August 02, 2014 - Mississauga - Executive Centre
Marion Nash Reports:
Got some shots of the adult resident male in the box today.
Got some shots of the adult resident male in the box today.
A big thank you to Lucie that yesterday was able to confirm what we suspected in that the female seen on camera at MEC is Midnght from the downtown Brampton nest site.
A few days ago we were watching vigorous activity in the nest box with the adults in and out regularly and doing more than simple fall bonding. The nest scrapes were being seriously excavated along with lots of bowing that looked more like courtship than housecleaning. Over the past few days we were able to confirm that there is indeed a new bird at the MEC site and that bonding of this new pairing was in high swing. Thanks to our web camera watchers we were able to confirm band colors as black over red on the left leg and purple USFW on the right of this new female. During Lucie’s visit to the site yesterday she was able to 100% clearly see through her scope the 9 on top with a 90% certainty of an 8 beside it and 100% confirm an E on the bottom. This is consistent with Midnight, hatched in 2011 in Ohio, whose band is black 98 over red E.
Midnight was identified in Ontario as a subadult in 2012 when I found her hanging around in downtown Brampton with Milton, then resident male at the Brampton Courthouse. Nothing came of that nesting season but by 2013 she was ready to give nesting a try. The spring started late for her in downtown Brampton as her mate Milton was ousted by a younger Canadian male named Striker from the Yellow Pages nest site, also hatched in 2011. The eggs laid were Milton’s but the new male attending to her had changed. Her attempt to nest on the George St. condo failed to hatch any young. By August, Midnight had come south down Hwy. 10 to the Brittania Road area chasing out a subadult female named Alfrieda (now nesting at Lakeridge Hospital in Oshawa) and spent over a month courting Ossie, a subadult male hatched at the William Osler Hospital in 2012. By the winter of 2013, Midnight was back further north and Ossie was no longer around the Revenue Canada building.
This spring, Midnight was once again in downtown Brampton with Striker and they were working on hatching young on the top of the George St condo. Territorial battles with other females, intense rainfall events, lack of substrate and drainage and lingering cold most likely all played a role in her second nest failure in two years. When we heard that a black over red banded female was now in the MEC box and on camera, we immediately thought of her.
Up to this point, this territory has been held by Rogue who successfully hatched and raised one male chick this year. Where Rogue is at this time no one really knows but we will certainly be watching for her. Only time will tell who will be the breeding adult female next year at MEC as there is still a long way to go before we get there. We will be out over the long weekend to check in on Midnight and Renegade as well as head north to look for Striker and Rogue. We will keep you up to date on all the latest news regarding this site so keep checking back.
Photos / web cam captures to follow.
Over the past two days there has been renewed activity in the MEC nest box that has been quite evident by the craters that the adults are now digging. This intensity of activity is not usual for this time of year; house cleaning and rebonding for sure but this is something more serious. Watchers of the camera at MEC were able to capture today several images of a banded female in the box currently bonding with the resident unbanded male. The female on camera is donning a purple USFW band on her right leg and a black over red recovery band on her left. She is definitely of American origins and we will be out at the site over the next few days working to try and get a positive identification from her bands.
While this news is somewhat sad after Rogue’s triumphant return to the wild from rehab, it is not unusual for the MEC nest site. Over the past 6 years there has been so many FEMALE turnovers that it is hard to keep track. Here’s what we know;
2009 breeding season begins with resident female Tessie who hatched three but at banding found dead next to the nest box. Chicks are removed for their safety and fostered at the William Osler Hospital nest site. New female banded black over red with a silver USFW maintains the territory.
2010 nesting season begins with new resident female banded black rotated 8 over red rotated 8 named Infinity hatched at Statler Towers in Buffalo. She hatches four young.
2011 nesting season begins with the same resident female Infinity but failed to hatch eggs. Territorial battles between Infinity and an unbanded female witnessed. Infinity holds the site into the late fall to early winter.
2012 nesting season begins with new resident female now unbanded and named Rogue who hatches three young. She is injured in a territorial battle during fledge period with another female banded black over green and is sent to rehab. The new female maintains the territory for the rest of the year.
