William Osler Spot Check. All Four Juveniles Doing Great and Sven Puts on a Show!

July 21, 2015 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

I stopped in last night to check up on our Osler family and had all four juveniles on site.  Benny and Winston were on the eastern H and both had enormous crops.  Sven was roosting in the tower and Peggy was on the nest ledge napping.  After about 15 minutes on site, Sven decided he was bored and it was flight practice time.  He was encouraged to the air by a passing pigeon that he took a run at.  Not successful but a great effort.  He spent the next 30 minutes by himself on the west side stooping everything that moved and playing in the wind.  By the time the sun was beginning to set, all four youngsters were in the air and playing tag.  Sven is now as rough as Benny in his playing and gave his cocky brother a run for his money!  Twice Sven grabbed Benny by the tail which had Benny squealing like a baby to be let go of.  Sven also took on the “Peggy Tank” in flight play with her keeping up so well and being clearly the bigger of the two, she tried to take it easy on him.  Note I said TRIED.  Sven was certainly up to the challenge that Peggy presented and had fun being chased by her and trying to evade.  Winston was in the mix several times but was more content to digest the massive crop he now had than playing.

By the end of the evening, all four juveniles were playing, soaring, stooping and practicing their finesse in the air.  Such a wonderful sight.

Winston Found and Looking For Help From a Friend

July 21, 2015 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

Late last week I stopped in at the William Osler nest site to see if I could locate Winston as he was the only juvenile I had yet to set eyes on.  When I arrived, I had Chessie on the north side.  She quickly took off and was flying circles around the east emergency area of the hospital.  When she came around into full view, I could hear a juvenile screaming for Mommy but I couldn’t see it.  The strange part about it was that I could hear the call echoing down low.  I locked up the car and was about to follow the sound of the call when an ambulance attendant walked up to me and asked if I was the falcon lady.  He said that one of the young ones was down on the ground by the emergency entrance behaving oddly.  I looked over and saw little Winston on the ground and in the way of approaching ambulances.  I ran.  Fast.

When I got over to Winston and tried for a grab up he darted away and flew low up to a stump on the ground.  I went and tried again.  He evaded me a second time and flew up to a picnic table.  He was more than capable of flying but was not getting any height and making no real distance flights.  The third attempt was a success and having him in my hands I could see that he was a little on the thin side and needing some hydration.  He had also worn down the center talon on each foot so that the tip was smooth and rounded like they had been rubbed down.  Ok.  You’ve been stuck somewhere and just got yourself out and home.  I packed him up, thanked everyone for their help and took him up to the CPF Raptor Centre as it was too late in the day to take him anywhere else and I needed to assess him thoroughly.  I contacted the appropriate folks and told them that I had Winston for a brief hold over to assess whether there was any problem that required further attention or if he was just out of juice.

Back at the Centre, I put Winston in one of our pens and could see that he was really out of jazz.  Tired.  Mild dehydration (skin turgor test).  A little thin.  He struggled to fly from the floor to a perch but not due to any injury.  He had perfect symmetry, no drooping, a perfect keel and was bright, alert and responsive.  So I rehydrated him, fed him and let him have a good nights sleep.  By the next morning he was up on the highest perch and wanting to go home.  I made arrangements with everyone to set up a release time as there was no injury to Winston, only a little out of gas, and he was clearly good to go.  Bruce and I met up at William Osler.  He set up in the east parking lot and I took little man to the roof.  I called Bruce and gave him the 60 second warning; he was going out the door!  One last check and a squirt of water and he was unceremoniously returned to the care of his family.

Back on the ground it wasn’t more than a few minutes when Bruce had a bird come off of the roof, circle and land on the eastern H sign.  A little male juvenile sat on that sign and just howled for the parents attention!  Both Chessie and Hurricane were sitting in the east tower roosting and not really responding to this tantrum of sorts.  The juvenile didn’t stay long and took another flight around to the north side landing neatly on the nest ledge level where he found a pigeon.  Bruce confirmed through scope view that this was in fact Winston and he was now gorging on the pigeon leftovers that he had found.  After packing it all in, Winston took a break on the ledge and that was when Sven arrived; the first sibling to witness Winston’s return.  He flew circles around the hospital watching this juvenile.  It was like he recognized him but couldn’t place where he knew him from.  Sven then flew over to the hydro tower to tell Mom and Dad what he had found.  Benny and Peggy were now making their way home and Winston continued to vocalize to his family.  Chessie, Hurricane, Peggy, Sven and Benny were now all in the hydro tower together and Winston could not wait a minute more.  He took a brilliant flight over to the tower landing perfectly beside Sven who was playing it cool.  We now had all 6 falcons in the tower together.  The two boys were about 8 feet apart and Winston slowly over the next half hour inched closer and closer to Sven.  When they were about a foot apart, Winston flipped his head in play at Sven and after about a minute of considering what to do about this, Sven returned the gesture and the boys beak tapped.

