Incubation is Underway

March 21, 2014 - Burlington - Lift Bridge

Sue McCreadie Reports:

-3 C / 27 F

9:00 am – 11:00 am

Sunny and clear

Although it was only -3C, it sure felt a lot colder. There was a cold wind from the Bay. As it was the first full day of spring, we didn’t expect to see the canal full of ice once again.

When we arrived, we could only spot Mackenzie who was hunting from the very top of the Hamilton Hydro Tower. The migration of Red-winged Blackbirds was continual and he made many dives (I lost count at 8) and was unsuccessful every time.

All of a sudden Mackenzie started a ruckus and took off after another juvenile Peregrine. Mackenzie had some very harsh words for the Juvenile. When the coast was clear he returned to the Hydro Tower.

On our last two visits, there has been a Juvenile in the area.

Mackenzie started ruckus number two, and this time Cirrus emerged from the nest box. She had been in the nest box the whole time, laying down in her usual back corner not visible from the parking lot. Mackenzie and Cirrus took off after another Juvenile Peregrine. The two of them were very aggressive towards it and guided it out of the territory. There is no way of knowing if this is the same juvenile. They both returned and Cirrus disappeared inside the nest box and Mackenzie took up his spot on the very top of the Hamilton Hydro Tower.

A short time later, ruckus number three. This time a beautiful Red-tailed Hawk tried to fly over the canal. Cirrus was out of the nest box again, and she and Mackenzie were on its tail. The interesting thing about this is, there was another adult Peregrine in the mix. All three Peregrines gave chase. We have no idea where the third bird came from or where it disappeared to. Cirrus returned to the top of the Burlington Hydro Tower and Mackenzie to the top of the Hamilton Hydro Tower. It makes me wonder if we have another female in the area looking for a nest site. Neither Cirrus or Mackenzie attacked this bird, they all worked together to escort the Red-tailed hawk out of town.

When they were certain that all was clear Cirrus returned to the front corner of the nest box, where Mackenzie joined her and mated with her. Cirrus then disappeared inside the nest box and Mackenzie returned to the Hydro Tower.

After another attempt by Mackenzie on the Red-winged Blackbirds, he gave up and flew to the bay side of the Skyway Bridge. We think he landed on the base of one of the light standards. He was gone for a while and when he returned he went right to the nest box and delivered a small food package to Cirrus. I guess he had given up on hunting and went to his stash. Cirrus left the box and went to one of the cable plates (we know them as picnic tables) and Mackenzie took over the nest duties.

My guess is that we will have a hatch on or about April 22nd. The estimated hatch date last year was April 25th.


March 18, 2014 - Burlington - Lift Bridge

Sue McCreadie Reports:

9:30 am – 11.00 am

-2C / 28F

-7C / 10F with wind chill

Sunny and clear

When we arrived at the Lift Bridge this morning, we found Cirrus in the nest box and Mackenzie was standing guard from the Hamilton Hydro Tower. In a flash, Mackenzie took over nest box duties but never actually entered the box. Cirrus went to the Hamilton Hydro Tower. We thought for sure that incubation might have started, but I guess not. A short time later, Mackenzie returned to the Hamilton Hydro Tower and began hunting from the very top. After a couple of dives, he managed to grab himself a Starling. He circled and circled screaming trying to gain altitude. He eventually made it to the roof of the Hamilton Lift Bridge Tower. He began showing off to Cirrus as he was flying between the Towers showing her how successful he had been. I guess he wasn’t very hungry because he eventually stored the catch on the cat walk of the Hamilton Hydro Tower. They were both back and forth and in and out of the nest box. While Cirrus sat on the edge of the box, Mackenzie took off alarm calling. We followed and found that he was after a Juvenile Peregrine, who appeared to be passing through. Mackenzie made it very clear that it was not welcome in the area. Cirrus watched from the nest box. We wonder if it was one of the kids from last year. Sure would be nice to know if any survived the winter.

Spring is definitely in the air. While we were at the Lift Bridge today, all the guys were hard at work to make sure that everything is running smoothly. The horns were blowing, the bells were ringing and the wigwams were being tested. The Lift Bridge made it first lift of the season. Looks like all is ready to go. BRING ON SPRING.

