Tuesday at William Osler. Kids are Awesome and A Few Oddities to Report.

June 15, 2016 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

After what I had seen last night, when I started the watch this morning there was no concern on my part for the safety of our young fledglings. Even though yesterday was their first day of flying, they showed skill in manoeuvring as well as an ability to make good choices when things didn’t work out as they had planned. The continuation of the watch at this point is to ensure good landings, safe flights and that the family dynamic is a positive one. With Casper playing very little to no role at this stage of the chicks development there is a small amount of concern regarding Chessie’s ability to keep up.  And so the watch continues.

When I pulled in and parked my car I found Chessie and Casper up on the north east corner of the hospital and although the young were not in sight I knew they were on the roof. Chessie was supervising the fledglings self feeding while Casper sat a few feet away looking for an opportunity for a meal. Casper has regularly been taking opportunities to avail himself of stashes and pick up leftovers for a meal rather than hunt on his own. Since the watch began I have yet to see him actually bring in food for this family. This is not a case of bad parenting but I believe instead a case of Casper continuing to recover from the injury that I can clearly see on the back of his head and possibly other injuries that are not visible to me. After the fledglings had finished eating, Chessie flew over to the tower for a rest while Casper flew up to the south H sign. At this point the entire family took time to rest for over an hour. Just after 10am Chessie went off on another hunt to the north east. It wasn’t long before she came back with a pigeon and carried it up to one of the antennas on the roof of the hospital perching herself just above the fledglings location. She plucked her kill vigourously for about 10 minutes and then fell asleep. Really? Asleep? I couldn’t believe my eyes. After about two minutes of snoozing, Chessie awoke and began plucking again. It wasn’t long before she drifted off once more. This had me a little concerned as this is certainly not the time for napping. Was she getting enough food for herself? Was she so busy with the young that she was not getting enough rest? I decided to keep a closer eye and pay greater attention to her today as much as I was the fledglings. She finished plucking her prey, flew out over the parking lot with it and back up to the corner where the kids were awaiting her arrival. She did a touch and go anticipating one of them to follow her but they both stayed put. She made a second attempt to lure one off into the air but they wouldn’t budge. She flew over to the tower with her prey and landed on the top with it. Casper followed her up to the tower and landed a few feet away whining and begging for a taste. Chessie once again fell asleep with the prey firmly in her grasp. She was abruptly awakened when Casper leaned forward and attempted to grab the food right out from under her foot. That was not welcome gesture. She flew over to the hospital to the north east corner and beak fed Ramses and Sahara. Once done, Chessie flew back to the tower and the entire family slept for the next two hours.
At 1 o’clock, Casper took off and disappeared to the west. About 10 minutes later I saw him reappear on the north side of the hospital and for the first time since I started the watch I saw he had food in his foot. He struggled with the rather large package that he brought home as he carried it up to the ledge on the north side. Chessie quickly flew over to see what he had brought home and I raced over towards the north parking lot to try and catch the interaction. By the time I arrived in a good spot for viewing, Casper was already in the air and making his way towards the tower leaving Chessie on the ledge on her own. Casper must’ve stashed the food up against the pillar on the ledge and Chessie made no move to retrieve it. She flew off of the ledge over to the tower and was not carrying anything with her. After about 10 minutes, Chessie left on a hunt of her own out to the west. She returned with a rather large pigeon that she took over to the tower for some prep and then back over to the hospital to the young ones. This was their third meal on the day of which two were rather large. It was a reassuring sight to see that they were receiving all of the food that they needed in order to power their flights. Yet in all three of the feedings that I witnessed, Chessie had only taken a few bites for herself. It would appear as though she was not eating very much but rather giving the lions share to her kids. After this third big meal, back to bed went the family and Bruce took over the watch for me. I gave Bruce points of focus to watch for as there was no need for concern that a fledgling was coming down to be rescued. Instead I had him monitor feeding times and sizes, who the food is being delivered to and whether Chessie was eating any for her self. By 430, the kids had woken up and it was time to burn off some of that stored up energy. Lots of epic flights followed and at one point there was a flight of the full family, all four birds together, that was witnessed by Bruce. They were very few breaks in between the flight sessions of the kids and Chessie was monitoring it all herself. No wonder she’s so tuckered out. By the end of Bruce’s watch he was able to confirm that Chessie had enjoyed a nice meal for herself, a third pigeon was brought in for late snack and that Chessie bore a visible crop indicating that she was taking care of herself. I will be back out once again tomorrow to check in on the family’s progress and ensure that all is going well. Given that Casper hunted for the first time today during this entire watch period and brought home a sizeable meal, it would seem that he is starting to feel much better and beginning to participate more in the family dynamic.

