July 12, 2013 - London - TD Tower
Tracy Simpson Reports:
This news came to me from Barb Baldinger, falcon watcher and volunteer extrodinaire in Michigan, about Mystique and Horus. Here is her report;
This news came to me from Barb Baldinger, falcon watcher and volunteer extrodinaire in Michigan, about Mystique and Horus. Here is her report;
Last week I attended the London TD Tower nest site to check in on Thunder and Dougal and the progress they are making towards nesting this year. At first when I arrived on Wellington, I couldn’t see a bird anywhere. After just a few minutes, in comes Dougal to the south corner of the ledge where I often found him last year. He roosted and preened for a while and kept looking into the nest tray. Finally, with one last look, he took to the air and was off like a shot to the west over my head. Out of the tray comes Thunder and she is on a mission in the same direction as well. Thunder circled back towards the nest building and disappeared behind the building to the east. I caught her swoop up so she must of landed there and Dougal was now above me circling. All of a sudden he is joined by a third falcon, a male, and the two boys get into an aerial brawl. It didn’t last long and Dougal returned to the territory looking for his girl. He found her on the east side of the building and the pair did some tandem flying before Thunder flew back up and into the nest tray.
I will be back this week on my way home from Sarnia to check in on the pair and attempt to discern whether they have eggs this year. Thanks to the London City Centre for once again being such a great host!
Today Mark Nash and Tracy Simpson identified the resident adult female Peregrine at St. Mary’s Cement as Buffy an offspring of George and Colypso hatched in May 2000 in London at the Canada Trust Tower, she was banded July 6th 2000 at 45 days old.
Buffy and her mate produced at least 1 chick this year story and photos to follow.
It was another wonderful day in London delivering Project School Visit to local children in town. After the visits, I paid a visit to Domenic Ripepi at Sifton Property Management Group and shared and update with the folks at 1 London Place. They have been fantastic in allowing me to reach a higher elevation in a 23rd floor suite that has offered me a good look into the nest tray on 380 Wellington just beneath the TD sign. When I arrived upstairs, both of the adults were sitting on the tray in the shade. Shortly thereafter Dougal, the resident male, left the tray and Thunder, confirmed resident female, remained for another 20 minutes. I could not see any eggs in view as the angle doesn’t allow me to see down into the tray but the nest tray itself was bathed in the afternoon heat from the sun. As I was leaving the suite to head down to “the Peregrine Perch” on Wellington, Thunder had taken to the air and both adults were tandem flying just north of Dundas.
Down in the street, Frank was talking to many of the Londoners that were stopping to inquire about their peregrines and how they were doing. It wasn’t long before Thunder returned to the tray and Dougal took off with purpose as if on a hunt. I was able to get photographs that clearly show the females band colours and you can almost clearly make out the rotated 2 on top and the X on the bottom. This was confirmed without a doubt as we also were watching through our scope and had the band perfectly in view. We will continue to visit as often as we can to watch the progress of the resident pair and share the stories and adventures of these two with the local London community!! See you soon London!!
On Thursday May 17th, Tracy and I were in London again to deliver CPF’s Project School Visit. After the first school of the day, Tracy dropped me downtown to watch the nest and inform interested Londoner’s of the progress of their pair. I wouldn’t be exaggerating to say I spoke to 100 or more folks over the course of the day letting them know the information we have gathered over the past couple of visits to the London City Centre nest site. Several people approached enthusiastically asking what new news I had, while many more inquired about what I was doing. I offered some looks through the scope at either Thunder or Dougal when they were perched in view. It’s very encouraging to meet so many interested people, one lady even mentioning that she will have visiting bird enthusiast friends visiting from California that she will bring to see the Peregrines!
A special visitor dropped by for a nice long chat, Ron Gould, Ministry of Natural Resources Species At Risk Biologist from the Aylmer district. We chatted about the pair, some of Ron’s current and previous observations of Thunder and Dougal as well as trading stories of Peregrine falcon adventures from our pasts. We chatted about the importance of everyone working as a team to observe and help out this pair of amazing birds.
