Frankie Goes to Hollywood… …Um, Ok. Maybe Just Irondequoit, New York!

August 29, 2015 - Etobicoke - Sun Life Centre

Tracy Simpson Reports:

Edited and updated!

We have just received news from our friends in New York State that a falcon was photographed by Margaret Kurtz at the Medley Centre in Irondequoit that was clearly Canadian!  The band number, solid black S over 39, was placed on a bird in 2013 at the Etobicoke Sun Life nest and named Little Big Frank after one of our dear fallen comrades who was a falcon watcher for a decade at this nest site.

My phone lit up this afternoon with texts and notices requesting the identity of the bird MAK had spotted and after looking it up and sharing it with the Etobicoke team, the celebrations at seeing one of our fledglings once again as a potential breeding adult began.

Margaret found the bird on the peak of a building at the mall where it was hunting and she was able to get photos and confirm the band number.  This is amazing news and we are always excited to hear about a re-sighting of one of our own homegrown birds!  Little Big Frank was banded in 2013 as a female and it may turn out that this bird is in fact just that.  Male or female, well, Big Frank wouldn’t have minded either way.  He would have been proud none the less and should this bird turn out to be a girl, she can be thought of as “Big Frankie” and will still carry a great name forward with her.

Thank you so much to Dana and MAK for finding BF and updating us on the status of the bird.  All photos posted were taken by MAK.

Big Frankie was seen again last evening chasing pigeons very low through a parking lot. A chip off of the old O’Connor block, fearless and risk taking!

Ninja Trapped Behind a Glass Balcony and Released

July 14, 2015 - Etobicoke - Sun Life Centre

Tracy Simpson Reports:

Another one of the new challenges that fledglings face is the glass balconies we see now commonly in use on condominiums.  They get in behind the glass and cannot figure out how to get out.  They try to fly through the glass and bump up against it not realizing that they need to go up and over.  So was the case with Mel last week but he managed to free himself through a small opening between the panels.  Not so for Ninja.

The CPF head office received a call that one of our juveniles was stuck behind a glass balcony at Kipling and Bloor on the 27th floor of one of the newer condos in the area.  Once the kids at the Islington Bloor Centre learn to fly, they often go and play with the pigeons at Kipling subway station so the location was not a big surprise.  Marion Nash contacted me and I was the closest so I headed out from MEC over to Viking Lane to help Ninja out.

I met the concierge and headed up to the tenants suite.  The gentleman had been away for the weekend and on Sunday night when he went out to water his plants at 9:30pm, he was driven back into his unit by an angry peregrine juvenile.  He contacted the concierge and started to make plans for contacting someone in the morning as it was late and he was sure no one was available.  He called around in the morning and was redirected a few times before reaching our head office at the end of the day yesterday.  When I arrived, Ninja was sitting in the gentleman’s tomato plant inside the circular tomato cage that helps the plant to stand up.  Great.  Can’t get a towel on that!!  So I went out to the balcony, slowly approached from behind and put my hands around his back and wings.  No problem, gotcha!!

What a nasty little attitude!!  This was one angry little man!!  I checked out his wings, his keel, his feet and his mouth.  All clear.  I hydrated him while he lashed out at me and the water bottle and he took the drinks with hiss and snap!!  I looked around the balcony and when standing at the end of it, there was a clear line of sight to the nest building.  I could see one of the parents on the ADP sign from where I stood and so could Ninja.  This was a perfect opportunity to let a completely healthy and furious juvenile go back home.  So I did.  I launched him off of the balcony and he flew straight home.

I checked out the balcony for signs of Ninja’s time there.  He had obviously been sitting initially on the small planter with jalapenos growing in it and shredded the entire thing.  Peppers all over the place, plant stems shredded and poop in a row beneath where he sat.  The droppings looked fantastic in that when he landed he had food in him and there was no sign of discoloration at all.  The poops got smaller as the bird processed his food and moved on to trash the thyme planter.  Shredded thyme leaves and stems all over the balcony where Ninja exercised his wrath on the poor unsuspecting plant.  Finally he moved to the tomatoes.  Oh dear, the poor tomatoes.  The tenant informed me that between my calling him and letting him know I was on my way, up until the time I arrived, Ninja went rip and tear crazy on the tomatoes destroying the plants completely.  I thanked the gentleman for calling and helping Ninja make his way home and headed down to the concierge.  I left the CPF head office number, my number and Bruce’s number should there ever be a problem in the future and headed off to the nest building to check on Ninja’s return.

