Friday, June 5, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea
report: The day starts off quietly, with Griffin popping up onto the
ledge shortly after 5:00 am. Whitehern joins her brother about half an
hour later. Both chicks are heard occasionally calling out for food. At
5:45, Lily makes a stop at the nest ledge, Whitehern excited with wings
flapping. Griffin moves over to Lily, and does something that causes her
to fly away to the Standard Life building. This is a behavior we've seen
Griffin do before, though we never get a good enough look to determine
if he's poking or nipping at his mother. Whatever it is, she doesn't
Around 7 am, Ossie is spotted dressing prey on the BDC building. Lily
shows up a minute later with another catch. The pair then fly over to
the nest ledge, but appear to only bring one of the two meals (photo).
They hand over the kill to Whitehern (or she takes it, not seen). Ossie
flies over to Standard Life. Lily stays for a minute, watching
Whitehern, most likely making sure the kid knows what to do with fresh
food. Then she joines Ossie. She comes back about ten minutes later,
after Whitehern has eaten, again, giving us the impression that she is
checking up on her chick's ability to handle food. An hour later, she
returns with more food, and this time feeds it to the chicks.
Around 8:45, Lily makes a wide fly by of the nest, and both chicks
respond by flapping hard. In the days to come Lily will be seen doing
this maneuver more frequently, showing the kids how flying is done, and
encouraging them to try it for themselves. At 9:45, Ossie arrives at the
nest with yet another meal. Within seconds, Lily lands, approaches him
and takes the prey to feed chicks. This scene is repeated again barely
twenty minutes later. A lot of food in one morning!
In between feedings, Lily is seen perched on the Fairclough building,
and Ossie occupies a window ledge on the top floor of the Stelco Tower.
By 10:40, Lily has also taken up a position on Stelco, a few floors down
from Ossie, enjoying the shade that building offers in the morning. Just
after noon, both parents swoop in very fast to the middle ledge at the
Sheraton, next to the nest, once again demonstrating flying skills to
the chicks. One of the chicks is heard calling repeatedly.
For the most of the afternoon the chicks were very quiet as it was
very hot out. There was minimal flapping. Around 4:00 pm, a large bird of
prey (turkey vulture?) was nearing the nest but the chicks became very
vocal, causing the large bird to fly away. Afterwards, Whitehern began
flapping a lot. At 5:15 both parents came to the nest ledge for feeding
(photo). Ozzie didn't stay long, as usual, while Lily fed the chicks. At
5:30, there was a lot more flapping and possibly even helicoptering.
There was a lot more flapping from both chicks, especially from
Whitehern. For the rest of the evening they stayed very quiet.
Thursday, June 4, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea
report: The day starts with the chicks huddled down in the scrape, and
with Lily perched on the building west of the Sheraton which we still
call Standard Life even though the sign is gone. Ossie was perched on
one of his favorite hunting vantage points on the BDC building.
At 5:45am a chick appears on the ledge, and the day's flapping
commences. Every day the flapping is a bit more vigorous and lasts
longer (photos). The chicks can be heard making little cries, begging
for their first meal of the day, and around 6:10 it arrives. The chicks
continue to be vocal while feeding is taking place. Around 9am Ossie
makes a short circling flight and lands on the Sheraton (S). We saw him
do this a couple of times today from off the BDC building. He is very
diligent about protecting his territory.
Like yesterday, the afternoon was really hot, so there was not much
activity from the chicks. There was some flapping and a feeding around
4:20. At 5:30, Lily flew from the nest towards the BDC building, with
high speed, to chase away a larger bird, before returning to the
Standard Life building. A few minutes later, Lily chased a pigeon and
caught it right above us where we sat at the David Braley Center. There
were feathers flying everywhere. A few seconds later, Ossie came and
helped out. Just after 6pm, Lily came over to the nest and fed the
For the remainder of the evening, there was some more flapping, and
both chicks were on the ledge for a while. At 7:41, a rare sight: Ossie
arrives at the ledge with a small meal, and actually gets to feed it to
the chicks himself. Lily shows up a couple of minutes later and
supervises, but lets Ossie finish the task (photo). Ossie then flew to
the Standard Life building and stayed there for the remainder of the
evening. At 8pm, Lily brought more food to the nest and left afterwards
to keep watch from the Stelco tower.