Dougal and Thunder were in and around the nest building all day and they both were at the ledge for prolonged periods. The warm weather allowed them a few extended absences from the nest tray. Ron mentioned that just as Tracy and I were arriving, that the pair had chased off a Turkey Vulture forcing it from the sky and into a tree. At least one egg is believed to be in the nest tray and we hope it will hatch very soon. As we are able, we will be back in the coming weeks to continue observations of the pair and create more local buzz. Fingers crossed for a successful season!
Check back as more photos and observations are to come!!
Frank and I were back in London on “The Perch” on the west side of Wellington Street for another day of observation of Dougal and Thunder, the resident pair. Frank stayed in the street while I made the rounds and visited with some of the fabulous people I have met in London.
First stop was to the London City Centre Property Management Group office to drop off some endangered species postcards and update everyone on the recent identifications made of the adult pair. I must say that the London City Centre folks are absolutely amazing hosts and “parents” to the falcon family and I enjoyed sharing some of the stories we have witnessed as of late. Thank you so much to all the folks that look after the Dundas and Wellington towers and I am so excited to see how much they embrace their birds.
Next, off to One London Place to share the news with Domenic Ripepi and Linda Machuk of Sifton Property Management Group who manage the building that faces directly towards the nest ledge. I was able to meet up with Domenic and I can say the the local excitement regarding the pair is mirrored here at One London Place. From a higher elevation I was able to see that the female was again lying down in the tray and was napping for the most part. Dougal flew in to relieve her but she refused to budge and instead came and visited the suite above where I was watching at One London Place. After updating Linda, I stepped outside to find Dougal on the top of one of the triangular ledges preening.
Back at The Perch, Frank had already witnessed a Bald eagle moving through and just shortly after I arrived, a pair of Osprey took a chance and bombed through between the towers. They met with no resistance as Thunder was tight to the tray. Dougal flew back into the ledge and tried to encourage her off but she refused to budge. The only time that both birds took to the air was when another female peregrine entered the territory and Dougal immediately escourted her out. There was a short battle between the two out over Wellington to the south before the male returned and Thunder came out for three short recon loops of her building.
When we left, Dougal was on his favourite perch at One London Place and Thunder was back in the tray in incubation mode. Thanks to our supporters at TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, we will be back in London on May 17th delivering Project School Visit and Frank will be back on The Perch on Wellington Street for more observations of the pair. Stop by and visit!!
More photos to come!!
Frank and I enjoyed a wonderful day in London yesterday sharing information on the history and happenings of the London nest site with members of the community. During the past two days we have met hundreds of inquizitive folks and we were overjoyed at the interest that everyone showed.
We set up at the site at around noon and immediately got views of the female on the edge of the nest tray. In the scope I could clearly see that her recovery band was black over red with a 2 on the top that was rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise and the lower letter is an X. The band was covered with a small amount of debris on the lower letter and so we will be back on May 10th to reconfirm but I can say with very little doubt that the resident female is Thunder, hatched in 2005 in Syracuse, New York. Back in 2006, Thunder was spending time in Kitchener, Ontario with a Canadian male named Dundas who was famous for surviving to hunt and breed while missing one leg. The last sighting of her was in December of 2006 and Kitchener to London is a coffee run for a peregrine. The London territory was taken over by a new female in 2007, right around the time that sightings of her and Dundas stopped and by a female with the same band configuration of black over red so it was likely Thunder since that time.
It is very exciting to have found Thunder here in London and as the daughter of the famous Fancy and Groucho in Syracuse, its all the sweeter a story. We still need to reconfirm the “X” on the bottom of the band but we are incredibly confident of it being Thunder.
The day continued with Dougal leaving the antenna on the Dundas tower at around 1:15pm and returning shortly with a snack for Thunder who was out of our sights in the nest tray. Dougal returned to the antenna while the female took the gift of food up to the TD sign where she consumed some of it and stashed the rest. Just before 2:00pm there was a shift change between the adults and the male took over the duties of caring for whatever they had in the tray. At 3:00pm, an American Kestrel got scared out of its wits when the male left the tray in hot pursuit! By 3:50pm an adult Bald eagle was making lazy circles close to the nest under the watchful eye of the male as the female had resumed her tray duties. After all of this excitement, it was time for me to head up to meet Domenic Ripepi of the Sifton Property Management Group who takes care of 1 London Place. The meet wasn’t meant to be but his administrative assistant, Linda Machuk, contacted him for me and graciously granted me access to a higher elevation to see just what they were working on in the nest tray. As reported earlier, by the end of my time in the suite I was 100% sure that at least one egg was being incubated in the nest tray.