Monday at William Osler. Flying Extravaganza on First Day of Flights for Both!!

June 14, 2016 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

I arrived at the William Osler nest site just after dawn and found that Ramses had already taken his first flight. He had landed smartly in the hydro tower but was in a precarious position as he was on a diagonal beam. Casper flew into the nest tray and woke Chessie up as the sun was beginning to rise. She immediately went on a hunt and came back with a fresh kill that she stashed on the north side. Moments after she returned Sahara wound up and took her first flight. She flew out and over the parking lot and tried to circle back to the nest ledge but the winds were not helping her this morning. She banked once again and turned towards the hydro tower, flew up and landed neatly in the tower not very far from where her brother sat. Neither chick was rewarded with food after their flights. Ramses was the first to fly next and made his way back towards the nest building. He headed straight towards the east side, banked around to the south and landed on the retaining wall of the roof without any problems. He jumped down onto the roof and that is where he spent the next few hours napping out of my sight.

The second flight for Sahara was a long one. She attempted to fly back to the nest building and was too low for the ledge. She circled south over the parking lot and headed back to try again. Still too low, she tried to circle out towards the north. That didn’t work out either. She finally flew back to the hydro tower where she landed on the lowest level. Ramses continue to nap on the nest building roof when Sahara took her third flight. This flight, again a long one, had her making several circles out over the parking lot and she finally ran out of steam. She headed towards the low Medical Centre roof where she landed safely and spent the rest of the morning roaming the rooftop. She wasn’t alone though as all of the resident robins and goldfinches came out to greet her as she sat preening on the edge of the roof.
One thing became very clear after this mornings round of activity and that was that Chessie was pretty much on her own. Even though Casper was around, he wasn’t involved in anything. Chessie was doing all of the hunting, escorting, defending and providing for the chicks. When Casper was on site, he spent almost all of his time in the nest tray sleeping or on the southern H sleeping. He was very inactive throughout the day and on two occasions disappeared for over an hour. Could this be due to his injury? It is unclear at this time. One thing is for sure though, he is not participating and appears to not be invested in these young birds success at this time. Whether he is still in recovery from his fight I can’t say but he is flying very well.
By 11 o’clock Ramses received  a feeding on the nest building roof and that sparked a new round of activity. He took a flight out over the parking lot and circled back to the hydro tower where he landed and stayed, albeit briefly.  He quickly flew back-and-forth between the nest building and the tower which garnered him yet another food reward. Up to this point, Sahara had yet to receive her first taste of anything. Sahara finally tired of the low Medical Centre roof and made a huge flight out over all three parking lots that ended up with her landing in the tower. This was a fantastic flight with an excellent landing. Even so, this wasn’t the best place for a nap. She made her sixth flight over towards the nest building and with a little help from Chessie  she nudged her way in to the nest ledge. She was home. This sparked a nap time that lasted for both fledglings until around 5 PM when things got really crazy. Ramses started making flights everywhere. He was driving me crazy because he kept landing on the edge of the chimney right at the top. While the chimney is not active, there still is a danger present for landing on that open topped chimney. Thankfully Sahara began to fly as well to the tower and back and that took Ramses’s attention away from the chimney. Both fledglings eventually ended up on the roof of the nest building and had a great reunion.  The flights by both of the fledglings continued throughout the evening hours and it was seeming to go on nonstop. By 8:30 PM both of the fledglings had made it back to the nest ledge and had each chosen a pillar to flop down against. By 8:45 both of the fledgelings were out cold having spent all of their energy in the last hour of the day flying back-and-forth from the tower to the roof and back to the nest ledge. Chessie did not provide a bedtime feeding for these two so I expect that there will be a big breakfast arriving first thing in the morning. I will be back early to check in on their progress and continue the watch for this family. A few photos from the day will be posted later.