Well!!!!  That was all it took!  One little beak tap showing acceptance set off a rip roaring evening of play.  The next two hours leading right up to dusk was full of play time with all four juveniles now performing aerial mock attacks with each other, roosting together and celebrating the return of Winston.  Chessie and Hurricane brought in food for all four of the kids and as we were leaving with very little light left in the sky, they were all still playing wildly around the hospital.  Winston was back with his family and filled to the brim with food.  Bruce and I can’t say enough how happy we are that Winston was found and is home safe and sound.


Monday at William Osler

July 14, 2015 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

I didn’t get there as early as I had intended so my hopes of seeing much I knew was pretty slim.  Even so, when I arrived I found Hurricane exactly where I expect to see him on a hot and muggy morning, asleep in the nest tray.  Chessie was not on site and after checking around the building the only two kids I could see were Sven and Peggy.  Both of them did short flights around the hospital and a few jaunts to the tower and back but they were happy to sleep away the afternoon on the north side in the shade.  I will continue to check back in when I can later this week.

Spot Check at William Osler

July 13, 2015 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

Yesterday Bruce and I went out in the early morning cool to check in on the family at William Osler.  We found Chessie in the tower with Hurricane and Chessie was quietly kakking.  Benny was in the front of the tower and no other kids were in sight.  Chessie continued to vocalize and in our scan of the area, we found Sven in the tower to the north.  That’s two!  Bruce did a walk of the perimeter and found a third bird on the northwest corner that turned out to be Peggy.  Excellent.  Still no sign of Winston.

Chessie took off from the tower and went very low over to the medical centre roof.  There she sat kakking and this had us a little worried.  Bruce went up to the 10th floor and scanned the rooftop of the building to make sure that no one was up there and cleared the majority of it; nothing in sight.  I stayed on the ground and watched Chessie.  She was watching something behind her.  Just before Bruce came back out Chessie turned around and walked into the center of the roof out of view and came back…   …with a pigeon!  Ok, so that’s what has your interest.  She ate what was left and then took off back up to the tower for a roost.  Just to be safe I went up to the Med Centre roof and cleared the blind spot that Bruce couldn’t see and all was well as the heat was coming on.

Benny and Sven did most of the flying this morning.  Peggy was sleeping on the northwest corner and Winston still did not make an appearance.  With the boys flying so well and the temperatures so hot, there is a chance that after a morning feed he was napping away somewhere out of our view.  Hurricane took off of the tower and flew down to the Med Centre roof and stayed there for a while looking for scraps and lining up the sparrows in the neighboring tree.  He eventually took off to the north tower after Benny decided to stoop him on the low roof.  As we were leaving Benny, Sven and Peggy were all on the north side of the hospital enjoying the recent delivery of a pigeon brought in by Chessie.  Benny was eating it for the most part as Sven watched and Peggy slept.  Then Benny did something that I have never seen a two month old male do.  He took off with the pigeon and attempted to fly around the hospital with it…   …and succeeded!!  A bird almost as big as himself.  Heavy and cumbersome.  What an ambitious little man!  He flew around the west side and we could see he was losing altitude.  He continued around to the east and headed for the Med Centre roof which is where we believe he dumped his package.  So that’s how the pigeons are getting up there!

As we left there was still no sign of Winston.  I will be back today to check in on the family and hopefully Winston was just enjoying some independence or taking a nap during our time yesterday.

Ohs and Ahs at William Osler! Full Time Watch is Complete!!

