Chessie and Hurricane Celebrate Their First Egg!!

April 11, 2014 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

Yesterday afternoon I received a call from Ross Bartlett from the William Osler Hospital staff who informed me that Hurricane and Chessie’s first egg has arrived.  After my site visit on Monday we suspected that an egg was coming quite soon as she was spending more time in the nest tray and showing the usual signs of readiness.  Congratulations to the William Osler Hospital for their first egg of 2014!

No Egg at William Osler Yet but Very Close

April 07, 2014 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

Today I stopped in at the William Osler nest site with Bryan, a student conducting his two week placement with us, to check in on Hurricane and Chessie.  Both adults were in the tower and after a few minutes Hurricane took off and silently flew to the nest tray behind the eastern H sign.  He disappeared into the tray and so Bryan and I met up with Ross for a quick look at the nest tray monitor.  When we arrived upstairs Hurricane had already left and there was no eggs in the tray as of yet.  Back outside we found both Chessie and Hurricane on the northern H roosting and so we sat down for a while to watch.  Hurricane took off after about 10 minutes and put on quite a flight display in response to Chessie’s invitation to breed.  They mated after which Hurricane went straight to the nest tray to rearrange things.  Chessie flew off and attempted a flight up to the northwest corner of the building but needed a circle out to gain some elevation for the landing.  No wonder given the big crop and puffed out abdomen that she is sporting!!  We will hopefully have news of the first egg any day now as she looks like she is more than ready!

Breaking News!!! Hurricane is Back!!!

March 29, 2014 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

After my “visitor” flew through at the CPF Raptor Centre Thursday night, I was very eager to get down to the William Osler nest site and see if in fact Hurricane was back.  You see, in years past Hurricane would occasionally come up Hwy 27 to the Raptor Centre and hunt around the open field behind the barn.  He would course low over the treetops, spooking up flocks of starlings and blackbirds, and then pluck his prey out of the flock.  This is exactly what this peregrine did the other night and had me truly believing I had just seen Hurricane.

Fast forward to yesterday afternoon at about 2pm.  I pulled in to the William Osler site and found an adult asleep on the south facing edge of the tray and one on the north sign eating.  This was clue number one that something was different as Casper has never been seen using the north sign for anything.  After eating the male flew around to the eastern H sign where he tucked in and started napping.  He was calling softly to the female who was still on the tray and she in turn was calling back.  The two continued to “sing” to each other for about 20 minutes when the female took off of the tray, flew out over the parking lot and landed on the southeast corner of the hospital.  She looked up to the sign and invited him to breed.  The male was off the sign in seconds and did as he was asked, cementing the bond between the two of them.  He then flew a circuit around the building and swooped up to the nest tray for another nap.  Clue number two, Hurricane is famous for napping as often as he gets the chance!!  I was able to confirm Chessie’s band number at this point as she took off of the southeast corner in a spectacular stoop towards the northeast hydro corridor.  For the next 20 minutes all was quite while the male napped and Chessie was off site.  I was able to get good looks at the male and he had such a dark and full helmet on his head, unlike Casper who’s hood was less complete; clue number three!!  Suddenly Chessie reappeared on the eastern H and she was just soaked!  She had found herself a puddle and had taken a soaker bath in it!  She called softly to the male in the tray who responded to her calls and the two once again were singing to each other.  After another 40 minutes, he flew out of the tray and around the north side with Chessie hot on his tail.  He flew four circuits of the hospital at the fourth floor level in an outstanding display of speed and control, one which Chessie gave up matching on the second revolution of the building.  As he passed the south side for the fourth time, he pulled straight up over the east parking lot, stalled for just a second and then flipped over and swooped down and up to the east H sign.  I didn’t need a band number to tell me this was my windmaster, the fourth and final clue.  Chessie joined him on the H sign where the two copulated a second time and then the pair settled in on the H for a snack and a nap.  It was then that I was able to clearly read the band number on the male as a solid black three character band labelled 5 over X (three character bands have a line between the upper and lower characters).  Hurricane is home. I left the pair on the eastern H, facing each other, heads tucked in and comfortably napping together.

After the battle out here last weekend I was already suspicious that Hurricane was back.  Last Saturday, Casper was the victor and returned to the site as territorial male.  That has now changed and we hope that Casper has returned safely to his Viscount Road territory and awaits the return of his mate Claire from migration.  A quick check of that site yesterday did reveal fresh whitewash on the buildings but I was unable to successfully sight a bird there.  We will be keeping an eye out for him and we hope that he is doing well.

Welcome home Hurricane!!  So glad to see you back safe and sound!!