Day 2 of the William Osler Fledge Watch Starts with a Nice Flight

June 13, 2016 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

I opened the watch today and all was quiet on the ledge at first.  The kids were just waking up and getting animated and Chessie was in the tower watching.  Casper was on the southern H keeping vigil there.  All seemed to be nice and calm when Ramses had other plans.  At around 9am he took to the air running.  Seriously folks, he was running down the ledge, got airborne and forgot to stop his feet from running!  He flew out over the south employee parking lot maintaining his height and headed back for home.  He was one floor short of the nest ledge and so he swung out around the east parking lot.  This time he was starting to drop height as he was tuckering out pretty quick.  He tried for the nest ledge on the east side but was only half way up.  He flumped into the wall and fluttered down to the ground.  I was so not ready for a rescue but I ran over to where he stood.  Chessie was stooping me (not terribly close but enough to say get lost) and in one grab I had him in my hands.  I cradled him in my hand and tucked him against me with his tail sort of under my arm and marched him into security to get the rescue carrier.  Uh oh.  Security was on patrol.  Ok.  I’m sure I have something in my car.  I found a bankers box full of stuff that I needed to take out and Ramses watched as each item came out in turn.  The box now empty I just needed to find the lid.  Oh no.  No lid.  Ok.  I have a thick towel.  I draped that overtop and headed back into security where I met up with one of the guards.  We were able to transfer him over into the rescue carrier and all was well.  Ramses was so furious at me for our little walkabout  all gathered and tucked that when he went into the carrier he wanted back out to get a piece of me!  He was in fine shape and has his mother’s attitude.

Back outside Chessie was somewhat upset.  She kept stooping and hovering over the last place she saw him and finally landed on the light post closest to his last location.  She stayed there for almost 15 minutes and then finally returned to the tower.  She kept checking the area for him for the next hour and then took some rest.  Sahara on the other hand was bee bopping all over the ledge.  She was testing her wings and building up strength.  Bruce took over for me in the afternoon and until close saw much the same as I did.  Sahara remained on the ledge but she was ready.  Really ready.  I came back at dusk and took Ramses back up to the roof for a release and he was quite ticked off.  He looked great and so out the door we went.  It took me about 5 minutes or so to find him a good spot out of the howling winds and then it was time.  A flick open of the door and a hiss from little man and it was done.  I will be back at dawn as Bruce has warned me that Sahara is beyond ready for first flights and Ramses is anxiously awaiting the daylight to return home.  Some photos I took of Chessie today are attached.


William Osler Chicks are Named!

June 13, 2016 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

Thank you to the great folks at William Osler who each year hold a naming contest for their feathered family.  The names selected are always unique and creative and this year is no exception.  Our female with red tape is named Sahara and the wee male with blue tape is Ramses.  Excellent choices for these two amazing young birds!

Thanks again to William Osler for putting two delightful names to their wee faces.

Saturday at William Osler

June 12, 2016 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

The time has come to switch gears again to our final west end watch at William Osler and we began our full time monitoring this Saturday. Both of the juveniles are looking quite ready with very little down remaining. The female is more advanced than her brother yet both are energetically bouncing around the nest ledge building up their courage and flight muscles. Chessie was very on edge today and I thought it might be the pending flights of her young but this was something more. When I got a look at the resident male through the scope, which is confirmed again to be Casper, I can now understand. He has clearly been fighting as there is a line of feathers on the back left side of his head that are missing so that the down is now exposed. He is flying well and attentive but this evidence of a territorial battle may now explain the loss of two chicks just prior to banding. With Hurricane no longer here and this site being so desirable, the fights have continued well into nesting and chick rearing. The remaining two chicks are looking amazing and Chessie is taking a strong lead in their care. We look forward to first flights any day now.

!!! William Osler Banding - 2 very healthy hatchlings sucessfully banded and sadly 2 were found dead!

May 26, 2016 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Mark Nash Reports:

May 26th - 2016
Banding day

Two bandings again today, back to back,, William Osler this morning at 10am and Duncan Mills this afternoon at 3pm! :-)

Despite the not so good news this morning at the William Osler nest site, we still have two very healthy hatchlings that were very feisty and in fine form!
A big thank you to Todd and his security team, and to the William Osler Hospital for all of their support, we were successful in banding two very healthy peregrine hatchlings that were very feisty and in fine form!!

It might appear with all of the recent activity in the form of competition from other peregrines trying to take over the William Osler nest site, (and there has been some very aggressive squabbling among the peregrines), two of the hatchlings have succumb to the fighting among the adult peregrines and have been killed. Sadly, we had to pull two dead hatchlings out of the nest tray. The two dead hatchlings were every bit as large as the two surviving siblings, and it appears that their demise has been a very recent happening indeed!

The security staff that have been monitoring the CPF nest camera on our in-house live monitor said that all four hatchlings were all quite alive and well 2 days earlier (as of last Tuesday May 24th), so this has been a very recent event!

The two surviving hatchlings were very closely examined for any signs of illness and other injuries and were deemed by all to be quite fine!

We were fortunate to have both Mark Heaton from the OMNRF and Kim Fernie from the Environment Canada and the Canadian Wildlife service with us today to get a second and third opinion on the two surviving hatchlings. The deceased bodies were removed from the nest tray and handed off to the Mark and Kim. Given the high heat and humidity, the deceased hatchlings were not in the greatest shape.