CHICKS LOVE THE RAIN
Wednesday, June 3, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and
Chelsea report: Arrived at 5am to overcast sky, nice sunrise colors
beneath the clouds. At 5:45am dark clouds with lightning rolled in from
the west. About 15 minutes of intense downpour with lightning and
thunder. At first, Lily and the chicks took shelter down in the lower
part of the ledge. Griffin hopped up and flapped a bit as the storm
eased up. Whitehern was flapping a little too, down in the scrape. The
chicks enjoy the rain. It helps loosen and wash away their white chick
feathers. At 7:30am Whitehern joins her brother on the ledge. Both looking
very soggy, and exercise their wings a bit (photos). Lots of calling.
Five minutes later Lily arrives with the first meal of the morning
(photo). Feeding goes more quickly now, with the chicks able to take
full-size bites. At 7:53am Lily takes another catch from Ossie and
finishes dressing it on the next ledge over from the nest. She hops over
to the nest ledge and feeds most of it to Whitehern, with the rest given
Lily flies from the ledge at 8:50am, to the sign on the east side of
Homewood Suites, and Ossie soon joins her. The overhang of the roof,
combined with the generally south-westerly wind, offers shelter from
the rain, in a spot where they can still keep watch on the nest. They
both remain there until shortly after 10am. The weather turns sunny, so
it's time to hunt again.
10:40am Lily and Ossie are back at the nest with another meal. Lily
feeds the chicks, and Ossie sits on the Sheraton sign "t". above the
west end of the nest. As the day grows warmer, the chicks settle down,
and there is only minimal flapping throughout the afternoon. The quiet
is interrupted by a quick meal around 1:30pm. This is the last feeding
until 7pm. Lily is now starting to leave behind the remnants of meals,
and the chicks are seen picking at them at different times between
feedings. Could this be another lesson for the kids? Teach them not to
waste food that might become scarce? The more we watch, the more we
LESSON ON THE LEDGE?
Tuesday, June 2, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea
report: We hear and see Lily first in the early morning. Her calling can
be heard over the chicks. The "T" of the Sheraton is her favourite early
morning perch. Numerous feedings occurred throughout the morning. We
observed Ossie on top of Homewood Suites, dressing one of his catches.
When Ossie is preparing a meal, pushy Lily will call out to him
repeatedly, and fly over to him making him fly away with the meal before
he is finished dressing it. No patience for Lily. Ordinarily, Ossie
lands at the nest with the prepared meal, and Lily takes it from him and
feeds the chicks. At 8:35 she must have gotten really impatient (or
caught a meal herself), because she shows up at the nest with a fresh
undressed catch. She proceeds to remove feathers right there in front of
the chicks (photo). It's possible that this was intentional. A lesson
for Griffin and Whitehern, showing them what they need to do when they
eventually start catching their own food.
An hour after that feeding, Ossie asserts himself by chasing off a
crow over the David Braley parking lot. Later in the morning, Whitehern
spent some time up on the ledge. The first time we've seen her spend
more than a few moments up there. The afternoon started off quietly,
with occasional flapping from Griffin. Around 3:00pm, Lily came to the
ledge with food, to which the chicks responded very vocally. Around
5:30pm, Lily partook in her favourite activity: divebombing a gull.
Right after, she landed on the nest ledge. Ossie came by a few minutes
later with food, which Lily quickly grabbed and fed to the chicks. As
usual, Ossie left shortly after dropping off the food. The remainder of
the evening was quiet, with only a little more flapping from Griffin.
QUIET DAY AT THE LEDGE
Monday, June 1, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea
report: Another cool morning and a beautiful sunrise seen. The chicks
were quite vocal this morning. Griffin was observed walking along the
ledge and flapping his wings. Lily appeared with a meal around 5:50am.
Fifteen minutes later she flew off, quickly prepared another meal that
had been caught by Ossie, and returned it to the nest. Lily then spent a
couple of hours sitting with the chicks. Later in the morning she had
a brief confrontation with a gull, chasing it off.
The chicks were fed again just after 11am (left photo). For most of
the afternoon, the chicks were very quiet. Griffin spent much of his
time up on the ledge, occasionally flapping (right photo). His sister
still prefers to spend her time down on the gravel. Just before 6:00pm
Lily brought the chicks some food. There was a bit of flapping from both
chicks throughout the evening. All in all the evening was quiet.
SUNNY SUNDAY AND FIDGETY CHICKS
Sunday, May 31, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinator Sara reports: The
second day of the watch dawned cool and clear. The chicks were fed a
meal at 6:13am and another at 8:19am. Lily was spotted divebombing a
gull and a couple of hours later, she made alarm calls when a vulture
was in the vicinity - either alerting a threat or teaching her young
what could potentially be a threat. The chicks were seen often on the
ledge. I could see many white feathers floating up in the air, as they
continued the process of shedding their white colouring. Both chicks
were seen flapping, and strengthening their wings, periodically
throughout the day.