2013 nesting season begins with same resident female as the fall identified as Cass from Michigan who hatches two chicks successfully. She is found dead in July. Rogue is released from rehab in August and reclaims her territory.
2014 nesting season begins with resident female as Rogue after her release from rehab and identified by her silver USFW on her left leg. She successfully hatches a single male chick this year. She has just recently been displaced by a black over red banded female and her disposition is unknown.
The CPF has been monitoring the MEC site for over a decade now and from 2009 onward the control of the MEC airspace by resident females has been in dispute and the resident adult female changes regularly. During the past 6 nesting seasons there has been 4 different females ruling the box and as of now there is a fifth. This is probably the most hotly contested site in all of southern Ontario as this is such an incredible nesting site with all of the best aspects laying right in the path of an important north/south corridor in the west end of the GTA. We will be out over the next few days to the MEC site as often as we can to identify the new female and look for signs of Rogue still in the area. Given that Mason, this year’s offspring, was so early and has long since reached a good level of flight skill, it is likely that he was well out of the way during this recent exchange. Check back regularly for updates on the status of the MEC territory and the identity of this new female on camera. Camera captures will be posted shortly.
The best is yet to come!!! Photographers get your camera’s!!!
Remember that the family rearing process is far from being over, as its now dads turn. Over the next 30 plus days, the adult males will be doing most of the flight and hunt training with the fledglings, leaving the resident adult females some time to themselves to catch up on some most needed sleep and de-stress time. WE often see the adult females on the nest ledges doing some est box or nest tray rearranging and sleeping.
The fledglings will still be completely dependant on the adults for food, protection and support for the next 30 to 60 days as they will be staying very close to home around the nest buildings.
We often forget that the fledglings (I guess we can call them juveniles now, as they are the equivalent of teenagers in their mind set), still have no idea that they have actually been eating birds, as their food has been prepared by their parents. Many of the food packages have already had their heads removed, and with many of the feathers already having been removed, and as such, the juveniles have had no idea what they have actually been eating!
Of course its birds and only birds, but the young peregrines must be taught this!
They must be taught how to chase, stoop and dive for things and encouraged to chase their parents for the food. They must be shown what to hunt, how to hunt, how to catch it and how to kill it and then how to prepare it. The fledglings still have a long way to go before they are actually able to catch food themselves!
For the next few weeks, its all fun and games (at least for the fledglings),, but they are actually be taught important life skills that will prepare them for survival on their own this fall.
The fledglings, (juveniles) will succumb to a couple of thousand years to migrate in the fall and they will be on their own.
Most all of the resident territorial nesting adults at our southern Ontario urban nest sites will NOT migrate, and they will stay on territory all year. The adults have learned that you they can survive in the city all year long, (urban adaptation), and have figured out that there is an abundance of food around all year long, ideal habitat, no predation and lots of warmth from the buildings, especially from that of the illuminated signs that they roost on.
But the young of the year will go! Being creatures of habit (almost to a fault), what they know, they deal with,,, what they don’t know, they avoid! So its up to the parents to teach them as much as they can over next two months so the fledglings have the necessary life skills to be able to survive on their own. The fledgling juveniles typically migrate south to central and southern America for the winter months and have a very long trip south with many dangers.
Also remember, that the peregrine has more than an 80% mortality rate until it reaches breeding age (typically between two and three years of age), with the higher percentage of this mortality happening in the first year of their lives.
For all of the photographers out there, this is the best opportunity for some incredible photos of the adults training the fledglings over the next 30 plus days!! This is the time to really enjoy your peregrines,, so get out there with your cameras and spend some time with them!
I stopped in briefly at the MEC site to pick up some of the fledge watch equipment to transfer over to Etobicoke Sun Life that starts this Wednesday. When I pulled in I hoped for a quick look at Mason before I had to head off down to the Burlington watch. I arrived at MEC 1 just in the nick of time as Mason was perched up on the Intact sign on MEC 4. As I stepped out of my car, he took to the air and headed straight out over the street where he met Renegade in the air! The adult male had a small piece of food with him and I was awestruck watching this little man make his first aerial food transfer!! What a great job Mason! He grabbed the food, which really was just a tiny little piece, and flew around to the back of MEC 3 to eat. I picked up the fledge watch kit and headed around to see if I could catch sight of him. When I got to the back parking lot I found it full of cars for the farmers market that they now have there and a few onlookers who caught sight of the flight. I can’t think of a better way to spend an early Sunday morning than eating the first Ontario strawberries and watching little Mason triumphantly eating his snack! Great job little man!