Peregrines do not cannibalize themselves nor do they typically feed their dead to their other hatchlings as some other birds of prey do (as with Bald eagles in particular),, and unfortunately the two deceased hatchlings were way too large and too heavy for the resident adult female to remove them from the nest,,,, which would be quite typical as we have documented via the live cameras over the past 20 years.

With well over 600 peregrine hatchlings having gone through our hands in the past 20 years from nest sites all over Ontario, (excluding that of the 100 plus hacked out and fostered peregrines that we parented, raised and released back to the wild through our hack release and satellite tracking programs), I can assure all that the two surviving hatchlings are very healthy indeed!!!

That being said,, we can not although do much about the territorial squabbling between the resident adults and the other peregrine intruders that have obviously caused the problems in the first place,, as they themselves must work out these problems on their own. We can only do so much. We will although be monitoring the nest site as closely as possible.

The two surviving hatchlings at we banded,, one male and one female were in fine form,,

- a male, named Ramses weighing in at 690 grams, 23 days old, Black banded 05 over Y with Blue tape. (This is an older band, and the reason why it is out of sequence and different from all of the other bands being used this season).
- a huge female, named Sahara weighing in 985 grams, Black banded S over 53 with Red tape

We are waiting for the William Osler staff to provide us with names for the two hatchlings, and will post them as soon as we have the names.

The two hatchlings were successfully banded and returned back to the nest ledge with the resident adult female “in waiting” on the nest tray!!!

Please bear with us with regards to photos, as we have MANY photos to go through from the two bandings today. We are out on the road and in the field again all day today and not able to get much office and computer / internet time. Its that time of year again!!!!

Stay tuned……..


!!! We need your help!

May 06, 2016 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Mark Nash Reports:

May 2016
We are in desperate need of your assistance!

We are looking for someone that has in-depth hands-on experience with WordPress.
There are several major changes needed to both update some portions of the CPF web site, in addition to some design changes and in need of an experienced WordPress person that has some spare time to donate to the CPF.

This individual should also have in-depth hands-on experience with the technical side of web site management.

Please if you can help, and some spare time, we would love to talk to you!

You can contact us at the Canadian Peregrine Foundation via our telephone number at: 416-937-7226 or by e-mail to marion@peregrine-foundation.ca

!!! William Osler hatch,, 3 hatchlings confirmed!

May 03, 2016 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Mark Nash Reports:

May 3rd - 2016

Just getting caught up on all of the recent news and hatches as its flowing in faster than we can keep up!
It was reported as of May 3rd, that there was three of the four eggs hatched, with the forth egg now looking like its not going to hatch. That being the case, we believe based on the review of all of the observation reports, that the first hatched around April 30th.
Congratulations are in order!!!
:-) :-)

William Osler. On Track But Off the Rails

April 17, 2016 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

I have been out at the William Osler site several times over the past week attempting to identify the resident adults that are currently incubating 4 eggs in the nest tray.  This has not been an easy task as there have been too many birds to try and identify!  My first check in was late in the afternoon on Friday April 8th.  I pulled into the parking lot and found one peregrine on the eastern H, one peregrine on the ledge, one peregrine in the air.  I didn’t hesitate.  I jumped out and grabbed my camera.  I photographed anything the moved in the hopes that I could later come to understand what I was seeing and who these peregrines were.  The interactions continued for almost 40 minutes with birds in and out and all over the place.  The male finally zipped back into the tray and resumed incubation while another bird landed on the nest ledge to the north of the tray.  I could clearly see the bright blue tape on his USFW.  Wait…   …what?  Male in tray and male on ledge?  Just then the second male (blue tape) made an approach to the nest tray that got him almost in behind the sign when WHAM, out comes the resident male and the two take off to the north.  Then the resident female returned to the tray to cover the eggs. Blue tape boy is bold as brass and wants this nest all to himself.  I was sure he wasn’t going to give up easily after challenging the incubating male like that.

When I got the photos home for a look I was running through my head the events that I witnessed.  The first time I saw the three birds together there wasn’t a whole lot of aggressive attacking, instead it was the resident female that simply escorted the bird out.  The photos were able to answer why an attack was not more intense; this was a juvenile from last year.  The bird is banded and may have red tape but not clear shot could be had.  This young female was directed out of the area by the resident female before I could get anything definitive.  I was able to photograph the resident females bands and it is Chessie, black 49 over green AD, hatched in 2011 at the Central Terminal nest site in New York.