June 30, 2015 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

The weather was ideal and so was the activity at William Osler today. Bruce opened the watch with a stunning flight by Peggy and the boys all the way to the north tower. She’s only been flying 24 hours and off campus already?!  Wow!!  Bruce watched her take several more flights and all were good and strong. It’s those landings she needs to practice.

I took over for Bruce late morning and all I can say is wow. The flights by all four young ones were strong, calculated and just didn’t stop all morning. Second breakfast arrived around 10am with both adults returning with a little something. Hurricane came home first with a starling which he swiped off a treetop nearby. He was pursued to the nest ledge by Benny who took it all for himself. Chessie then arrived with a big pigeon, an arrival I didn’t see but I did see the result. From my position in the emerg parking lot I could see Chessie sitting on a light post near the northeast corner. I grabbed my camera and off I went. As I approached I got that sick feeling in the pit of my bones. Chessie being this low could mean serious trouble. Benny was getting rougher every day. What if someone was down?  When I got to her I looked around quickly and a gentleman pointed down and said,”I think this is what you’re looking for.”  On the ground right in front of the door to the main entrance was a pigeon that had clearly been knocked out of Chessie’s grasp by an exuberant child. She clearly wanted it back. So. I gave it back. I picked up the pigeon and moved it over to a nearby patch of grass that was much safer for her to come down to. And so she did!  Food retrieved and kids fed.

The rest of the day was filled with games of tag, high soaring flights and naps. Peggy and Winston never left each other’s side all day. Sven and Benny continued to taunt each other during their rough and tumble games. Winston the watcher joined me for the evening flights and it is very evident that this watch can now be scaled back to spot checks.

This has been a fantastic watch and it is thanks to all who supported this family. First and foremost the William Osler Hospital staff with special thanks to Ross Bartlett. The Paladin security team. The amazing guys from Pacific Paving. Most importantly I wish to thank Bruce and Winston for their help in making this watch a success. I will be posting highlight photos of this years watch very soon and continue to check back for spot check updates.

Rainy Day Sunday at William Osler

June 30, 2015 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

Well the good news is that Peggy has fledged. Ya!!  The not so great news is that her first flight ended up with a tree top view of the nest ledge. She took flight sometime just after dawn and when I arrived at 6:30am she was sitting in a tree full of robins near to the emergency entrance. Her placement in the tree was quite good as she had no branches in her way to contend with. She sat in the tree begging for the parents to look after her but it wasn’t meant to be. The parents will not feed their young in inappropriate locations such as trees so she was just going to have to fly somewhere else that is parent approved. She was getting rained on this morning which was not helping at all. When the rain would stop she would preen and dry off. Then just as she was ready to go…   …more rain. More wet Peggy. The boys were flying around during the rain breaks and each hour or so one, Winston, would do a low pass past Peggy trying to encourage her out of the tree to no avail. After staring at the same tree for about 5 hours, I took advantage of a break in the rain and a sleeping Peggy to try and get some photos. As I was taking some shots of her 40 feet up in this tree a bird comes whipping really low past me. Good gravy its Hurricane. He skimmed the top of the emergency entrance overhang, using it to cover his approach, and came right at me. I started to head back to my car to put away my camera as the last thing I wanted to do was upset the family when - whoosh - another low pass…  …by WINSTON. He was following and imitating Hurricane in defence if his sister!  He came out of nowhere and wasn’t nearly as close but his efforts were quiet valiant. Hurricane made another low pass at me after which he retreated to the tower to watch me. A media blackout on Peggy had been imposed by Hurricane and I was to obey. I did as he asked and went back to watching Peggy sleep.

The afternoon into early evening had periods during which the rain actually let up. This was time for the boys to get out and play!!  It started around 1pm with Sven and Winston but there was no sign of Benny. I wasn’t worried as I figured he might be over on the north side out of my view. Nope. As I scanned the towers for adults I was looking south and here came Benny!!  He was WAY off campus down by Islington and Rexdale where Chessie hunts the local flocks. The minute he returned he sought out Sven for a tussle. Man in Benny rough. He was grabbing Sven by the wings and tail causing him to have an aerial tumble then recovery. Good life lesson but tone it down already.