I received a fantastic update from Margaret and Katherine on Mason the other day that I wanted to share with everyone! He’s doing great and has moved on to his next phase of training. Margaret and Katherine were out on Thursday of last week and these are their observations.
So yesterday I met up with Katherine to do a site check. When I arrived I didn’t see anyone including Katherine so started doing perimeter check of MEC 3 where I did fine Kate. She said she had seen a peregrine on the J of Desjardins on the west side. Turned out to be Rogue. We decided to position ourselves at MEC2 to keep an eye on Rogue and the nest side of MEC1.
After a few minutes with nothing going on Katherine decided to do a check around MEC2. On her way back a peregrine flew across from Square 1 squawking away. Turned out to be Renegade with a food parcel which he stashed on the S of Symcor. He then made his way over to the nest ledge. All was quiet with no sign of Mason. After a while I decided to stretch my legs and do a walkabout and it was then that I spotted something across Hurontario on the Morguard building. I whipped up my binocs and sure enough it was a peregrine chowing down on some scrap of food. I think maybe Renegade dropped something off for him before stashing the rest at MEC1.
Although looking small I’m sure Mason was very proud of himself to be such a big man to go to the Square 1 side, have his own letter (the u in Morguard) on his own building all by himself!
We changed our position to the back of the parking lot at MEC2 and sat waiting for some action out of Mason but instead of honing his flying skills, he decided to practice his napping skills. After about 2 hours we called it quits but we were very happy to see Mason and to know that he is doing well.
Thank you so much to Margaret and Katherine for checking in on our little man and making sure that he is progressing forward. Great news!
I stopped in on Sunday to check up on Mason’s progress towards independence. When I first arrived I couldn’t find him but he did finally show himself on MEC 3. I was able to watch several flights, one of which took him out and around the condos to the north where he did a nice short stoop after Renegade. His landings back at the MEC complex are getting better and much more coordinated. Rather than throw himself onto a ledge and hope for the best he is now targeting his spot and back flapping into to position. Much, much better.
A big thank you to Margaret, Winston and Grace for continuing to check in on our little man at MEC.
On Sunday, Winston reports;
I arrived at MEC and no Mason in sight. I texted Tracy and then immediately found him on MEC 3 on the east side opposite to where we watch MEC 1. Both parents were on the nest ledge and Mason was out of their sights. Flights looked unlikely as he was looking very disinterested at the moment. After a while Mason hadn’t changed locations and was belly down having a great nap. I probably missed a flight before I got here. Neither parent has moved either and so I called it a night.
On Monday, Margaret reports;
I checked in with security, collected all my stuff and couldn’t see any peregrines. Automatically started to worry and started a search. I finally found Rogue on the west side of MEC 3 and then Renegade was there looking very calm and collected so I took that as a good sign. Now to find that trouble maker! I scanned all the window ledges and the retaining walls in sight with no luck. I headed back to MEC 4 to collect all my things so that I could set up at MEC 1 and keep an eye on the adults hoping Mason would appear. When I got back to MEC 1 I saw Renegade had moved over there as well. It was after I got settled that I saw tail feathers hanging over the edge of the Desjardins square on the west side where Mom still was. Okay, I was happy!! Everyone was fine. I could just sit back and relax… …wrong!! All of a sudden I guess Mason got a pang and just launched himself screaming from the square. The wind caught him and it was if he tested the winds, feeling them under his wings, and decided his course leading him to land on MEC 1 retaining wall. Not exactly what he had in mind. He took off again and this time the winds took him around and around MEC 1 and 3 until he landed on the southeast window ledge of MEC 1 still screaming. Flight number three got him where he wanted… …on the nest box roof where he got himself down to Renegade so he could get in his face about how it was lunchtime. They seemed to explore the ledge together but I don’t think there was any eating going on. Renegade left and Mason joined Rogue on 3 but not for long. He was off again for about three more flights. I was exhausted from running around when he finally settled under the square for a little nap. I stayed about 2 hours and saw some good flights. One of them had to be a couple of minutes long. His landings were good and one was great I thought onto the window ledge. It was great to see that he didn’t seem to panic with the winds but sorted himself out and just landed somewhere else.