Friday, March 14, 2014

March 14, 2014 - Burlington - Lift Bridge

Sue McCreadie Reports:

Bill arrived at the Lift Bridge to find Cirrus on the edge of the nest box and Mackenzie on the vent, lake side, at the top of the Hamilton Bridge Tower. Cirrus is not straying very far from the nest box these days. In fact, she is spending quite a bit of time inside the box. During the time Bill was there, they mated twice.

Mackenzie started to alarm call and Bill thought he was going to go back over to Cirrus. However, it turned out that he was REALLY upset because of a juvenile Bald Eagle that was getting too close. The chase was on and the last Bill saw of Mackenzie was him chasing the Eagle out of the territory.

Cirrus Mackenzie Cirrus and Mackenzie Mackenzie and the Bald Eagle

Friday, February 28, 2014

February 28, 2014 - Burlington - Lift Bridge

Sue McCreadie Reports:

Photos copyright of Public Works and Government Services Canada
Over the past few days there have not been too many good photo shooting days. Bill has been out almost every day but only to find Cirrus and Mackenzie hunkered down trying to stay out the wind and the cold.
However, I have some amazing photos of Mackenzie to share that were taken at the Lift Bridge. I would like to thank Public Works and Government Services Canada for allowing me to use them.

Have a look, they are beautiful photos of a beautiful Peregrine Falcon, Mackenzie.

Friday, February 7, 2014

February 07, 2014 - Burlington - Lift Bridge

Sue McCreadie Reports:

10:00 am to 11:00 am

-16 C / +3 F

-22 C / -7 F with Wind-chill

Sun and Cloud Mix

Cirrus and Mackenzie

This morning when Bill arrived at the Lift Bridge, there was no sign of Cirrus or Mackenzie until he walked under the bridge and rounded the bushes to the pier.  There he found Cirrus having a meal and a perfect photo opportunity.

Mackenzie was around, because he could be heard whining, but could not be spotted. After Cirrus finished her meal and had cleaned herself up she took off and as Bill was following her with the camera, Mackenzie must have stooped in and grabbed the meal because when Bill turned around, the carcass was gone. That was it, everyone had disappeared.


Spring is in the Air!

February 03, 2014 - Burlington - Lift Bridge

Sue McCreadie Reports:

Monday, February 3, 2014

-3 C/ 26 F

Clear with blue skies

Between 10:30 am and 2:00 pm

Cirrus and Mackenzie

All photos copyright of Bill McCreadie

Well, spring is definitely in the air.  It was a beautiful day to be out and about.  Cirrus and Mackenzie were feeling amorous.  I think we might, once again, be the first hatch for 2014.

When Bill arrived this morning around 10:30 am Cirrus was sitting on the corner of the nest box chirping at Mackenzie who was sitting below her on the old nest ledge. He took off and circled around the Hamilton Bridge Tower and returned and entered the nest box. A short time later, he left the nest box and circled between the towers and …………

Spring is in the air!

When we arrived this afternoon around 12:30 pm, Cirrus was sitting on the very tip of the second arm down of the Hamilton Hydro Tower and Mackenzie was sitting on a beam on the front face of the Hamilton Bridge Tower. Cirrus was chirping away.  I guess Mackenzie got the message because he flew around the Hamilton Bridge Tower and mated with her once again.

Spring is definitely in the air!

All of a sudden they both took off towards CCIW, and the next thing we knew, Cirrus was returning with a heavy meal package and Mackenzie was on her tail. They both landed on the bridge abutment in the marina parking lot. Cirrus devoured the meal while Mackenzie kept his distance and whined. As we quickly rounded the bridge abutment Cirrus had disappeared leaving Mackenzie with what appeared to be a small tidbit. He took the remains to the Hamilton Hydro where he sat in the sun and ate. We were never able to find Cirrus again. She was probably off cleaning herself up and would more than likely roost for the rest of the afternoon. When we left around 2:00 PM, Mackenzie was still picking at leftovers on the Hamilton Hydro Tower and Cirrus had not reappeared.

Cirrus prepares her lunch.

Cirrus enjoys her lunch.