It wasn’t until late in the evening that Peggy went for that next flight. She lumbered out of that tree and headed for the tower. The landing was rough but she stuck it and wailed her excitement to the world. With her ultimate goal now in sight, home, she launched herself for one more great effort. Then something happened that I have never seen before. Peggy was met in the air by her brother Winston. He flew with her and guided her towards the building rooftop!  That’s an adult job!  She came in too low and circled a second time, this time managing to grab the wall just one foot below the roofline. She did “the bat” for a good minute or more with Winston on the roof right above her vocalizing encouragement. Not to be easily defeated (she is a Hurricane child) she flapped and WALKED the last foot up to the top of the roof!!  Well. Now it was party time. All three boys went over and joined in the celebration of Peggy’s return. I left the family to their reunion as the sun was going down with the hope of great flights tomorrow.

Sunday Morning News Flash from William Osler

June 28, 2015 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

She did it!!  Peggy has fledged. She took her first flight shortly before u arrived at 6:30am and is currently making new friends with the robins in a tree top next to the emergency entrance. Full story to come!!

William Osler Boys are Rocking. Peggy is Going to Fledge, No Wait, Maybe Tomorrow

June 27, 2015 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

Bruce opened the watch this morning with all four on the ledge but not for long.  Sven, Winston and Benny were all over the place this morning playing tag and investigating everything.  That left Peggy on the ledge on her own trying to work up the courage to take that first big leap into the air.  She came very close this morning during a period of intense activity where her flapping actually resulted in some lift.  Her launches forward though were only wee hops.  Still, she is very close to being ready and I can empathize with her reluctance…  …look out ’cause here comes Benny!!  This little man has become the star flyer of the family so fast that he has become ridiculously confident.  That’s excellent for him but not for his siblings whom he regularly terrorizes the second they take flight.  The games of tag have occasionally gotten a little rough over the past few days and it is always Benny who instigates the tough stuff.  The great part about that is that he is challenging his brothers abilities and encouraging their skill development.  The not so great part is that when Peggy goes for that first flight he’ll most likely be all over her wanting to play.  Don’t worry Peggy, we’ll be there for you!

As the weather moved in the kids were all beginning to quieten down.  Around noon, Peggy went back into the nest tray for a nap and the boys wandered the ledge in search of scraps to eat.  Given the rains, heavy at times, all the local prey species were huddled and hidden so food was not abundant for the young today.  That should make them good and loud come morning and in Peggy’s case, good and motivated!  I arrived around 2pm and the family was all at rest.  I took over the watch from Bruce and sat down for some action.  Nope.  Hello?????  Are you guys still up there????  It was the quietest I have ever seen William Osler this year.  I went back to the south down to the end of the driveway and looked back to find all four young ones on the southeast corner in one big goopy pile.  Half wet, half dry and all asleep.  I would say it was like watching paint dry but since paint won’t dry in the rain I wasn’t even able to watch that!!  Yet as much as I wanted to go and most likely could without concern, I wanted to make sure that Peggy didn’t get any ideas about flight come suppertime.  I am glad I stayed a little longer as at 6pm the whole crew woke up and the boys started flights.  They were ripping around the property in the rain playing tag and having a blast.  Peggy started to flap quite a bit and was pumping hard when she almost slipped off of the wet ledge.  For almost an hour the foursome were active and just around 7pm Winston the watcher arrived.  He took over the watch for me until close and the flappy bunch that I left him with didn’t take long before they all tucked in for the night.

High Flying Boys at William Osler with Peggy Still Left to Fledge

June 27, 2015 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

Yesterday I opened the watch at William Osler with Peggy still on the ledge and the three boys flying like little busy bees.  They were all over the place and their “off” button was definitely not working!!  Go, go, go!!  No landing space was now sacred.  Everywhere that Hurricane goes to roost and nap was now being invaded by his boys and it was clear that the adults were going to have to go off campus if they were going to get any peace.  Hurricane went first and disappeared for over an hour in the morning.  I’m not sure where he goes but I suspect over to the Humber College where there are tall antennas that allow him to see his site, his kids and his mate should trouble arise.  Chessie was left with the screaming threesome that spent the morning knocking her off of everything.  No food was being offered yet and Chessie just continued to do her best to avoid the boys rambunctious morning exercise.  Peggy spent the entire time on the southeast corner of the nest ledge and she is looking very ready to go.  Head bobbing, wing flapping and little lunges around the ledge kept her busy for almost an hour.  When Hurricane returned from his break Chessie went on a hunt to the northeast and returned with a big pigeon.  The boys were ecstatic.  Chase mommy, catch mommy, my food, get your own!  It was crazy!  Chessie took the prey to the south H sign to prep and then went directly to Peggy and beak fed.  Once she had her fill, Chessie then unceremoniously dropped what was left on the hospital roof for the boys to fight over which they did.  Benny the jet continued with his “bite you in the face” greeting with his brothers and managed to score the majority of the meal for himself.  Sven is now catching on to this and as Benny ate he kept trying to grab him by the head.  Winston, in the scrum, grabbed the food and ran down the ledge which started another scramble until Hurricane brought in another piece for the boys.  Wow.  Settled down you three!