On Tuesday, from Grace;
I checked in at MEC and caught sight of Mason mid-air circling above before landing on the nest ledge. He was aiming for the retaining wall and then back flapped down. Great flight and landing!
So it looks as though our little man Mason is making much better choices and is getting used to life in the air. Thank you so much to Winston, Margaret and Grace for these excellent updates!!
On Friday we officially scaled back the watch at the MEC nest site to spot checks as it seems that Mason has finally gotten it all together. On Friday he was doing short flights between MEC 1 and 3 but nothing really spectacular as he was still trying to get his courage back up for big stuff. Spot checks throughout the weekend by myself, Bruce and Winston had him trying new things and getting braver by the day. Bruce and I watched him on Saturday take a flight off of the retaining wall of MEC 3 and fly right onto the window well of 2. Not the prettiest of landings yet but still he is staying high, making very calculated flights and accomplishing them well. This week Margaret will be doing some spot checking as well so we will keep you updated on his progress.
This watch could not have been successfully accomplished without the help of so many people working together to make it all possible. Thank you to our nest site hosts, Colliers International, for all of their support especially Sante Esposito for his great assistance. Garda Security at the MEC site was outstanding in supporting Mason through his rescues, his temporary housing and helping us to take good care of him.
Last but not least, the team. What a team you are! My cam specialist Katherine, we so needed your eyes manning the cam! My watchers Margaret, Grace, Bruce, Winston, Shannon, Mark and Mary for being there throughout Mason’s adventures. You are the absolute best! Mason is now safely in the hands of his parents who will train him for his future role as a wild peregrine and it was this team effort (and three rescues) that made it all happen. Thank you everyone!!
Mason’s last adventure in flight not only had him stuck in a tree on Sunday afternoon until later in the day on Monday but his flight out of the tree brought him in contact with windows again and down to the ground for his third rescue. This past week he’s been working on getting his confidence back up and it looks like he’s well on his way.
On Tuesday, as reported earlier, he stayed quiet and hidden from view for the bulk of the day giving Grace and I some frustrating moments. He appeared around 5pm on the southeast corner of MEC 1 howling for food and stayed there for the remainder of the watch.
On Wednesday, Grace was down for the day to keep an eye on Mason who was again reluctant to fly much. That was most likely due to the fact that the adults have been feeding him relentlessly and he’s now a stuffed little turkey who is quite content to relax at home. He did make one flight off of the nest ledge and up to the roof retaining wall of MEC 1 just before Bruce arrived for the evening shift. Once up top he decided to play with the swing stage and nap for the most part but flights weren’t on the agenda.
Yesterday, Grace was down again for the day and saw… …you guessed it, one flight. Mason took off from MEC 1 and flew to MEC 3. Nothing spectacular but still a confidence builder regardless of the fact that it was short and sweet. Bruce arrived for the evening shift and again saw nothing! No flights. Hopping, running, eating, running and more eating. Oh yawn Mason, let’s go!!
Winston arrived for the late evening close and it looks like the little man has finally gotten his mojo back. He was able to witness several flights the first of which was a long one! Mason spent a good 2 or more minutes airborne and his flight included circling high above the rooftop of the MEC buildings and kiting in the wind. His landing was also greatly improved and he was looking more like a coordinated flyer than a flumpy kid. Several more flights around the complex of four buildings occurred before Winston closed down the watch for the night.
It looks like our little man has grown up and learned some incredible lessons along the way. Low rooftops, people, windows, people, more windows, trees and raccoons were all on the list of life lessons that he has experienced in such a short period of time. Today we will be back for hopefully one last full day before scaling the watch back to regular site checks. Fingers crossed we’ll be celebrating his graduation tonight!!
A great many thanks to Grace, Bruce and Winston for monitoring over the past few days. Mason still has a lot to learn but hopefully he is now well on his way.