!!! Home for the Night

July 08, 2014 - Etobicoke - Sun Life Centre

Kathy Reports:

Both Sunni and Skyla are home on the nest ledge for the night.  If you’ve been checking the web cam the past few days, then you’ve noticed they’re suddenly spending much more time there.

Now that the window washing activities have completed over on the adjacent condos, mom has encouraged them to come back home over the past week.  The past few days I’ve observed them flying to and from the condo rooftops as well.  Great to see them doing so well!

!!! The best is yet to come!!! Photographers get your camera’s!!!

July 05, 2014 - Etobicoke - Sun Life Centre

Mark Nash Reports:

The best is yet to come!!! Photographers get your camera’s!!!
Remember that the family rearing process is far from being over, as its now dads turn. Over the next 30 plus days, the adult males will be doing most of the flight and hunt training with the fledglings, leaving the resident adult females some time to themselves to catch up on some most needed sleep and de-stress time. WE often see the adult females on the nest ledges doing some est box or nest tray rearranging and sleeping.

The fledglings will still be completely dependant on the adults for food, protection and support for the next 30 to 60 days as they will be staying very close to home around the nest buildings.

We often forget that the fledglings (I guess we can call them juveniles now, as they are the equivalent of teenagers in their mind set), still have no idea that they have actually been eating birds, as their food has been prepared by their parents. Many of the food packages have already had their heads removed, and with many of the feathers already having been removed, and as such, the juveniles have had no idea what they have actually been eating!
Of course its birds and only birds, but the young peregrines must be taught this!

They must be taught how to chase, stoop and dive for things and encouraged to chase their parents for the food. They must be shown what to hunt, how to hunt, how to catch it and how to kill it and then how to prepare it. The fledglings still have a long way to go before they are actually able to catch food themselves!

For the next few weeks, its all fun and games (at least for the fledglings),, but they are actually be taught important life skills that will prepare them for survival on their own this fall.

The fledglings, (juveniles) will succumb to a couple of thousand years to migrate in the fall and they will be on their own.
Most all of the resident territorial nesting adults at our southern Ontario urban nest sites will NOT migrate, and they will stay on territory all year. The adults have learned that you they can survive in the city all year long, (urban adaptation), and have figured out that there is an abundance of food around all year long, ideal habitat, no predation and lots of warmth from the buildings, especially from that of the illuminated signs that they roost on.

But the young of the year will go! Being creatures of habit (almost to a fault), what they know, they deal with,,, what they don’t know, they avoid! So its up to the parents to teach them as much as they can over next two months so the fledglings have the necessary life skills to be able to survive on their own. The fledgling juveniles typically migrate south to central and southern America for the winter months and have a very long trip south with many dangers.

Also remember, that the peregrine has more than an 80% mortality rate until it reaches breeding age (typically between two and three years of age), with the higher percentage of this mortality happening in the first year of their lives.

For all of the photographers out there, this is the best opportunity for some incredible photos of the adults training the fledglings over the next 30 plus days!! This is the time to really enjoy your peregrines,, so get out there with your cameras and spend some time with them!

Both Kids at Home!

July 04, 2014 - Etobicoke - Sun Life Centre

Kathy Reports:

Thanks to Tracy who alerted to me to the fact that both Sunni and Skyla were at home on the nest ledge this afternoon.  I managed to grab this capture of the two of them.  I’ve been hearing them more than I’m seeing them when I’ve been out checking.  Both seem to be doing well!

Happy Canada Day!!!!!!!!!!!!

July 01, 2014 - Etobicoke - Sun Life Centre

Baylie Kastner Reports:

We just had a deluge.  I looked out of my window and saw a very wet juvenile on the roof of the nest building and Mom perched on the camera keeping dry.

!!! Flying Lessons with Dad

June 27, 2014 - Etobicoke - Sun Life Centre

Kathy Reports:

Beautiful day here in the city.  Saw and heard both Skyla and Sunni flying around with Jack and yelling their heads off.  He’s giving them some flying lessons up over the rooftop.  Great to see them both doing so well, may it continue!