Well, what a homecoming!  Lucky was sitting on the top of the apartment building on the Aberfoyle side looking totally confused as to where this little guy came from.  O’Connor was out on a hunt and so Lucky was left to decide how to handle this juveniles return to the nest site.  He kept calling OC but she was out of earshot.  Lucky decided to sit tight and let this play out.  Ferris on the other hand was overjoyed with the return of his brother.  I had both juveniles chasing each other around excitedly and finally landing together on the Centre tower for a rest.  They sat beside each other flipping heads and beak tapping in celebration of Ninja’s return.  Then Ninja turned his sights on Dad.  He was hungry.  Feed me now!!!  Ninja spent the next 10 minutes pursuing, harrassing, knocking off and screaming at Lucky for food.  By the time I left Lucky had gone out on a hunt to try and calm Ninja down as his pursuit was relentless.

I was so pleased to see the two boys together once again and that this story ended with a happy conclusion.  We will continue to check in on the two boys and their progress and hopefully glass balcony garden ripping is off the agenda for Ninja.  Welcome home little man.

Ninja and ferris doing fine

July 09, 2015 - Etobicoke - Sun Life Centre

Marion Nash Reports:

Snapped a shot of Ninja non the nest ledge on July 8th and saw Dad later also on the nest. Roger reported that he saw ninja and Ferris flying together so all is well with these 2.

!!! Some sad news to report. We have lost a second fledgling.

July 07, 2015 - Etobicoke - Sun Life Centre

Mark Nash Reports:

Tuesday July 7th - 2015
I have some sad news to report. Just after 3pm this afternoon, I received a telephone call from the security team at the Kingsway’s on the park condo’s explaining that one of the young peregrine falcons had found its way into one of the upper floor condo units after entering the 10th story condo suite through an open window.

Back into the car and west bound again out to the Etobicoke Bloor & Islington where I was met by the Kingsway’s condo security, and directed to a 10th floor condo unit in the west tower. As I was let into the condo unit by the owners,, along with the Condo superintendent and another member of the security team, I could clearly see what all of the excitement was about. Yes, it was little Mel, one of the young male fledgling peregrines that was produce at the Etobicoke nest site this year. The same young fledgling (named Mel) that Marion and I had attended to, several nights ago at yet another condo building after he was trapped on the balcony behind the glass balcony front.

This time, Mel was observed standing in between the inner window sill and the white sheer drapes, obviously a little more than confused about the glass and what all of the attention and excitement was about.

Sadly although, with one eye closed, and with his other eye half closed with some very shallow breathing as he leaned up against the glass to support himself, it was more than obvious that Mel had sustained some serious injuries, likely as a result of having had a collision with the outer concrete wall prior to grabbing on to the outer window sill and eventually gaining access to the condo through the open window.

Without any struggle, a movement or objection, I was able to simply pick Mel up with my open cupped hands and carried him out of the condo suite, down the hallway, into the elevator and finally out to the car without the need of a net or even a towel. Moments after I placed him on the passenger set of the car, and even before I could get seated in the drivers seat and fasten my seat belt, Mel closed his other eye and simply stopped breathing as he laid on the passenger seat.

I have to admit, I had to wipe the tears from my eyes over the next few minutes before I could even start the car. A older couple exiting a car as they were coming into the condo’s main entrance stopped and knocked on my car window to ask if I was ok, as I guess my outward bust of emotions had got the better of me.

You would think that at almost 60 years old, and after 20 years of dealing with allot of mortality, that you would get used to it, but I have to tell you, that you never really get used to this sort of thing at all,,, (at least I don’t, and I probably never will). Another teary eye moment alone in the car with a baby peregrine, and some deep thought as to just how fragile life is, and how it can end in a blink of a eye.

Over the next two hours as I made my way home, both frustrated and enraged with the incredible traffic congestion as a result of the rush hour traffic being reduced from three lanes down into two lanes because of the new temporary HOV lanes, and heartbroken over the entire situation, you can’t help but feel absolutely helpless about the entire situation.

As sad as it sounds, in reflection, I am actually relieved that little Mel actually passed away prior to my actual departure, as I can only imagine how I would have felt, had I been forced to deal with the bumper to bumper traffic for over two hours going nowhere quick while trying to get the little guy to emergency veterinary services!!!

I can only hope that I don’t have many more of these calls, as it can be a little overwhelming at times.

!!! Mel drops in for a visit! Bye-Bye now!

July 05, 2015 - Etobicoke - Sun Life Centre

Mark Nash Reports:

July 5th - 2015
Just after closing the Canada Square fledge watch at Yonge & Eglinton, having observed both of the two young fledglings flying high and doing incredible well,, it was off to the east end and the grocery store to actually get some real food for the house!! After weeks of having to eat fast food, always on the run, some home cooked food is sounding pretty good indeed!