Poor Mackenzie watches and waits from afar.
Mackenzie finally gets the leftovers.

Cirrus’ partial band.  I think it is safe to say that this is Black K/Green 83.

Here’s hoping that we have many more beautiful days like today.

Friday, January 31, 2014

January 31, 2014 - Burlington - Lift Bridge

Sue McCreadie Reports:

-1 C / 30 F

11:00 am and 1:00 pm

Overcast and Grey Skies

Cirrus and Mackenzie

Photos copyright of Bill McCreadie and Scott Howley

We were at the Lift Bridge twice today. Bill was there around 11:00 am and we both returned around 1:00 pm. We found Mackenzie (black 29/Y band now verified) roosting between the Hamilton Tower Lake Side Cable Arm and the bottom arm of the Hamilton hydro tower. Cirrus was tucked in on the vent on the lake side of the Burlington Tower. There was not much activity until Cirrus spotted something and took off towards the Skyway with Mackenzie hot on her tail. We lost sight of them as they rounded the Burlington Tower. We never did see them again and gave up and headed for home.

The last two photos of Mackenzie having a meal were taken at some time during the day by Scott Howley.  Apparently, both birds were sitting on top of light standards on the pier. Of course, we missed it. Thanks Scott for sharing these amazing photos.

Mackenzie 1 Mackenzie 2 Black 29/Y Cirrus Mackenzie Mackenzie

Spring Is In the Air

January 23, 2014 - Burlington - Lift Bridge

Sue McCreadie Reports:
-16 C / 3.2 F + Wind Chill
11:15 am

Clear and Cold

Cirrus and Mackenzie (band not verified)

All photos copyright of Bill McCreadie

Well, in my opinion, I would say that it appears spring preparations are underway. Cirrus and Mackenzie were both spending time in and on the next box and there was lots of chirping going on. It was definitely cold and perhaps they were trying to get out of the weather, but I’m saying that they are preparing for spring. I guess we had just missed Cirrus having a meal as her crop was just bulging.

In The Box 1 In The Box 2

Waiting Out This Horrible Weather

January 22, 2014 - Burlington - Lift Bridge

Sue McCreadie Reports:

Well Falcon lovers, I just had to share these fabulous photos of Cirrus (Mom) taken on January 22nd at the Burlington Lift Bridge. Isn’t she beautiful as she tries to wait out this horrible weather. Thanks to Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) for allowing me access to these photos. Photos copyright of PWGSC.

Cirrus 1 Cirrus 2

Sunday, January 12, 2014

January 12, 2014 - Burlington - Lift Bridge

Sue McCreadie Reports:

+6 Degrees Celsius
1 o’clock PM
Sun breaking through the grey skies
Cirrus and Mackenzie both present (not verified as yet by band numbers)

Bill and I took a trip to the Lift Bridge for the first time in a few days, as the temperature was finally above freezing.  When we arrived Dad, Mackenzie, was sitting on the old nest ledge of the Burlington Tower and Mom, Cirrus, was sitting on one of the cable supports, otherwise known as a Picnic Table.  As we watched, Cirrus took off as if on a mission to catch lunch.  We lost sight of her as she went down behind the Lift Bridge and the next thing we knew, Mackenzie was after her.  We carefully, because of very icy conditions on the pier, made our way back to the parking lot.  Lo and behold, Cirrus was on the ground taking a bath in a puddle of melting ice in the parking lot of the marina.  We found Mackenzie sitting on top of one of the light standards watching her.  What a great photo op for Bill and everyone else who was around.  As we usually only see these birds from a distance, you forget how big they really are.  Seeing Cirrus on the ground really brought this to my attention.

After her bath Cirrus disappeared for a while and we watched Mackenzie on the cables and then on the old nest ledge.  He has the most beautiful white chest which is so visible when the sun hits it.  A short time later, Mackenzie was off and this time definitely after lunch.  After a couple of attempts, Cirrus joined the chase, but they were unsuccessful.  When we left, both birds were kiting over CCIW.  I guess they are thankful for the above freezing temperatures.

A great afternoon of Falcon watching for all.

Cirrus 1 Cirrus 2 Cirrus 3 Cirrus 4 Cirrus 5