Erin Still at King St and Ivy Persists

December 27, 2015 - Toronto - King Street

Tracy Simpson Reports:

Bruce and Linda have spent time watching the 18 King St nest site closely for changes in behavior and sightings of Ivy.  As of this past Thursday, Erin, who was identified by her band through scope views, is still the resident female at the site and is regularly seen bonding with Stormin.  Ivy continues to be seen on occasion on the edge of the territory and Stormin is now taking offence to this.  He has flown out to her roosting spots several times in an attempt to drive her off and Bruce witnessed one occasion where he forced Ivy to flip over in the air to fend him off.  He is being very stern and staying the course in his decision to defend his 17 year old mate Erin who is also taking calculated opportunities to make it clear to young Ivy that this is her home.  On Thursday, both Stormin and Erin were very active in the area hunting until late afternoon when Erin decided a nap on the nest ledge was called for.  Stormin took up position on the top of the nest building above her and stayed for 45 minutes watching the area closely while she slept.

We will continue to monitor the activity in the area and report on any news.

Erin Still Resident Female while Ivy Making Appearances in the Area.

December 13, 2015 - Toronto - King Street

Tracy Simpson Reports:

The observations made both in the field and through the web camera since mid-October at the 18 King Street East nest site have lead us all to believe that something was not quite the norm there.  Starting back in October, there was an increase in visits to the nest ledge by both a male and female adult with serious conversations between the two dominating their time on the ledge.  They would both arrive and engage in intense bowing sessions behind the pillar where the traditional nest bowl is located as well as at the far end of the ledge.  The courtship/bonding sessions would go on for several minutes at a time and when one bird would leave the other would quickly follow.  This had us wondering whether a new adult was present in the territory which incited the frequent activity we were witnessing.

Attempts at capturing an ID image of bands often eluded us as the adults would be facing the wrong way, they were too far down the ledge or the bands were covered by feathers.  The images were wonderful and perfectly clear, if only the birds would turn just a little more towards us.  In a few of the screen captures taken, the solid black on the left and silver on the right of the male coupled with the very distinct head markings made us all feel rather confident that this was still Stormin.  That has since been confirmed through field observations of his band.  The female on the other hand still remained elusive.

A few screen captures of the female on the ledge appeared to have dark bands on both legs but this in no way was a certainty.  It did prompt us to get down to the site and attempt to make a visual confirmation of bands through our scopes.  On Sept 8th we have a screen capture of Erin’s band colors and on Sept 9th I photographed her at the site confirming her presence then.  On Sept 22nd she was seen on camera at night sleeping behind the pillar and as late as Oct 14th was laying down in the sun during the day in her scrape.  The last confirmation I had of Erin on the nest ledge was on Nov 15th when I photographed her on the nest ledge sunning.  In between all of these captures, photos and observations, we have had a very different bird stopping in periodically and briefly.  We can’t confirm who this was but we believe this was Ivy.

After Ivy’s spotting in Downsview Park on Nov 19th it appears that she made her way back down to the Toronto lakeshore area and is sticking around.  Last Saturday Dec 5th, Bruce spent the day at King Street with his scope and was able to partially identify a female banded black over green with a dark USFW on the King Edward Hotel on the east side.  The bird was not interacting with any other, male or female, but rather just roosting.  On Saturday Dec 12th, yesterday, Bruce again attended the site and spent the day observing the resident pair.  He located a female on the northeast corner of a building at King and Jarvis eating a pigeon at around 10am.  I checked the web camera and we had a bird at the end of the ledge at the same time.  I called Linda and she was now observing a bird on a condo to the north.  Three birds in view, all at the same time.  Bruce was then able to confirm through scope observation the black 79 over green AN band that belongs to Ivy.  She did not move from the building on which she sat for the entire 6 hours that Bruce attended.  Bruce is there again as I write this and has observed two birds on the west side of 18 King Street East and is now attempting to confirm the band numbers of the female on that west ledge.

So.  It would seem that Ivy has selected a potential site for herself.  Erin will not give it up.  It’s hers and has been hers since 2003.  Erin’s intimate knowledge of the territory gives her a distinct advantage in defending it.  She is seasoned.  She is a wise one.  She is a very big girl.  Ivy’s age, a one year old sub-adult, gives her an edge that Erin, at 17 years old, may not have.   Ivy is a brave competitor.  There has not been a quick and decisive turnover here, Erin appears to still be in charge, but it seems we may have reached a stalemate at the moment.  Two incredible females both powerful in their own rights.  Stormin has wisely opted to stay out of it.

We will keep you up to date as this story unfolds.