Twice today, I spotted one of the chicks slowly creeping up on Lily and
nipping at her! The first time it happened, the chick hopped up to Lily,
bumped her and Lily backed away. It looked like the chick had nipped at her
and Lily appeared visibly annoyed. The second time it happened (around
14:00), the chick walked up to Lily, nipped at her and Lily flew from the
ledge. I'm thinking someone might be feeling hangry.
A parent brought a meal to the nest at 19:03, and it appears that it
was grabbed by (or maybe given to) Griffin. Lily took off, and Griffin
carried the meal along the nest ledge (left photo) and then took it down
onto the gravel. He is seen to pick at it, on and off, for the next 20
minutes or so. This may be Lily's first attempt to introduce the chicks
to the idea of dealing with a meal on their own, rather than having it
torn into tiny pieces for them. Ossie and Lily returned to the nest at
19:53 with another meal (right photo) and Lily fed them this time.
NO EAGLES ALLOWED!
Saturday, May 30, 2020 - A limited form of Falcon Watch began today
in downtown Hamilton. Due to Covid-19 restrictions we are unable to have
a formal volunteer Falconwatch this year. We have, however, been able to
hire coordinators and will bring you their daily reports. For the health
and safety of our coordinators we ask that people not come
downtown to watch the birds. The best way you can help this year is to
let our coordinators work alone, in safety. Thank you!
Today (Saturday), Griffin spent a lot of time on the ledge, and was
seen flapping (strengthening) his wings several times in the morning and
later in the afternoon. Whitehern also ventured onto the ledge a couple
of times. Shortly after 12 noon an adult was seen nearby, chasing,
swooping, and finally swoop diving a bald eagle, who quickly left the
area! A similar chase took place later in the afternoon with both adults
being very vocal and driving away another very large bird. The chicks
were well fed, as usual.
As the days grow warmer, both chicks will spend a lot of their time
hiding out from the hot summer sun (also sometimes from our camera) and
they will spend long hours laying quite still. So if you look at the
camera images and don't see a bird, or they don't move, please rest
assured there is no cause for concern. Falcons are just being falcons!
BUILDING THEIR STRENGTH
Saturday, May 23, 2020 - There is no doubting that Lily and Ossie are
superb peregrine parents, keeping Griffin and Whitehern well fed. The
chicks have pretty much reached their full body size, and now the white
chick down is starting to give way to their juvenile brown flight
feathers. Whitehern gave watchers a tiny scare yesterday (May 22) when
she jumped up onto the nest ledge in pursuit of a meal. A performance
that, fortunately, has not been repeated since. But it won't be long
before both chicks are exercising their wings and building strength for
those critical first flights!
This photo nicely captures a trait of Peregrine Falcons (and several
other species of raptors) called sexual dimorphism. The femal Peregrine
is typically about 40% larger and heavier than her male counterpart.
Compare the size of their beaks. It is quite obvious that it is Griffin
in the foreground. This is not a difference due to age. They were
hatched within 12 hours of each other.
MEET GRIFFIN AND WHITEHERN
Saturday, May 16, 2020 - Banding went smoothly today, with our two
chicks being in good health, and quite vocal about the whole process.
The first chick banded was a male, weighing 517 grams, and was given the
name Griffin (left photo). The second was determined to be female, based
on the weight of 720 grams. Her name is Whitehern (right photo). Both
were named for museums in the city of Hamilton. Click either photo to enlarge.
As a special treat, here are two short videos of
Saturday, May 16, 2020 - As you may have noticed on the webcam, a
climber descended the front of the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel today, just
after noon, and gathered up our two chicks, who were brought inside for
banding. The chicks were returned to the nest after about half an hour.
We will update with their names and photos soon.
CAMERA #2 BACK IN ACTION
Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - Hamilton Falconwatch would like to say a big
THANK YOU to Colin Watson at the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel for helping us get Camera #2
once more operating. With the hotel closed right now, this is very much
appreciated. The wider view will allow us to watch as Ossie brings meals to
Lily (picture at left), who then feeds the chicks. At this point it
seems certain that the third egg, spotted in a few photos last week,
will not be hatching. This is not a concern. In the wild there is often
one or two eggs that do not hatch.
