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Canadian Peregrine Foundation » Tuesday at William Osler. Kids are Awesome and A Few Oddities to Report.

Tuesday at William Osler. Kids are Awesome and A Few Oddities to Report.

June 15, 2016 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

After what I had seen last night, when I started the watch this morning there was no concern on my part for the safety of our young fledglings. Even though yesterday was their first day of flying, they showed skill in manoeuvring as well as an ability to make good choices when things didn’t work out as they had planned. The continuation of the watch at this point is to ensure good landings, safe flights and that the family dynamic is a positive one. With Casper playing very little to no role at this stage of the chicks development there is a small amount of concern regarding Chessie’s ability to keep up.  And so the watch continues.

When I pulled in and parked my car I found Chessie and Casper up on the north east corner of the hospital and although the young were not in sight I knew they were on the roof. Chessie was supervising the fledglings self feeding while Casper sat a few feet away looking for an opportunity for a meal. Casper has regularly been taking opportunities to avail himself of stashes and pick up leftovers for a meal rather than hunt on his own. Since the watch began I have yet to see him actually bring in food for this family. This is not a case of bad parenting but I believe instead a case of Casper continuing to recover from the injury that I can clearly see on the back of his head and possibly other injuries that are not visible to me. After the fledglings had finished eating, Chessie flew over to the tower for a rest while Casper flew up to the south H sign. At this point the entire family took time to rest for over an hour. Just after 10am Chessie went off on another hunt to the north east. It wasn’t long before she came back with a pigeon and carried it up to one of the antennas on the roof of the hospital perching herself just above the fledglings location. She plucked her kill vigourously for about 10 minutes and then fell asleep. Really? Asleep? I couldn’t believe my eyes. After about two minutes of snoozing, Chessie awoke and began plucking again. It wasn’t long before she drifted off once more. This had me a little concerned as this is certainly not the time for napping. Was she getting enough food for herself? Was she so busy with the young that she was not getting enough rest? I decided to keep a closer eye and pay greater attention to her today as much as I was the fledglings. She finished plucking her prey, flew out over the parking lot with it and back up to the corner where the kids were awaiting her arrival. She did a touch and go anticipating one of them to follow her but they both stayed put. She made a second attempt to lure one off into the air but they wouldn’t budge. She flew over to the tower with her prey and landed on the top with it. Casper followed her up to the tower and landed a few feet away whining and begging for a taste. Chessie once again fell asleep with the prey firmly in her grasp. She was abruptly awakened when Casper leaned forward and attempted to grab the food right out from under her foot. That was not welcome gesture. She flew over to the hospital to the north east corner and beak fed Ramses and Sahara. Once done, Chessie flew back to the tower and the entire family slept for the next two hours.
At 1 o’clock, Casper took off and disappeared to the west. About 10 minutes later I saw him reappear on the north side of the hospital and for the first time since I started the watch I saw he had food in his foot. He struggled with the rather large package that he brought home as he carried it up to the ledge on the north side. Chessie quickly flew over to see what he had brought home and I raced over towards the north parking lot to try and catch the interaction. By the time I arrived in a good spot for viewing, Casper was already in the air and making his way towards the tower leaving Chessie on the ledge on her own. Casper must’ve stashed the food up against the pillar on the ledge and Chessie made no move to retrieve it. She flew off of the ledge over to the tower and was not carrying anything with her. After about 10 minutes, Chessie left on a hunt of her own out to the west. She returned with a rather large pigeon that she took over to the tower for some prep and then back over to the hospital to the young ones. This was their third meal on the day of which two were rather large. It was a reassuring sight to see that they were receiving all of the food that they needed in order to power their flights. Yet in all three of the feedings that I witnessed, Chessie had only taken a few bites for herself. It would appear as though she was not eating very much but rather giving the lions share to her kids. After this third big meal, back to bed went the family and Bruce took over the watch for me. I gave Bruce points of focus to watch for as there was no need for concern that a fledgling was coming down to be rescued. Instead I had him monitor feeding times and sizes, who the food is being delivered to and whether Chessie was eating any for her self. By 430, the kids had woken up and it was time to burn off some of that stored up energy. Lots of epic flights followed and at one point there was a flight of the full family, all four birds together, that was witnessed by Bruce. They were very few breaks in between the flight sessions of the kids and Chessie was monitoring it all herself. No wonder she’s so tuckered out. By the end of Bruce’s watch he was able to confirm that Chessie had enjoyed a nice meal for herself, a third pigeon was brought in for late snack and that Chessie bore a visible crop indicating that she was taking care of herself. I will be back out once again tomorrow to check in on the family’s progress and ensure that all is going well. Given that Casper hunted for the first time today during this entire watch period and brought home a sizeable meal, it would seem that he is starting to feel much better and beginning to participate more in the family dynamic.