!!! A great day at Nanticoke OPG and some very good news!! Marla Black 15 over Black X with hatchlings!

June 09, 2011 - Nanticoke OPG

Mark Nash Reports:

Thursday June 9th
We have some good news to report from the Nanticoke Ontario Power Generation plant! After spending a great day with plant staff doing presentations for environmental week, we are very happy to report that their earlier reports of peregrine nesting activity has been confirmed.

Both Tracy and I had a great morning with approx. 70 OPG plant staff and four members of our feathered educational team. A huge thank you to Ulrich for bringing in his two eagles that joined us for the morning presentation. A very good morning indeed!

The afternoon was spent with plant staff investigating their earlier reports of peregrine activity and we have some further good news to report.

OPG Nanticoke has their first pair nesting peregrine falcons! We were able to both confirm the identity of the resident female peregrine as being a 2009 Etobicoke produced bird named Ms. Marla, banded with a Black 15 over Black X. We were also able to confirm that she has new recently hatched young! The now so good news has yet to be confirmed.

Earlier reports from the OPG plant staff is that there has been ongoing territorial disputes going on with another adult male, the staff have witnessed aerial between the two males earlier on in the week.

A resident male was not observed at all during our visit, and other observations recorded during our visit would suggest that there may not be a resident male attending.

We watched the Ms. Marla fly in to the net ledge with food and feed her offspring with no signs of a resident male. We also observed a Turkey vulture flying overhead during this dame time period, and at no time did we see a resident male defending or present anywhere.

On two separate occasions during our one plus hour observation period, the resident female Ms. Marla called out looking for her mate, but once again, no male ever responded or attended.

Speculation that the resident male may have been injured in the earlier aerial battles with the other male peregrine and may have succumb to injuries sustained in a battle and has been killed.

It is very odd to see the resident female with new hatchlings having to leave the nest to get her own food, as the resident male is usually supplying her with food directly to the nest ledge at this stage of family rearing with new born hatchlings in the nest. While the pair usually have a number of food cache spots where the male stashes fresh food that they can both draw from, and occasionally the resident female will leave new hatchlings to draw from these stashes herself, it is the male that usually delivers food directly to her, to the nest ledge to feed the chicks.

Further to this, Marla called out and loudly vacuolized on several occasions during our visit to attract the attention of her mate, but no response was ever heard, and no male was ever seen.

The fact that the Turkey vulture was allowed to come this close to the nest ledge un challenged by the adult male (especially with new hatchlings on the nest ledge), might also suggest the absence of a resident male. While it is entirely possible that the resident male may have simply been out hunting or taking a break on another part of the plant out of eye sight of the nest and his mate, the entire situation remains very suspicions indeed.

Further observations are needed to get a better handle on the situation before any hard conclusions can be made.

On a more positive note, the nest ledge is a great spot that is hidden under a huge conveyor belt structure with only a single accesses in and out to a completely closed-in portion of the superstructure frame underneath the conveyor superstructure , and it provides ideal protection both from the elements and any avian predators that might be in the neighbourhood.

The abundance of available food sources in the area also offer more than enough food and all in all, this is a fantastic location and nest site for the peregrines.
Stay tuned……..