Although pretty typical of the fledge watch time frames where the 16 plus hours days simply don’t allow you to do much home time, (let alone home cooking), it is something that most fledge watches understand and learn to deal with.

During our shopping event, (and I gotta refer to it as an event, given that we haven’t actually been able to get to a grocery store in weeks), the phone rang out again right in the middle of isle #5, (dairy). With the caller explaining that a young peregrine falcon had been trapped behind the glass on her balcony overnight and was still unable to get free, she was concerned that its 24 hour plus imprisonment while trapped behind the glass without food or water may now be getting critical.

After a short question and answer period, it was obvious that the raptor on her balcony was in fact a banded peregrine, Banded Black Y over 10, (with White tape) and non-other than “Mel”, one of the young peregrine falcons produced at the Etobicoke Bloor & Islington nest site. Remembering that Mel was one of the smallest little male peregrines we have seen this year.

So, it was back into the car rushing off to Etobicoke. Upon or arrival with the net, rescue carrier and towels in hand, we were greeted by Ann, who took us to her balcony where little Mel had only moments ago been successful in squeezing under the glass balcony front and was finally able to get free. Now roosting on the corner of her balcony (on the other side of the glass), little Mel curiously watched us snap a few pictures of him, and then simply flew off without even a thank you :-)

A huge thank you to the Aberfoyle condo security and to Ann for calling and chasing us down, as we are never too far away to help!

Glider Recovered After High Speed Building Strike

July 04, 2015 - Etobicoke - Sun Life Centre

Tracy Simpson Reports:

It is never an easy post to write when we experience a loss at any site. We watch them as they grow, band and name them, keep them safe during fledge (as best as any human can) and marvel at them as they learn the art of being a peregrine. Today we discovered the loss of one of our stars at Islington and Bloor, Glider had struck a building and was recovered from the west tower mezzanine.

Paragon Security contacted Bruce regarding a peregrine discovered by an office worker down on the lower mezzanine. Bruce called me and not knowing it’s condition we began to dispatch the closest members of our watch team to the site. Rob responded and like lightning was off to the towers to take a look. He met up with security and they took him up to all of the tower mezzanine levels that he systematically cleared. No bird was discovered at that time and so he thanked them for their vigilance and phone call after which he headed off to work. A second call was placed to Bruce that told him a level was missed during Rob’s tour. The security guard missed a section and that is where the bird was. Marion had arrived at Canada Square to take over the watch from me and I headed down to the site.

I checked in with security when I arrived and there was a worker from the crew renovating the west tower exterior at the desk. Before I could go up to the mezzanine he had an important story he wanted to share. He told me that two days ago the big black bird (O’Connor) was sitting on the west tower roof retaining wall looking down. He and his colleague slowly exited onto the roof, usually OC takes off at this point, and walked over to their swing stage. She didn’t stop looking down at the mezzanine area. She was transfixed. When she finally did notice their presence, she took off. The gentleman telling me this story was certain she was looking down at Glider and thought that she looked rather sad. Just the way she was standing and looking down is what made him believe this.

We headed up to the mezzanine and then down to a lower sub roof on the south side where I found Glider who had clearly hit the building at high speed. I recovered him and brought him back for processing.

It’s always great having boys at a nest site as they get going so quickly and seem to do so well right out of the gate. That in part is the problem. They do so well so fast that they get rough during play and cocky in flight. One little mistake is all it takes.

I want to thank Paragon Security and CBRE for their quick reaction, care and attention to Glider. Also thanks to Bruce and Rob for helping to be a part of this recovery effort and everyone at the watch who was a part of getting wee Glider this far. As I left both adults were on site and I did not see the other three boys. We will be back soon to check on them.

Just washed my feathers and can’t do anything with them

June 27, 2015 - Etobicoke - Sun Life Centre

Marion Nash Reports:

June 27th rain bath for Ninja

Friday Spot Check at Islington and Bloor

June 27, 2015 - Etobicoke - Sun Life Centre

Tracy Simpson Reports:

After downgrading the full time watch to spot checks, it’s still important to pop in every once in a while and check up on the progress of the young ones and count heads.  Yesterday I planned to do just that and it was great to see all the birds in the air!  At first when I arrived O’Connor was on the west condo roof at Kingsway on the Park and she was really upset.  Alarm calls, fly arounds and just a general posture of discomfort was very clear to both Rob and I.  Her focus of disturbance was the roof of the west tower of the condo where we found Ferris on the very top of the elevator shaft screaming for food.  She would hush him with alarm calls and when she settled, he would start singing once again.  We looked around for the source of her discomfort but were unable to pinpoint the source.  It could have been the recent window washing activity on the east tower that set her off, we aren’t sure.  We will be keeping an eye on this though as the young are still working out landings and flights and we want to make sure that all are safe.

