King Street Update. Third Bird In the Area

January 19, 2015 - Toronto - King Street

Tracy Simpson Reports:

This morning shortly after 10am Linda Woods was looking at the King Street East nest site area and had activity in the air.  A third bird entered the territory from the southeast and engaged one of the adults.  She believes that the two interacting were both males and that the female remained out of the fray on the south side of the Dynamic building.  The interaction continued for almost 45 minutes and included chases and vocalizing but no talon to talon contact.  Who this third bird is is unclear at this time but the flight pattern of the second male was distinctly that of Windwhistler and Erin was not reacting to this bird at all.  Could it be that Windwhistler is still around?  Further observation will be following this week.

!!! Important Message. A Different Male On Site. Not Windwhistler.

January 18, 2015 - Toronto - King Street

Tracy Simpson Reports:

Every once in a while I have news to report that I struggle to put into words. In trying to put my observations down in print, I will write and delete many times as no matter how I say it, it just sounds wrong.  This is one such post.  Please bear with me as it is a long post but it is important to include all observations leading up to this point.

Let me start at the beginning.  On January 11th, I tuned into the King street cam as I do every morning and captured an image of the male on the ledge. It looked as though he had just landed there and immediately my eyes focused on his legs. Black recovery band, yes. Silver USFW band, yes. But…   …the orientation was wrong. The black band was on his left and the silver on his right. After watching Windwhistler for, well, ever (so it seems) this was so very wrong. Windwhistler is one of 3 resident adults that we are aware of in Ontario whose bands are reversed. That is to say the black recovery band appears on his right leg instead of his left.

I contacted Linda right away as she is one of the most experienced people with the downtown nest sites and for the next few days the two of us watched King street like hawks.

I know you…   …as ridiculous as that sounds I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  It is almost impossible to distinguish one peregrine from the next based on markings alone as an individual bird can appear different depending on whether the bird is puffed up, slicked down, etc.  That said, this bird was just so unforgettable. I was in the area on Monday January 12th and made a point to do a site check. Erin was on the ledge laying down behind the pillar (she is doing this more often now as she gets on in age) and the male was on the southeast corner of the nest building.  He was roosting and looking south but I wouldn’t say he was comfortable. After a few minutes he began to vocalize and I watched him jet off of the nest building in a stoop down to Front Street where he disappeared low and west.  The female remained on the nest ledge.

Linda made a few trips out to check on activity in the area but the cold made the adults scarce and the viewing tough. We agreed to meet on Saturday the 17th along with Bruce to try and sort this all out.

This Friday January 16th I was able to save a series of web cam images of both adults on the ledge. The male was sitting in the sun for a few minutes and in that brief period the head markings brought one particular bird to mind immediately. Looking at the image it was as if the bird had been turned upside down and dipped in a bowl of black ink. A helmet head that was so distinct it was remarkable. No distinct malar stripe, just a thick, inky black hood.  Later that morning the female appeared at the far end of the ledge and laid down in the sun.  She was alone for a while then suddenly the male appeared on the ledge down by the camera.  I was able to capture several images of him approaching her, she stood and the pair briefly bowed at each other. This was not right at all.

Today, Saturday January 17th,  Linda, Bruce and I were determined to sort it out for certain. Bruce started out at King and Leader Lane with the male in sight on the nest ledge. I came in from the west and went down to the Queens Quay for some recon of the area around the lakefront. No sign of any birds to the south. I joined Bruce and Linda at the site but the pair had already disappeared. Bruce and I each took a recon walk around the area and Linda did recon to the south. It wasn’t until about 12:30pm that the male returned. He flew over to the northwest corner of the condos on Wellington where we confirmed his band orientation, black recovery band on his left leg. He then flew over to the east side of the King Edward to roost.

I KNOW YOU….  …I couldn’t stop thinking this!  We had him roosting on his right leg and waited for a stretch or preen. We finally got what we were looking for and the full recovery band came into view. We can confirm without doubt that the male currently hanging around the 18 King Street East territory is black 30 over black Y.  This is Stormin hatched at the Toronto Sheraton Hotel nest in 2009. Windwhistler’s grandson.

I had occasion to deal with Stormin quite personally during his brief evaluation with us after being found grounded back on December 1st, 2013. He is one of the most distinct looking peregrines I have ever seen and it was that head that I instantly recognized. This is the first confirmed sighting of him since he lost his territory at Canada Square to Malik, the new confirmed resident male on May 16th, 2014.

So what does this all mean?  The facts are this. Stormin showed up on camera on January 11th and has been making appearances ever since. He is courting Erin and we have not witnessed any other males in the area so far. This does not mean Windwhistler is gone, only that he currently is not on site. Spring mating season will be the true judge of which male will rule this territory. To all of you out watching birds along the lakeshore in winter, keep your eyes open as Windwhistler may be hunting these areas. Bruce will be down today, Sunday January 18th to try and confirm Erin’s band number and observe behavior.

Of note, both Erin and Windwhistler are 17 years old as of spring 2015.

Pictures will follow shortly.

!!! Finally, Two Falcons on Cam!

September 07, 2014 - Toronto - King Street

Kathy Reports:

I haven’t seen anyone but Windwhistler on the ledge the past several weeks so I’ve been keeping an eye out for Erin.  This morning I finally caught 2 falcons on the ledge at the same time.

Windwhistler spending a quiet afternoon at home

August 12, 2014 - Toronto - King Street

Marion Nash Reports:

Got a close shot from the web cam of WW at home today.


someone at home

August 02, 2014 - Toronto - King Street

Marion Nash Reports:

Not sure but looks like one of the adults at home today at the far end of the ledge.

Thea, soaking up the sun

July 10, 2014 - Toronto - King Street

Linda Woods Reports:

I believe Thea has taken up resting and soaking up the sun. I haven’t seen her in a few days.

Thea not in view

July 09, 2014 - Toronto - King Street

Linda Woods Reports:

The few times I checked the King St area, Thea was not in view. She must be venturing out of the area during the day, as I have not seen her since Sunday morning. One adult was seen this evening on the roof top of 18 King St. but I did not see Thea in the area. Adults must have her in their view.

!!! The best is yet to come!!! Photographers get your camera’s!!!

July 05, 2014 - Toronto - King Street

Mark Nash Reports:

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!

Erin and Windwhistler

July 05, 2014 - Toronto - King Street

Tracy Simpson Reports:

As our oldest couple in southern Ontario, when I was down on the watch I wanted to take a moment during the lull to take a few pictures of them.  I was fortunate enough to have the pair together in the St. James spire and I was able to really see the enormity of Erin.  Her size is so impressive and with Windwhistler there to compare her to, she really stands out as an impressive female.

While the shot isn’t the best given the height of the spire but I wanted to share now that I have a moment to go through some of my photos.

Thea Doing Great

June 30, 2014 - Toronto - King Street

Linda Woods Reports:

Thea continues to do well and even returns home for the night.  Big flights are not seen as yet, as the buildings do block our view. Erin and Windwhistler continue to pay lots of attention to her , keeping track of where she goes. Wonderful to see.