Bruce took over while I headed down to Islington and Bloor for a spot check.  All was quiet through the afternoon until the day cooled and the supper bell rang.  All three boys are now making spot on landings in the tower and regularly are fooling around up there.  They were for Bruce as they were for me, all over the place and into everything.  Winston on two occasions went down to the tenth floor window ledge and Bruce could see that this was a very purposeful action.  Hurricane is now using these ledges to stash food as it is a tougher landing to manage for the boys.  He hoped that the food would be safe there but Winston had it all figured out.  He scored a nice piece for himself and didn’t have to share.  The second landing on the window ledge was evidently to avoid Benny as he is now ramping up his playing in the air to grabbing of tails and talons.  While Sven is up to the task Winston isn’t quite ready for such aggressive pursuits and play so he hides out away from Benny when he gets a little too rough.

When Peggy does fledge, which should be any minute now, she has three boys to contend with.  We fully expect that Hurricane and Chessie will manage her first flights and deal with the boys attempt to play tag with her before she’s even made her first landing.  We have no doubt that she will catch up quick in her skills and when she does, oh look out you boys!  They are actually being quite good with her right now as they regularly visit her on the nest ledge and snuggle with her.  It’s quite nice to see.

Check back for more antics from the boys and Peggy’s soon to fledge moment!!

Thursday at William Osler

June 26, 2015 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

Thursday, oh Thursday. Benny kicks off the morning by kicking tail??  Wow!  After I watched this crazy stunt I checked the location of our other young ones. I have Sven sitting nicely in the tower having stuck the landing perfectly. Winston was on the roof line singing and young Peggy, youngest of the four, still in her spot on the nest ledge. The boys that at one time used to run around like busy little ants on the ledge were now jack rabbiting all around the Osler property. The focus of the day for the boys was the tower. All day long. In and out of the gridwork and always landing smartly on target. At one point Winston made his first tower landing and Benny went over to congratulate him…  …by biting him. Don’t know that this should be adopted as a formal greeting but Winston did return the gesture. Not to be left out, when Sven had his tower time Benny bit him too. All is fair I guess. Of the three boys Benny the jet was the boldest taking all opportunities to chase adults and harass all moving objects including a poor butterfly just minding its own business. Remember Benny, butterflies are friends not food and besides that, they taste terrible. Peggy spent most of the day off and on sleeping and preening. She is very close to first flights and when she gets airborne these bratty brothers better just look out. Bruce arrived around 2pm and took over the watch from there.  Things were quite quiet and there was some weather moving in.  Just before the rain Mom brought some food into the south sign.  Two of the the boys went over and got food.  Winston however tried to do what his brother did, float up to the rooftop by just using the wind.  It wasn’t quite as smooth but he still got the same result.  When the rain hit, the female was the only one that stayed dry.  She did however have a shower as she was flapping her wings and running up and down the ledge.

After the rains, at first heavy and then the later showers,  there was some rest followed by some flights by the boys. Peggy spent her time exercising and sleeping.

The boys made the tower numerous times. There was only one bobble,  but the bird recovered and landed at the southwest corner of the nest ledge.  With the parents on the tower and on the South H sign, the juveniles tucked themselves in at the east end of the building and I left for the night.

This wonderful Friday morning started with the three boys getting into everything; the tower, antennas, tag games, H signs and Hurricanes personal space. Peggy is now sitting on the southeast corner with her back out ready to go. I expect that a first flight for her will happen today. Check back later for an update on her progress.