Back down on Wellington St., the excitement continued when a Turkey vulture soared through past the nest tray which rousted both adults. Dougal took one good stoop at it and made contact with the vulture and Thunder came in right behind him. The vulture made a hasty retreat while the adults returned to the ledge. The female then took off, cycled around the building and then landed on the southwest corner loudly whining. Dougal came out of the east and flew in for mating!! More eggs in the making!! The female then returned to incubation duties while Dougal returned to his antenna perch on the Dundas tower.
I can’t say enough how many amazing people we have had the pleasure of meeting over the last two days. It was most pleasing to see the interest of the younger generation and hear their own stories of the falcons of London. A most important thank you to Domenic Ripepi and Linda Machuk of Sifton Property Management Group for access to elevations that allowed for the confirmation of at least one egg. I will be back in London again next week for an afternoon of falcon watching and community engagement; something I love to do!! I will also be reconfirming the identity the female as Thunder so come out and join us at the Peregrine Perch ( park bench on the west side of Wellington, look for the scope!! ) on May 10th!!
Today Frank and I were in London again for the day and were treated to a day of falcon watching on Wellington in between delivering Project School Visit in the area. To get an idea of just what the pair were attending to in the nest tray, I visited 1 London Place for a better view. Although the angle still didn’t allow me to see right into the depths of the tray, it was clear that during the hour that I watched the female in incubation position that there had to at least be one egg. At the close of my observation hour from the higher elevation, the female stood up, looked down intently at something in front of her and then gently with her beak she turned it before settling back down. During the turning, I was able to see the top of the egg as it rolled to the right and she adjusted down on top of it. Excellent news for London!! Congratulations to all!! Check back tomorrow for the full story on the amazing day in London and more pictures!
Today Frank and I were out in London visiting the resident pair and delivering Project School Visit to two great schools. After our first school, we made our way down to Wellington St. where we could see the female sitting on the edge of the nest tray. Once we got into position on Wellington, we noticed that the female had left our sight and the male was now on the ledge. The male remained in full view giving us ample opportunity to see his band number in good light. The male’s recovery band is solid black 16 over V and he is Dougal hatched in 2008 at the 18 King St E nest site. Later in the afternoon, Frank witnessed a third peregrine entering the territory. A subadult female had flown over towards the nest building and Dougal went out and met her in the air. He stooped and contacted with her a few times and there was also a talon lock before he escorted her out of the area. The entire time that the battle was going on, the resident female stayed on the tray out of sight. With the interloper gone, Dougal returned and the pair spent the afternoon in and out of the nest ledge and taking time out to mate twice. It was a rare moment to see the pair together as the tray was rarely left unattended. We have yet to determine if there are any eggs in the tray and how many but that news will be coming very shortly. We did get a few looks at the legs of the female and have confirmed our earlier observations that she has a Black over Red recovery band on her left leg and a silver USFW band on her right. We will hopefully identify her shortly and finally put a name to a face!!
Mystique was hatched at the London TD Tower nest site in London, Ontario in 2006 Too old to safely band as a nestling, it wasn’t until she fledged that she was officially banded and named when she came to the ground in need of rescuing. She remained aloft after her initial ordeal and gained the flight skills necessary for migration under the watchful eye of her parents. She showed up at the Wayne State University, just 1.5 miles south of the Fisher Building, in 2008 but it wasn’t until 2009 that she took over as resident female at the Fisher Building. Mystique and her new partner were seen pair bonding but yet did not nest that year. In 2010, the pair was again seen mating and bonding but no nesting attempt was found after an extensive search of the building ledges. In 2011, Mystique and her mate were still present but did not produce any young. While it is unknown why the pair have yet to produce offspring, its is wonderful to note that they are still on site, holding the territory and working towards success. Great news and a wonderful success for London peregrines!! This is just one of the many amazing community and scientific benefits that result from the efforts made to band juvenile peregrines in Ontario and stories like these are what its all about!! Our thanks go out to Barb Baldinger for the photo of Mystique and to the Michigan DNR for reading her recovery band and continuing to monitor her progress.
Photo courtesy of Barb Baldinger with our thanks.