Erin’s Challenger - The Arrival of Ivy

December 13, 2015 - Toronto - King Street

Tracy Simpson Reports:

On September 12th, the raptor bird banding station at Tommy Thompson Park had a female peregrine enter their nets and the master bander shared his pictures and identification with me.  He submitted her band number to the Bird Banding Lab but had hoped I might recognize her.  She has a black 79 over green AN recovery band and a black USFW. This is significant as the use of black anodized USFW bands is something that we see on the east coast and this is the first time one has been confirmed and recorded for our province.  I checked my records and found that this bird was a 2014 hatch from the 101 Hudson Street nest site in New Jersey where they named her Ivy. This was an important observation as she was here in Ontario now as a sub-adult and most likely looking for a place to call home.  I contacted the folks in New Jersey about Ivy’s recapture, Kathy Clark, Zoologist with the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife and Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager with the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.  They were both overjoyed to hear that Ivy had been seen and recaptured here in Ontario as this young bird became a superstar last year after her foster into the 101 Hudson Street nest.

At the 101 Hudson St nest site in Jersey City, Athena and Six had been raising young together for a long, long time.  In 2013 and 2014, the pair were unable to hatch a single chick, possibly due to Athena’s advanced age.  Wearing only a silver USFW band and with only a partial read, Athena was at the very least 17 years old as of the 2014 nesting season.  Six, her mate, hatched in New York in 2003.  A plan was set in motion last year after it was evident that the nest had failed again, to foster a chick into the nest box.  The chick selected for this was one of three young birds hatched at the Ocean Gate AT&T coastal nest site that spring.  The young nestling was removed from the Ocean Gate site after the adults at Hudson had accepted the “dummy” eggs provided for them indicating that they were still in a nesting frame of mind and on May 21st, the single young female was placed in the nest box.  The foster was a complete success and Ivy successfully fledged without a hitch.  Ivy would be the last young that Athena and Six would every raise as they were both replaced this year at the 101 Hudson St nest.

After her Sept. 12th capture in the mist nets at Tommy Thompson, Ivy continued to be seen in the area.  She was obviously hunting the Spit, a shoreline that must look very much like the coastal view she grew up with in Jersey City.  She was photographed again by Charmaine Anderson at the park on Nov 8th and again by Rob Mueller at the Downsview Park located at Dufferin and Sheppard on Nov 19th.  She was on the move, getting around and making it clear she wasn’t leaving.

Between Sept. and Nov. we continued to monitor some of the most likely candidates for take over for Ivy.  First and foremost being the Hearn Plant where Peter and Angela have failed to hatch eggs the past two years.  Both Peter and Angela have been reconfirmed by several volunteers so they have managed to hold her off.  Next on the list was King Street.  Erin is now 17 years old and as noted in the previous post, is slowing down.  Close monitoring of the web camera by several of us showed who we believe to be Erin (band colors matching Erin, behavior and other signs) on the King Street nest ledge up until mid-October.  It was then that we noticed that the female seemed much more animated and active than before, not what we are used to seeing of Erin.  We have all made several visits down to King Street since those observations and as of yesterday, December 12th, Bruce has been able to confirm the presence of Ivy in the King Street area for the second time in a week.

More details to come.

Erin’s Reign as Resident Female Being Challenged pt.1

December 13, 2015 - Toronto - King Street

Tracy Simpson Reports:

There is an important situation developing at the 18 King Street East nest site that has drawn our attention there for the past month.  Erin’s 12 year reign as resident female is now being challenged like no other time before.  A very persistent female is not backing off.  I’m going to post this in a couple of segments so as to include all of the pertinent details leading up to the present.

At the beginning of this year, Erin and Windwhistler were the oldest pair of peregrine falcons nesting in southern Ontario, together since they took over the 18 King St E nest site in 2003.  That changed when on Jan. 11 we noticed that the male on the ledge in the web camera image was not Windwhistler who was distinctly banded backwards; his recovery band on the right leg instead of the left.  It was soon discovered that Stormin, produced at the Toronto Sheraton nest site in 2009, was Erin’s new suitor.  They struggled this nesting season with the newness of the pair bond and Erin’s age.  At 17 years old, she was showing signs of slowing down.  During the winter leading up to this change, we would often turn on the web camera and find Erin laying down at the end of the ledge or in the nest behind the pillar, sometimes for hours.  When we would go down to King and spend time watching her, she was still being quite self-sufficient and looking well, just slow.  No other way to describe it.  During spring observations at the nest site Linda, Bruce and I on two separate occasions witnessed a second female enter the territory and conduct a fly-by of the nest ledge.  This would get Stormin on the chase in defence of his new territory and Erin would join in later.  It never ended in a full contact fight as the intruding female always left quickly.  Just testing the waters.