Long Awaited Updates are Here. Tuesday June 17.

June 17, 2014 - Etobicoke - Sun Life Centre

Tracy Simpson Reports:

I headed down to try and see which of the three young ones would be the first to travel up to the retaining wall on the nest building to start the day.  When I arrived shortly after dawn, Pierre was the first to show up while Sunni and Skyla remained out of sight.  Little Heaton remained on the nest ledge and when Rob arrived food was just going into the ledge brought in by Jack.  Kathy arrived shortly after Rob and at 7:30am, food went to the nest ledge again and to the retaining wall as well.  Pierre was still the only visible bird on the nest building roof by the time I left for work and left the watch with Kathy and Rob.  Shortly before 8am a second bird popped up on the retaining wall and they were able to identify it as Sunni by his yellow tape.  He sat on the retaining wall next to Pierre eating but still no sign of Skyla as of yet.  Jack had taken up position on top of the camera and O`Connor was over on the east tower of Kingsway on the Park.  By 9am all remained quiet as the family all had full bellies and the day was beginning to get quite warm.  It stayed relatively calm and quiet throughout the morning and in the early afternoon Pierre took flight over to the Kingsway on the Park condos.  He veered off rather quickly and headed back west towards the subway station.  As he flew over he made for the west tower and landed fairly well on the roof.  Sunni was eager to follow and made a spectacular flight around the buildings before finally landing on the west tower with Pierre.  At 3pm Jim arrived to help Kathy and Pierre took a flight around the back of the west tower disappearing from sight.  His flight was good, strong and high so Jim was confident but he set to seeing where he was nonetheless.  When I arrived around 4:30pm we picked up Pierre`s location on the west tower where he was occupying the southeast facing window ledges.  What made this rather delightful to watch was that a pigeon had landed up there with him and was roosting on the other end of the window ledge while Pierre tried to figure out what to do with his new found friend.  I had parked on Eagle Road when I arrived but the best viewing was from Lothian so I decided to move my car before the severe thunderstorms they were calling for arrived.  As I walked down the laneway towards Eagle Road I could see a bird in the middle of the road that was a fair size and dark.  I instinctively dropped EVERYTHING in my hands and ran down the laneway just as a car went whipping around the corner towards the bird.  I was seen by the driver who stopped right away while I gathered up little Heaton who had obviously just come off of the nest ledge.  I walked him over to security and placed him in a carrier before calling Mark right away.  Something was not right with Heaton as he was terribly thin even after all of the feedings we had watched on camera and from street level.  I checked his mouth for signs of Trichamoniasis but all looked clear.  After consulting with Mark and deciding to let him rest while the storm passed through, we discussed arranging for a health consultation while I headed back out to the south side of Bloor Street to make sure that our other chicks didn`t get blown off by the high winds.  The rain and wind whipped around the street soaking me and birds alike but we all managed to weather the storm; except for little Heaton.  Just as the rains were calming down I received a call from security that when they went to check on him that he didn`t look well.  I raced back in but it was too late.  Little Heaton was gone.

As difficult as it was I headed back outside to maintain my vigil on the other three.  Sunni and Pierre were still on the west tower and we had yet to see Skyla all day.  I stayed until dusk when I was joined by a new watcher, Stacey, and we chatted and watched until the sun was fully down.  I then gathered up little Heaton and took him back to the CPF Raptor Centre for holding and it was then that I was able to really look him over.  There is no way to know for sure but I believe that there was definitely an underlying health issue with Heaton that was not readily obvious on camera.  Leading up to this he was flapping, running, calling and eating and so nothing seemed out of the norm except for his very tiny size.  We were all shocked and very saddened at this loss and this was a difficult time for all of the watchers and his fans.  While we deeply regret that little Heaton did not survive, we are all grateful that we had gotten a chance to get to know him.  We are now all turning our attention to the three remaining fledglings that are still in need of our help and I can`t thank the Etobicoke Sun Life team enough for their strength, vigilance and efforts.  You are the best.