Battle for the Territory at William Osler

- All Reports

Tracy Simpson Reports:

This past weekend I was out at the William Osler nest site to check in on Chessie and see who the resident male is at this time.  Last year Hurricane went on vacation for the winter and in his stead, Casper from the Viscount Road territory spent the winter with Chessie as his mate Claire had also left.  This past winter was a repeat of the previous season with Hurricane gone at William Osler, Claire gone at Viscount Road and the remaining adults, Casper and Chessie, keeping company.

When I arrived I didn’t have a bird in sight and then bombing in from the southeast came a male and female.  The two went directly to the nest ledge and tray and were vocalizing wildly!  A minute or two later, the male came whipping out of the tray and was off to the east in pursuit of something.  Off in the distance he met his quarry and it was in fact another male peregrine.  I could see that they were locked in battle over the residential neighborhood, grabbing each other and tumbling in the air.  They disappeared below the horizon and a minute later, a bird came flying back to the site and the ledge.  It took me about 20 minutes to get a look at the band and it was indeed Casper.

Who was this challenger?  Is Hurricane back and looking to re-claim his site?  I will be out there this weekend to check on just who is who and whether eggs have arrived yet.

Sad News to Report; Maverick Has Been Found Deceased

March 06, 2014 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

I am the worst when it comes to reporting sad news and I can never find the right words yet this is an important update so here goes.

On Friday of last week, February 28th, I received a call from Ross with Environmental Services at the William Osler Hospital.  He informed me that he had located a deceased bird on the medical centre rooftop and that the bird was banded with a solid black recovery band marked R over 55.  I knew right away but confirmed it nonetheless that this was Maverick hatched last year at the William Osler nest site.  I drove down and met Ross and the two of us went up to the rooftop for a look.  When we exited the door I saw the bird down in the middle of the east side of the rooftop and it was without a doubt little boy blue Maverick. 

After removing him from the rooftop I took a good look at him and it was evident that he’d been there for some time.  How long I can’t say but certainly his passing was not recent. I was incredibly shocked by this as he was the star flyer of the family this past season being the first to fledge and returning to the nest ledge within hours of his first flight.  He never once came to the ground or required a rescue and he was witnessed hunting like a pro with his father Hurricane around the hospital grounds.  The last time I can confirm his presence was on July 23rd when I was able to get a photograph of Maverick and his two sisters as they sat on the western ledge.  I believe that I also have pictures from later in August so what happened to him and when it occurred is truly unknown.  Thank you very much to the folks at William Osler for keeping an eye on the family and supporting them so well.  While this is a sad loss to report at this time, we look forward to the coming season with great anticipation.   



Site Check Yesterday at William Osler. Casper is back.

January 15, 2014 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

So here we go again.  I had to make a trip out to Mississauga yesterday and stopped in at the William Osler nest site hoping to see Chessie and Hurricane at the house.  I found the adults in the hydro tower, Chessie top and centre ( I could confirm it is her by her band ) and the male up front.  Except that the male is definitely not Hurricane.  Seems that since Claire took off on hiatus for the winter from the Viscount territory, Casper came trotting over to William Osler again this winter and is now hanging out with Chessie.  I hope that Hurricane has done the same as Claire, taken a trip somewhere only to return this spring.  Is this a trend now with these two sites?  We’ll see. While I welcome Casper, son of Milton, to the southern Ontario nesting team, I hope I get to see my little man Hurricane again this spring.

No One Home at William Osler Yesterday

August 13, 2013 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

I stopped in to check up on Hurricane, Chessie and the kids last night in the hopes of finding the family hanging around the nest building.  When I pulled in I checked all sides of the hospital, the nest ledge and tray, the hydro towers and the rooftop antennas but no one was to be seen. 

Since the young have fledged, they have started to follow the parents on their hunting forays out to the west.  We have had reports and seen Hurricane over at the Humber College campus and that is most likely where they all are.  In the past few weeks, I have had only one opportunity to have the whole family at home just the once and I was able to get a picture of all three of the kids, Aura, Blizzard and Maverick, on the west ledge of the hospital watching the parents over at Humber College.  They are all doing fantastic and I was so pleased to see them all together one last time before migration and dispersal sets in.

While I was hoping to find the family in it was still a nice evening at the William Osler site.  It has been great news of late finding Ossie, hatched here last year, over at the Mississauga North site trying to establish a territory of his own.  I look forward to watching the parents throughout the fall and wish the kids well on their journey. 

A huge thank you to all of the watchers that helped out at William Osler this year especially Bruce and Winston.  I’m already excited about 2014!!!

