Hamilton Falconwatch News
BREAKFAST FOR TWOTuesday, Sept. 26, 2023 - This morning we caught a rare sight of Judson (foreground) and McKeever sharing a meal together. There was no sign of any chick begging for a meal, so it is fairly safe to assume that our summer brood has answered the call of the wild and flown away. With plentiful food (obviously), our adult pair will stay in downtown Hamilton over the winter, and keep possession of their prime nesting space atop the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel.
This is a good time to offer a word of thanks to all our community partners, who make this project possible. Their names and contributions are shown in the animated graphic above. Please take a moment to look at them, and if you encounter one or more of these organizations in your daily travels, please express to them your appreciation for them helping promote and protect Hamilton's City Bird.
And, as always, thank you for your support. We wouldn't be here without your donations and volunteering. Just a reminder: We accept donations year-round, so if now is the time when your budget can best handle it, then please feel free to make a donation now, and the money will be saved for next year's watch. Thank you.
LUNCH ON THE TERRACEMonday, July 3, 2023 - Early this afternoon, a chick arrived on the nest ledge with a bit of food in its talons, and ate it while McKeever kept watch nearby. We weren't able to identify the chick, but about three hours later, another chick landed, and this time we were able to identify it as Gibson by the white tape on his leg band. He didn't pay much attention to the leftover scrap on the ledge. It's difficult to know how much longer we will continue to spot the chicks on our camera. They have been seen as late as August some years. But eventually they will fly away, migrating south for the winter.
HAPPY CANADA DAY!Saturday, July 1, 2023 - This morning, two of our peregrine chicks flew within view of our camera, and we can see that they are still playing their chasing games with each other. One of them stopped for a brief rest on the corner of the old Standard Life Building. Even though this year's watch is over, this is a good time to remember that three out of our four chicks would not be flying right now if they had not been rescued by volunteers. We are still several thousand dollars short of the amount of money needed to fund next year's watch. Please click the Donation button above. If you work for a company that makes donations to community organizations, please approach your management and suggest they support Falconwatch. Let's keep this success story happening!
A THUNDERING FINISH!Monday, June 26, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Daniel Neumoin reports: The final day of Falconwatch began with McKeever down in the inner nest ledge, and Judson down in the middle ledge beside the nest (left photo). At 8:55am, the day's first rain shower hit downtown, which McKeever rode out on the ledge (right photo). The rain quickly passed, and, at 9:12am, we saw a parent perched on the Sheraton sign's "h", while three chicks sat near the northwest corner of the BDC building's roof. Soon, one of the chicks took off to the northwest corner of the Fairclough building. At 9:20am, the other two flew to Homewood suites to chase off a parent perched on the East duck logo, then flew back to the Northwest corner of BDC. The chicks and parents alternated between sitting on Fairclough and the upper and lower roofs of BDC throughout the morning. By 10:39am, three chicks returned to perch on the Northwest corner and air conditioners of BDC, while the fourth chick left the roof's Southwest corner to fly above David Braley center.
At 11:05am, a thunderstorm swept across the downtown area. Initially all four chicks stayed put on BDC, during the heaviest rain. As the rain lightened up, about five minutes later, two chicks, likely to be Kirkendall and Stipley, took off, leaving Gibson and Delta behind to spread their wings out on the building. The former pair circled the nesting area at high altitude in the rain, then came down to land on Fairclough and Sheraton's upper roof when the rain stopped. The chick on the Sheraton hopped down to perch on the middle ledge next to the nest, where our camera could see his bands, and identify him as Stipley (photo). He stayed there, cleaning his feathers, until 1:56pm.