Sunni & Skyla Doing Well Today

June 24, 2014 - Etobicoke - Sun Life Centre

Kathy Reports:

June 24th - 2014
I had to attend a meeting on the top floor which afforded me a clear view of the rooftop of the centre tower and I saw both Sunni and Skyla perched a few feet apart at the very top of the rooftop. Both quiet and just hanging out. It’s a relief to see them after last night’s storm.

Sunday June 22nd at Etobicoke Sun Life

June 22, 2014 - Etobicoke - Sun Life Centre

Tracy Simpson Reports:

I just wanted to post a very quick update on our family.  I stopped in on my way home from the King Street watch that started today (if anyone can help please email us) and checked up on O’Connor and the kids.  All three were home with each one occupying a separate tower at the complex.  Nice to see all home and safe.

Saturday June 21st at Etobicoke Sun Life

June 21, 2014 - Etobicoke - Sun Life Centre

Tracy Simpson Reports:

With our two remaining kids flying high and flying well, today was more of a pop in and watch day for all of us as the physical and emotional effort has taken its toll.  Kathy started in the morning watching the kids as they really showed they’re getting it all worked out.  Nice flights were seen along with much better landings by both Skyla and Sunni.  After about 3 or 4 hours, Kathy went home for a much deserved rest after putting in such an amazing effort.  Rob and Angie were up next and spent several hours watching the young ones.  Back and forth.  Building to building.  They just kept getting better with every flight they took.  They also were able to share in the pleasure of watching Jack hunting starlings in the area and putting on quite a flight show for them.  After such a long and tough week, its nice to finally be able to watch the family thrive and enjoy themselves for a change!

Given the amazing flights that Rob, Angie and Kathy were all witnessing, I decided that I would follow suit.  I came down for a few hours in the evening and was treated to much of the same.  O’Connor was on the top of the west tower, Skyla was nearby Sunni was roosting atop the centre tower.  Jack came in with food early on and stayed with his mate for almost 40 minutes before taking off to the north.  I left around 8pm with the family all relaxing in the evening sun.

Today officially closes the watch for us here at Islington and Bloor at the Etobicoke Sun Life centre.  We could not have done this watch without key volunteers, the community, the building management and security all working together to make this a success.  It is with my most sincere gratitude that I would like to thank Kathy (our rock), Rob and Angie (our other rocks), Jim (amazing rock), and Baylie (our dearest rock).  I would also like to thank Jim and Lynda from Wild Birds Unlimited for answering the alarm call and coming right away, Stacey for joining us in support of the site and Bob for your moral support, assistance with the birds and saving my bag of chips for me.  I would also like to thank Tom and David from Paragon Security for helping us all and the CBRE Management Group for being fantastic and understanding hosts.

We did it everybody!  Now go take a nap.

Monday June 16th at ESL. Triple Decker Day!

June 16, 2014 - Etobicoke - Sun Life Centre

Tracy Simpson Reports:

Monday morning started off with a bang for Kathy and Baylie at the Etobicoke Sun Life nest site.  When Kathy left home she had all 4 chicks on the nest ledge but that was not to be the case when she arrived.  She met up with Baylie who was out watching the morning wing flap fest and now they could only find two on the ledge instead of four.  Ok…  They started searching the area for the two missing chicks and found Sunni on the roof of the centre tower and Pierre on the canopy above the entrance to 3250 Bloor Street.  Sunni was in their sights and in a good position and so they put the heaviest focus of their attention on Pierre who was now admiring himself in the reflective glass behind him.  He sat there for quite some time before slipping off during a stretch and coming to the ground.  By this time Rob and Rene had joined Kathy and Baylie at streetside and they all watched from the south side of Bloor Street as Pierre fluttered down to the doorway of the east tower and started to walk towards the road.  Kathy was off like a shot across the street and before he knew it he was in a towel.  He was attempting to flap his way out and so for added effect, Rene removed her jacket and threw that over top as well.  Kathy marched little Pierre right into security and into the rescue carrier he went.  They made their way back out into the street to watch Sunni hoping that his next flight would be a stellar one.