I was determined to identify all four by tape colour today as the boys are jack rabbiting around like crazy and figuring out who is who, well that’s the challenge.  Two boys were up playing tag in the air after O’Connor had settled down and we were able to photograph Ferris and Mel ripping it up!  Great job boys.  By the flights you could see that they are still working out their in air coordination but they are well on their way.  A quick walkabout revealed a juvenile sleeping with an enormous crop on the Aberfoyle side of the nest building who later was ID’ed as Ninja.  Back out front we went and watched Mel and Ferris still going at the aerial games when out of nowhere a third juvenile joined the scrum.   We had all three playing games of tag, learning to twist and turn in the air.  The third youngster was Glider and boy he’s catching up quick as the last to fledge.  By 2:30pm, food was now coming in and Mel tried to meet O’Connor out in the air as she brought it into the nest ledge.  She bypassed him and flew straight to the ledge which infuriated our little flyer as Glider, who was napping in the nest tray, got it all!  Sorry Mel, maybe the next one!

I ended my spot check with food going in to Mel and Glider, Ferris on the ledge next door to the nest ledge sleeping and Ninja working on digesting his massive crop.  Great job boys!!

Thursday at Islington and Bloor. Another Successful Watch Closed!

June 26, 2015 - Etobicoke - Sun Life Centre

Tracy Simpson Reports:

Bruce opened the watch with Rob and Roger and had all four boys up high to start the morning off. These little guys are all flying so well now that it’s hard to keep track of them all. O’Connor has the distinct honor of being the chasee as Ferris and Mel harassed her all morning. While she may have looked annoyed I think she was really enjoying herself. This being Lucky’s first nesting season he is also learning that the training of these brats is now his responsibility and it’s making for fun times. All four juveniles at one time or another have spent time back at the nest ledge and are continuing to use the nest tray and ledge for naps and snack spots. As of Bruce’s log out at the site at 2pm, with all four boys flying high and well, we have officially scaled back the full time watch to spot checks.

I must say that the team of watchers at Islington and Bloor this year have been absolutely outstanding. I would like to thank CBRE Property Management, the always amazing Paladin Security Team, John and staff at The Longest Yard, Bruce, Rob, Roger, Trish, Marion, Baylie and Bob for their support of the family his year. One rescue and lots of great and amazing experiences!!  As a result of your efforts we have once again completed a successful fledge watch. The boys, Ferris and Mel in particular, are thriving thanks to all of you. Great job everyone!  I will soon post highlight photos of our time with the family and spot check reports will continue to be posted.

Another Flyday Afternoon

June 24, 2015 - Etobicoke - Sun Life Centre

Marion Nash Reports:

Had 3 birds in view when I arrived to relieve Bruce at 2:00 and Glider was one of them on the nest building/East tower nest ledge level so I sat down to keep an eye on him since he was the newest flyer.

By 2:30 he had enough of being alone and took flight again directly to his 3 brothers on the West tower
and there they stayed for about an hour before 2 flew to the centre tower 1 to the east tower and all on the Aberfoyle side out of my site. I was able to identify the 1 I had left in view as Mel so I walked over to Aberfoyle to find Glider to keep my eyes on him.

For the rest of the afternoon and into the evening I watched lots of great flights from all 3 brothers in my view and several flights from Glider chasing mom around for food and finally flying back around the east tower, I checked the web cam on my phone and saw that he had made it back to the nest.

Mom fed him at about 7.20 and a third feeding for Ferris who did some flying today but not nearly as much as the others guess he was just too full!

At about 7:30 all flew back over to the Bloor St side of all 3 towers all about the same time so back to Eagle Rd and Bloor I go.

All 4 boys in site 2 on the west tower one on the centre tower and 1 on the nest ledge.

I was joined by Winston who was I guess feeling empty nester after finishing up a long and challenging fledge watch at the Mississauga MEC site and by Trish.

All was quiet long enough for me to have a salad on the patio at the Longest Yard Restaurant where I could keep an eye on the boys. No sooner did I finish my salad and pay the bill the “Falcon Follies” began and I had Fledglings flying all over the place one of the did the bat miniver on the concrete wall just above the nest, another flew into the nest landing on the camera like the adults do, one flew onto a narrow window ledge on the condo beside the nest building too small to stay on then flew off and hooked back to the roof top of the centre tower.

A few more flights from parents and kids and they all settled down all up high all safe,time for bed.