This spring Stormin and Erin courted and copulated but she failed to lay any eggs on the east ledge of 18 King by May.  Shortly after that they began to disappear off camera for days at a stretch and so Linda and Bruce went on the hunt.  They found the two hanging out on the west side of 18 King and other buildings to the west.  We will never know if Erin did lay any eggs on the west side but by mid-summer it was clear that no chicks were successfully hatched.  Into August and September, the pair were once again showing up on camera on the east side and Erin was occasionally laying down as we have known her to do for some time now.  By mid-October that all changed once again.  The visits on camera by the female were in and out, not long on the ledge, and the bird we were seeing was different; different enough to grab our attention.  Linda, Bruce and I continued to pop down to the site and monitor the camera.  Yesterday, Saturday Dec 12, Bruce was able to confirm the presence and identity of a second female on the fringe of the 18 King Street East territory and while he had her in his scope, Linda confirmed Stormin on a nearby condo and I had Erin on camera at the end of the ledge.  In the post that follows this one, I will give you the details on Erin’s challenger and her time here in Ontario that we are aware of.  Her name is Ivy.

!!! Both resident adults are still much around and its nice to see them still active on the nest ledge!

July 15, 2015 - Toronto - King Street

CPF Postmaster Reports:

July 15th - 2015
While we can not positively confirm that this is Erin and Stormin, it is never the less nice to see that the King street nest site is still very much active despite the fact that there was no production this season. The resident adults are spending just as much time on the west side upper ledges, but still being seen on the east nest ledge, thus this recent photo image capture sent in from Campbell.

Thanks MUCH Campbell!

We’re all not quite sure what has happened this season with Erin and Stormin, but we’re all glad never the less to see that there is still a pair very active on the nest ledge.


!!! Erin and Stormin are still very much around, and still together! Very nice to see them!!!

June 08, 2015 - Toronto - King Street

CPF Postmaster Reports:

June 8th - 2015
Thanks to Olga who sent in some camera shots of Erin and Stormin that she was able to capture who we personally haven’t seen for a while. We have all been so busy dealing with all of the ongoing bandings and with overlapping fledge watches, we’re not getting much computer time to check in on some of the other nest sites.
Thank you MUCH Olga for sending these into us!

Both birds are a little wet due to the rain, but other than looking a little water logged, they both appear to be looking good!

Again we apologize for not being able to get these shots posted earlier, but we all have really have been stretched to max with regards to manpower and other available resources,, (including that of just not having enough hours in the day or evenings) to keep up with all of the activity.

As many of you know, the 18 King Street nest site was Toronto’s first nesting / producing peregrines (in Toronto History) that was established in 1995,, and has always held a very special place in all of our hearts. Who could have ever forgotten Pounce-Kingsley and his mate Victoria that started this all in motion!

Erin and Windwhistler replaced Pounce-Kingsley and Victoria, and have been on the King Street nest site now for over 14 years. Windwhistler was obviously replaced sometime this spring by Stormin.

Sadly, this is the very first time in 20 years that we have not had hatchlings to band and attend to at the Toronto Downtown nest site.

Fingers crossed that the nest site rebounds next season and they are successful in producing offspring again!


!!! Both Stormin and Erin back on the nest ledge!

June 09, 2015 - Toronto - King Street

CPF Postmaster Reports:

June 8th - 2015
Both Erin and Stormin back on the nest ledge, looking a tad bit wet.
Olga


Erin and Stormin on the ledge

June 04, 2015 - Toronto - King Street

Linda Woods Reports:

A rare glimpse of Erin and Stormin on the ledge at King St. No nest this year but happy to see them.


King St. Thursday May 14 7pm

May 14, 2015 - Toronto - King Street

Linda Woods Reports:

I walked by earlier and did not see Stormin or Erin. At 7p.m. an adult flew out of the west facing ledges and over to the roof of 100 Yonge St and out of view. Could not get a sight line on this roof top. Back to the corner of Adelaide and Yonge and found Stormin on the east side of a near by roof top . Erin is not in view. I guess she’s sitting somewhere near by, but just out of our view.

!!! Erin, Alive and well

May 12, 2015 - Toronto - King Street

Linda Woods Reports:

Taken today around 1:20p.m.  Erin! Alive and well. One can clearly see her bands. She and Stormin have been spending a lot of their time on the west ledges of 18 King St. nest building.  I have another image of both Erin and Stormin together.  Great news. I couldn’t believe that Erin had passed away. It just wasn’t fitting the behaviour I was seeing from Stormin. He was hanging out and close to nest building. This is why, Erin was still with him.

Now to find out if there is actually an active nest on the west ledges. More observations are being done, when time allows