!!! A Wonderful Day in London Yesterday; Female Identification Made!!

May 04, 2012 - London - TD Tower

Tracy Simpson Reports:

Frank and I enjoyed a wonderful day in London yesterday sharing information on the history and happenings of the London nest site with members of the community. During the past two days we have met hundreds of inquizitive folks and we were overjoyed at the interest that everyone showed.

We set up at the site at around noon and immediately got views of the female on the edge of the nest tray.   In the scope I could clearly see that her recovery band was black over red with a 2 on the top that was rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise and the lower letter is an X. The band was covered with a small amount of debris on the lower letter and so we will be back on May 10th to reconfirm but I can say with very little doubt that the resident female is Thunder, hatched in 2005 in Syracuse, New York.  Back in 2006, Thunder was spending time in Kitchener, Ontario with a Canadian male named Dundas who was famous for surviving to hunt and breed while missing one leg.  The last sighting of her was in December of 2006 and Kitchener to London is a coffee run for a peregrine.  The London territory was taken over by a new female in 2007, right around the time that sightings of her and Dundas stopped and by a female with the same band configuration of black over red so it was likely Thunder since that time. 

It is very exciting to have found Thunder here in London and as the daughter of the famous Fancy and Groucho in Syracuse, its all the sweeter a story.  We still need to reconfirm the “X” on the bottom of the band but we are incredibly confident of it being Thunder. 

The day continued with Dougal leaving the antenna on the Dundas tower at around 1:15pm and returning shortly with a snack for Thunder who was out of our sights in the nest tray. Dougal returned to the antenna while the female took the gift of food up to the TD sign where she consumed some of it and stashed the rest. Just before 2:00pm there was a shift change between the adults and the male took over the duties of caring for whatever they had in the tray. At 3:00pm, an American Kestrel got scared out of its wits when the male left the tray in hot pursuit! By 3:50pm an adult Bald eagle was making lazy circles close to the nest under the watchful eye of the male as the female had resumed her tray duties. After all of this excitement, it was time for me to head up to meet Domenic Ripepi of the Sifton Property Management Group who takes care of 1 London Place. The meet wasn’t meant to be but his administrative assistant, Linda Machuk, contacted him for me and graciously granted me access to a higher elevation to see just what they were working on in the nest tray. As reported earlier, by the end of my time in the suite I was 100% sure that at least one egg was being incubated in the nest tray.

Back down on Wellington St., the excitement continued when a Turkey vulture soared through past the nest tray which rousted both adults. Dougal took one good stoop at it and made contact with the vulture and Thunder came in right behind him. The vulture made a hasty retreat while the adults returned to the ledge. The female then took off, cycled around the building and then landed on the southwest corner loudly whining. Dougal came out of the east and flew in for mating!! More eggs in the making!! The female then returned to incubation duties while Dougal returned to his antenna perch on the Dundas tower.

I can’t say enough how many amazing people we have had the pleasure of meeting over the last two days. It was most pleasing to see the interest of the younger generation and hear their own stories of the falcons of London. A most important thank you to Domenic Ripepi and Linda Machuk of Sifton Property Management Group for access to elevations that allowed for the confirmation of at least one egg. I will be back in London again next week for an afternoon of falcon watching and community engagement; something I love to do!! I will also be reconfirming the identity the female as Thunder so come out and join us at the Peregrine Perch ( park bench on the west side of Wellington, look for the scope!! ) on May 10th!!