The resident male remained more elusive and I wasn’t able to get a band read on that Friday.  Bruce went out on the Saturday April 9th in an attempt to get the ID of the male and witnessed a similar scenario to what I had seen.  The only exception was that the juvenile female did not come around.  The male with blue tape on his USFW band was back and this time continuing with his bold behavior by landing on the southern H sign and eating the resident adults stash of food.  The fact that he got away with this act made me believe that our Hurricane, resident male for the past decade, has not returned and/or successfully taken back his nest site.  This intrusion would never have been allowed to occur under his watch and yet here was this intruding male eating a meal that he swiped off of the resident pair.  Where was the resident male?  Why was he allowing this?

The following day, Sunday April 10th, both Bruce and I attended the site in the hopes of an ID on the male.  Things were much more quiet this time and with little action, it made the task difficult.  We had a changeover that allowed us to get a clear view of the males bands and he is Casper, solid black 35 over Y, hatched in 2009 at a private residential site in Etobicoke.

Casper has been the resident male at the Viscount Road territory with his mate Claire from Michigan for the past 4 years producing young at a nest location we have struggled to discover.  Each season they begin nesting late and so we are busy with other sites by the time they are well hidden and incubating.  They are late nesting each year because Claire, like Hurricane, migrates for the winter and when she returns she finds her mate has slipped off to another location; William Osler.

So here’s how it works.  Claire leaves on migration from Viscount leaving Casper alone to deal with the winter influx of Red taileds and Snowy owls to the area on his own.  Hurricane migrates shortly after Claire has left, around late November, and that leaves Chessie on her own at William Osler.  Casper comes up from Viscount to Osler for the winter and hangs out with Chessie until Hurricane returns and kicks him out around the end of March.  Casper then goes back to Viscount, re-establishes his territory and waits for Claire who shows up around the first to second week of April.  It took us awhile to sort THAT out.  Phew.

The big change this year is that by April 10th Hurricane has still not been located and identified at the William Osler site leaving Casper in charge.  We have watched Casper leave the site and head southwest towards his old territory and a visit to the Viscount area revealed two adults courting around the bridge abutments of the 409 overpass.  So.  Is Casper trying to run two sites?  That would explain how little mister blue tape was able to get away with eating all the William Osler stashes for free.

While I did get a shot of the band off of the blue taped bird it is not a clear and complete read of the alpha numerics and so he remains a mystery at this time.  What I can tell you is that he is a solid black Ontario banded bird and the partial read has narrowed the possibilities.  I will hopefully have an ID on him soon for you.

I will be out for more observations this week.

William Osler Has Four Eggs

March 30, 2016 - Etobicoke - William Osler

Tracy Simpson Reports:

After MEC, I headed down to the William Osler site to check in after CPF received a report from Ross Bartlett of three eggs in the nest bowl.  When I arrived, the resident female was on her favorite corner on the southeast side of the ledge watching her mate in the nest tray incubating the eggs.  I left her there preening to hook up with Ross and security for access up to the mechanical room and the camera monitor.  When we arrived upstairs, the male was in the tray incubating and four gentleman who have been working inside the mechanical area for the past week said that the fourth egg was laid today completing the clutch.  According to these gents (sorry I didn’t get your names) the first egg arrived last week on Wed Mar 22nd.

What makes this all interesting is that I was on site last week on Friday attempting to identify both the resident adults and whether eggs were present yet.  Security was very busy that day so a trip upstairs was not great timing.  I opted instead for observations from the ground.  On Friday during the two hours I was there, neither adult was anywhere near the nest tray and while the female looked ready (puffy abdomen with a dose of egg lethargy in the afternoon sun) I wasn’t sure and made mental note to return.  So instead of focusing on the nest tray, they were instead focused on something out to the east.  This had the male very agitated and active and I suspect this is due to the return of Hurricane from migration.

Each winter for the past three years, Hurricane the resident male, has migrated for the winter.  After he leaves, Casper, the resident male of our Viscount territory just 5km away, comes and spends the winter with Chessie as his mate Claire also migrates.  When Hurricane returns, he drives young Casper back out to his territory and life for Chessie and Hurricane returns to status quo.  Add to that reports from Ross over the past two weeks of three falcons on site I believe that Hurricane is back and disruptions were ongoing right up to and including last Friday.

Who is the victor this year?  Don’t know yet.  What I can say for sure is that the male is banded with a solid black recovery band and silver USFW consistent with a Canadian born bird and the female is wearing a black over green recovery band and silver USFW consistent (but unverified) with Chessie.  I will be back this week to try and find out.