William Osler Site Check After the Storm

July 23, 2013 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

For the past few days I, along with all of our staff and volunteers, have been doing site checks to account for all of our wild peregrines after Friday’s 110kph sustained winds reported by Pearson Airport.  On Saturday, I was able to confirm that Chessie and Hurricane were both on site and are flying great.  I was also able to confirm the presence of Blizzard having photographed her and her white tape being visible.  On Sunday, I made another foray out to the site and located Chessie and a single juvenile, this time being Maverick.  It took a while to get a visual on his blue tape but it was worth the wait.  Yesterday I stopped in for a third try as I was still looking to account for Aura, the second female with red tape.  She was the second fledge at William Osler and has been a high flyer ever since.  I found Blizzard and Maverick alone in the east tower and no other peregrines on site.  Both juveniles were concentrating their attention to the west over towards the Humber Arboretum and I believe that’s where the parents were with Aura.  I will continue to check in until I can confirm the presence of Aura (she scoots in and out so much now) and will keep you updated on the progress of their training.

July 7th Unbelievable Flights at William Osler

July 07, 2013 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

Not having seen the offspring here at the hospital for a few days now I’m eager to check in and see how they were doing. Before I even turned the corner onto Humber College Boulevard I could see them in the air. All three juveniles were flying above the hospital in lazy circles playing tag with one another. Pulled in and checked in with security and let them know that I was here and eager to get some pictures of the amazing flight and I was no witnessing outside. I position myself to watch the kids from the best angle and waited.  It didn’t take long before all three were soaring in lazy circles above my head. They would each in turn approach one another and lock talons for a brief moment before releasing and continuing on in their soar. These three are so skilled and it’s not surprising knowing who their father is. The best was still yet to come as Hurricane, sitting in the tower watching his children playing, was finally enticed to join them.  If there is such a thing as aerial poetry, this was it. Hurricane came off of the tower and flew west along the south face of the hospital with three kids in tow. They had no chance whatsoever of keeping up to this windmaster but boy did they ever try. He took them further west past the hospital out over the ravine where he took them low over the treetops and showed them were all the food was. The children circled back without their father and it was only a minute when he returned and flew 15 feet above my head back towards his kids. These are the days that I wait for, just like every watcher at every other site, where the kids are flying so well there’s very little to no chance they’re coming to ground in need of our help. These are the days that we watch in awe of these amazing creatures and their ability to fly so well as to make it look easy. Hurricane and his three offspring were flying together and putting on a show like none other. It got even better.

Chessie decided that she could no longer resist as well. This was the opportunity to fly with her kids and her mate enjoy the afternoon at the hospital. A falcons life is a serious one with not a lot of opportunity for things such as play. This was one such rare afternoon where the family could indulge and enjoy each others company. I now had the entire family in the air. Two girls were playing with mom while dad and his son were chasing one another around the hospital as fast as little boy blue could go. The next few weeks of training, food drops and chases are going to be spectacular to watch and I truly feel honored to have been a part of this. Congratulations William Osler on another season well done.

July 1st Apollo 3 is Rescued at Second Time

July 01, 2013 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

I thank you for your patience as I am continuing to catch up on all of the past stories at the William Osler Hospital watch. On the holiday Monday July 1st, I arrived at the hospital and found Apollo 3 in the same spot that Bruce had left him the night before at close of watch. He was on the low roof of the Medical Center and spent the bulk of the morning running the edge, jumping back out of sight and then coming to the edge again. He wanted to fly but was holding back. His three siblings, Maverick, Aura and Blizzard, each took turns flying down to visit and encourage him which incurred a reprimand by Chessie. She didn’t want her kids on that low rooftop but was allowing it so long as Apollo 3 had yet to fly. By the afternoon he finally took a flight that took him around low over the emergency entrance and over the mechanical area on the south side. I did not see where he landed but I could tell that it was low and down at the southwest corner. I circled the hospital several times to no avail and waited for the parents to give me some kind of a clue.  Both Hurricane and Chessie were paying great attention to the southwest corner and so I returned to check it out.  There was a chance that the male could have ended up on the mechanical roof on the south side and so I contacted security for assistance.  They were amazing in helping me by checking out areas on their rounds that were blind spots to me on the ground.  We were able to locate Apollo 3 and seeing him closely now it was clear that the left wing was drooping seriously.  I rescued him from the southwest corner of the hospital and contacted Mark Nash regarding setting up a vet visit for him.  Mark Heaton of the OMNR was notified and we were off to the raptor centre for the night.  The other three siblings were flying very well.  As I was leaving, Hurricane was sitting above Apollo 3’s last known location with Blizzard and Maverick nearby.  Aura was in the tower with Chessie watching from afar.  Many thanks to the folks in security that helped make this rescue possible.  Were it not for their assistance I might not have found him so readily.  Also, a big thank you to Winston who joined me for the evening watch and was instrumental in helping to find and rescue Apollo 3.  We will keep you updated as to his condition and the results of his vet visit.