Tuesday, April 28, 2020 - Shortly after 8am this morning, Lily left
the nest, and as Ossie came in to replace her, a beautiful white head
poked up above the edge of the ledge (first photo). A few minutes later
Lily returned with the first meal, and during feeding it became obvious
that she was feeding a second chick. At 12:30, more food was brought to
the nest, and we got a clear look at both chicks (second photo).
Judging by the dry white down on the chicks, it seems likely that the
first hatching occurred sometime overnight. Will there be more? With
this year's brooding conditions having been optimal, we can't see why
not. Hatching can occur over a span of several days. So we will be
watching feedings closely, to see how many heads poke out in the days to
WATCH THIS SPACE!
Monday, April 27, 2020 - Now is the time to keep a close watch on the
Sheraton Hamilton Hotel nest as the time approaches for hatching. We
have been seeing reports of hatching at other nests in the golden
horseshoe, and these birds started laying their eggs just a few days
earlier than Lily. So, it seems quite reasonable to expect that they
hatched a few days earlier too, and ours are next!
GOOD WEATHER RAISES OUR HOPES
Thursday, April 9, 2020 - Lily and Ossie are now well into the task
of incubating their eggs. They began steady incubation around March
25th. That means a week of laying, so the chances are good that they
have laid an average size clutch of 4 eggs. But we won't know for sure
until hatching time. The pair have been very good at hiding them from
our view. We caught one glimpse on March 26th that shows
two eggs (photo at left).
Unlike last year, our early spring has not been interrupted by any
harsh weather, and the temperatures have stayed consistently warm. This
gives falcon watchers strong hopes that we will see a nest full of
chicks this year. With luck, they will start appearing around the last
days of April.
LILY LAYS HER FIRST EGG
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - Well, there will be no guessing games
about whether we have eggs this year! This morning, at 9:40, Ossie did
us all a favor and rolled a freshly laid egg into view, for us to admire
(photo at left).
Judging by Lily's behavior in recent days, we are fairly sure this is
her first one for the year. This is further confirmed by the length of
time she is spending off the egg. This is typical falcon behavior.
Keeping the first egg(s) cool slows their development, so that all the
eggs, even though laid over the course of a week, will hatch within a
few days of each other.
SPRING IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER
Monday, March 2, 2020 - Falcon instincts run deep. As the days
lengthen, Lily and Ossie know, just as we do, that warmer days are on
their way. So Ossie is beginning to 'court' Lily, bringing her meals
(photo at left). This helps Lily gain the extra body weight for the
soon-to-come task of producing eggs, as well as satisfying Lily's
instincts that Ossie needs to be a good provider for her when she cannot
take time away from incubating eggs to go hunting.
Yes, Ossie will take brief turns sitting on the eggs. But Lily
prefers the greater coverage that her larger body provides for the eggs.
Had you noticed that Lily is larger than Ossie? This is called sexual
dimorphism. Female raptors are noticeably larger than their mates, so
their bodies have room for the eggs they produce. We are looking forward
to seeing what Lily produces this year! We should see the first egg
towards the end of March.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Thursday, January 2, 2020 - Lily and Ossie paid a visit to the ledge
this afternoon. They have been doing so quite regularly all winter. As soon
as the weather warms up in March, we hope to see a new clutch of eggs.
BACKGROUND FOR 2020....
Hamilton's resident adult pair, Lily and Ossie, are celebrating
the fifth anniversary of their arrival in Hamilton, and will begin
their sixth nesting season on the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel very soon.
Lily was banded in 2010 at the Grand Haven Board of Light & Power
plant, in Michigan, and Ossie fledged from the Osler Hospital in
Etobicoke in 2012.
In 2019, Lily laid several eggs, but sadly, none of them hatched. This
is not the first time eggs have failed for the pair, and while we don't
know for certain, we are guessing that cold weather was partly to blame.
The pair's most recent successful clutch was the year before, when three
chicks fledged from the nest.
We will once again be looking for volunteers to help us with the
on-street watch during the critical period when chicks are making their
first flights, in June. Perhaps you will join us this year?
Many bird species exhibit a trait called 'site fidelity'. If at least
one of a pair that used a nest site in the previous year returns, and if
there have been no significant physical changes to disturb either the
nest itself or the birds generally, they will use the same nest site
year after year. Peregrine Falcons are known for site fidelity. This
will be the twenty-sixth year the same nest site on the Sheraton
Hamilton Hotel has been used.
To read FalconWatch Reports from previous years, click on the
History button above.
Thank you to all our visitors and supporters for your ongoing
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window electronics are all made possible by YOUR contributions.
Falconwatch does not cost a lot, but grants do not cover all our
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'DONATE button above to learn more about how the money is used and how
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