Sunni did a few more nice flights that ended him up on the railing of the Kingsway on the Park terrace where he spent the bulk of the day.  Food went several times to Heaton and Skyla on the ledge while Sunni continued to bee bop around on the west tower.  Finally Sunni took another flight and Kathy described it as just gorgeous.  He made two large circles around the top of the centre tower and a nice landing on the west tower to finish it off.  Great job!!  At around 4:30pm Kathy went in to the Sun Life building and as she passed the All Trans live stream of the cameras, Skyla took off!!  Kathy was out the door immediately and saw her flying low out towards Aberfoyle.  Jim was now with Kathy and the two watched as she turned back towards the nest building and grabbed onto the concrete.  After doing “the bat” for a minute or two she started to scramble and slide down the wall.  She let go and headed over to the Kingsway on the Park west tower 16 stories up on a very narrow window ledge.  There she was as I arrived and it was just then that Sunni took another flight.  The bird headed towards the nest building and attempted to land on the ledge but was too low and flumped into the window.  He quickly recovered and flew over to the Kingsway on the Park and landed on the outside of a balcony on the 20th floor.  Sunni decided to try again for the nest ledge and flew around to the south side of the east tower and flumped up against a window.  After circling back around Sunni once again made for the nest building and made a second flump on the east side windows.  This time our little fledgling fluttered down and ended up on the roof of the mezzanine level.  After two window flumps I decided to go up and check on the young one so off to security I went.  When I got up the ladder to the roof I could see Sunni sitting on the ground looking good but deflated.  I decided that a rescue was in order so off I went and scooped up little Sunni.  Given that this bird was borderline in weight at banding and we weren’t sure of its sex, I can say for sure that Sunni is a male.  I headed over to the hatch to have the carrier sent up when all of a sudden Skyla decided that the window ledge was not working out for her.  She flew over to the nest building, did “the bat girl” and hung for a second.  She then flew back out towards Kingsway on the Park but was too low to use that option and made for the nest building again.  Flump, into the window right above me and then flutter, flutter down to my feet.  Really?  Ok…   I slowly crouched down, put my hand on her back and gently pushed her down to a laying position.  She obliged as she was a little stunned and I slid my hand down to encapsulate her wings, legs and tail and picked her up like a popsicle.  I now had Sunni under one arm and Skyla under the other.  Just then I realized that I hadn’t really thought this through as to how I was going to get them in carriers and off the roof but decided I would figure that out once I got to the hatch.  O’Connor had other plans…

As I stood up with two of her chicks, one under each arm, in came Mommy bird and boy was she mad.  She stooped me on the low mezzanine roof over half a dozen times as I made my way over to the hatch.  The last stoop she raked my sunglasses on the top of my head and she now owes me a new pair.  I got to the hatch and asked security to get me a second box and send up the carrier.  He came back with a collegue and the carrier came up first.  I took Skyla and scooted her into the carrier and slammed shut the door.  Done!!  Then up came a cardboard box that was quite large and I plunked little Sunni into it and slammed the lid shut.  Double done!!  Down to security they went with Pierre and next thing you know it I was down at Eagle Road with Jim with a great story to tell.

Mark came down at dusk to give me a hand with a triple release.  We put the birds in a carrier, up to the roof and took the door off of the carrier to allow them to come out on their own.  The three were up and home with little Heaton still on the ledge.  All is well.

A huge thank you to Kathy, Rene, Baylie, Jim, Rob and Mark for all of their efforts today to watch the kids, rescue Pierre and return him home!  Also I would like to offer up an enormous thank you to Paragon Security, especially to Tom and David, for their efforts to help me get off the roof with my two little bundles of peregrine joy while dealing with the wrath of O’Connor.  Without your help I would have been really stuck up there with a conundrum…   …or two in this case.  Tomorrow should be a busy day with the first three having fledged, come down, been rescued and now released.  Phew!!!