibitors. What if she were to take a drink to relieve her thirst? It didn't take long to make the decision: Lucy was caught by Wendy in a towell, after a lot of evasive running around, and placed in the box. We took the box through the boiler room to the side of the building and released the bird on the lower roof area. No sooner did we open the box, than Lucy jumped out on her own and ran/flew to the other end of the roof.

Four days, three rescues and one death. Not a good start for this year.

Thursday, June 25
Kenn Chapman reports:  During the morning, all three chicks were accounted for. They seemed to by flying well, including Lucy who made a couple of short flights from one building to another. Pounce-Kingsley was observed perched on the old nest ledge on the east side of the building for a while.

At 5:30 pm, Lucy was found perched on a windowsill on the east side of The Metropole (the new condo building on the SW corner of King and Victoria Sts). Shortly after she flew off the sill, and went to the NE around the corner of the King Edward Hotel. She was not seen again for the rest of the evening. She has probably come down on a rooftop somewhere and is resting there, out of view from the street.

From the afternoon on, Liona perched in front of an air vent on the north side of the nesting building. She was still there at 9:30 when we left for the evening.

Around 7:30, Linda gave us a spectacular aerial display. This chick (first to fledge just 5 days ago) is a very strong flyer. She was constantly circling around by the Scotia Tower, floating, diving, gaining altitude -- all with hardly a flutter of her wings. At one time she was joined by Victoria for a few minutes, and they "played tag", with Linda trying to catch Victoria. Victoria tired of the game, but Linda continued her "ballet", which lasted a good half hour before she perched on the CIBC building for a rest.

At 8:30, Linda was back for another aerial display, which lasted about ten minutes.   All evening, both adults were on and off the Scotia Tower, while Linda was on and off the CIBC building.

Bruce Massey reports:  All birds sighted, nothing much to report except someone came out on to roof of 10 King St. and was told in no uncertain terms repeatedly by Kingsley. He then waited on the 8 King St. E. fire escape in case the person returned. Kingsley was so diligent because one of the immatures was on the north side of 10 King St.

Friday, June 26
Kenn Chapman reports:  The good news is, there were no mishaps today with the chicks. The bad news is, there isn't really much of anything to report. All three chicks were accounted for throughout the day. During the heavy rainstorm in the afternoon, they all stayed put and just got wet. When the rain finished, the strong winds continued into the evening which caused them some difficulties while flying. Even the adults were not very graceful as they flew about. Because of the winds, there were no spectacular aerobatic displays like last evening -- just brief flights to get from point A to point B.

Lucy did more flying today and is looking stronger. In the early evening, she was perched on the NE corner of the nesting building. She remained there for some time, occasionally flapping her wings. At one point, Linda arrived on the very top of the roof, and shortly after an adult dropped some food there for her. She ate half the food and decided she was full. Victoria arrived to eat the leftover; at first Linda was reluctant to let Victoria near the food, but she finally withdrew. Victoria proceeded to finish the food, which somewhat dismayed us because we thought she should have taken the remainder to the lower ledge for Lucy.

Pounce-Kingsley a little later flew to the top of One Financial Place and began coaxing Lucy to come on up. Lucy finally flew off the nesting building toward One Financial Place. She failed to gain enough altitude and tried to find a perch on a window sill -- but there are no window sills on this building. She turned away, circled around and made another attempt. This time she got the altitude and landed safely on top of One Financial Place.

Bruce Massey reports:
Here are the identifying features of this year's immatures:
FLEDGLING #1-"LINDA"-Has some beige marks on the top of her head, and these markings give her a very distinct horizontal eye line, almost like an Osprey.
FLEDGLING #2-"LIONA"-Very large, with very dark coloring, Her vertical chest stripes are very noticeable.
FLEDGLING #3-"LUCY"- The smallest of the three, with fairly wide cheek patches.

Sunday, June 27
Kenn Chapman reports:  Today was another relatively quiet day. All three chicks are flying well, although Lucy still has some difficulty with awkwardness. She doesn't always get the altitude she needs to get to the top of building, but she merely circles around and does it right the second time.

Around 7:30 pm, we were treated again to a spectacular aerial display. Linda (I presume) caught an updraft near the Scotia Tower, and seemed to float -- straight up. Above the Scotia Tower, she just hung there, in mid-air, completely still. After several moments, she slowly floated sideways -- oh, so slowly -- until the current changed and she did several wide circles. Finally, she floated out of sight. The entire show lasted over ten minutes, and during that time she never fluttered her wings once.

Monday June 29
Bruce Massey reports:  At about 1015 Linda made a good strong flight from the lower levels of St. James off to the east to where Victoria was flying over George Brown College with prey. As I watched from the ground, and a volunteer watched from the 23rd floor of National Trust, Linda after several attempts made a successful in-air transfer of the food.

Later I picked up an injured Kestrel that had been found over near the Simpson Tower. It was an immature male, and was transported to the Toronto Humane Society. I checked with Wendy Hunter several days later and found that it had recovered and had been released.

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