All four chicks were airborne again at 2:21pm. They remained close to the nesting area throughout the afternoon, not venturing far due to the rainy conditions. The parents spent part of the afternoon perched on Fairclough's upper roof antennae and Homewood Suite's East duck logo. The adults could not enjoy these spots for long, as energetic chicks would chase them off and tail their flights. For the remainder of the day, BDC and Fairclough were the most common perching spots for the chicks, along with Sheraton's upper roof and Standard Life's upper and lower roofs in the evening. Two chicks at most took off at a time, flying together to play and talon touch. When a chick did not feel like playing or a chick wanted to take a spot for himself, the other chick annoyed their sibling through loud squawking and flapping until they left the spot. From 8:00pm to 9:00pm, all chicks and parents were spotted, with two chicks on the North upper roof and Southeast corners of Standard life, one chick on the Southwest upper roof of Sheraton, one parent on Homewood Suite's East duck logo, and one chick and parent on the West ledges of Fairclough building. At 8:32pm, the day ended with three chicks together on the Northwest corner of BDC and the fourth chick nearby. An excellent end to the 2023 Falconwatch.
AN UNWELCOME VISITORSunday, June 25, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Daniel Neumoin reports: When volunteers arrived this morning the chicks were airborne. Gibson and a parent landed on the roof of BDC at 8:37am. After Gibson took a short flight around Stelco tower and returned, two more chicks landed on the North roof of BDC at 9:24am. The falcons remained on the roof, hopping on its air conditioners until parting ways at 9:39am. One chick, that flew to the South upper roof of Fairclough, appeared to have eaten a meal, perhaps caught by a parent or themself. The remaining chicks and parent were spotted at full speed, circling Stelco. The parent landed on the middle antenna of Fairclough's upper roof, while the chicks exchanged landings on Fairclough and Stelco tower.
At 11:00am, a juvenile red-tailed hawk was found on the ground of David Braley center's parking lot, clumsily bumping into windows and walls before landing. No bands were seen on the hawk. The hawk flew to a tree beside the parking lot entrance, then Mckeever and Judson flew in to confront the intruder. The parents showed strong aggression towards the hawk, squawking and diving at the tree. The hawk flew along Bay Street to a small tree on the west side of the Braley building. It then came to ground, where a rescue was attempted, but it took flight and collided with a window, causing it to come to ground again. The chick was then rescued, and taken to a Grimsby rescue center, where it was determined that the bird had no physical injuries, and identified as a 1-year-old female red-tailed hawk.
After that excitement, the peregrines resumed their normal activity. Throughout the early afternoon Gibson and Delta tended to stay closer to downtown, while Kirkendall and Stipley often flew farther away, around the city. Gibson and Delta landed on BDC for a short rest at 12:32pm. All four chicks briefly landed on the West railing of Fairclough building at 1:15pm, visited by a parent bringing food. When the meal was done, the flights resumed. Gibson and Delta landed on BDC, 3:53pm, then Gibson took off with Kirkendall for a long flight that included circling high over circle Stelco tower at 4:19pm. Later on they were joined by another chick to playfight high above David Braley's parking lot and Stelco tower.
Around 6:36pm, one parent and two chicks landed on BDC after the parent dove at the chicks midflight. Another chick landed on the roof of Stelco tower at 6:52pm, taking off and returning after flying with a parent above Fairclough building. The last hour was spent perched on the roofs of Stelco tower and BDC, changing places while also landing on Fairclough building. Around 8:41pm, two chicks took off South of BDC with one landing on the Northwest corner of BDC, while another chick remained on the Southeast corner of Fairclough building until 9:00pm.
CATCHING THEIR OWN FOOD!Saturday, June 24, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Marzuk Gazi reports: At 7:45am this morning, there were two falcons spotted on the south face of the roof of the Fairclough building, there were another two spotted soon afterwards on Stelco tower. By 9am, there was a parent along with a chick on the south face of the Standard Life building with the other three chicks on the northwest corner of the roof of BDC accompanied by a parent who was sitting on the railing above them. At 9:30am, a falcon was seen coming into downtown from the south with prey and was quickly joined in the air by two from the BDC building and following a food transfer, flew out of view. There was a chick spotted leaving the Thomson building as it attempted to hunt a pigeon soon afterwards.
The chicks were seen throughout the morning making low flights and attempting to hunt smaller birds in the downtown area, often landing on the David Braley building, the Art Gallery or City Hall. By 9:45, there was one chick on the roof of the BDC building and another on the roof of the Fairclough building. Stipley would be on the south face of the lower roof of the Art Gallery while a parent sat on the roof of the David Braley building nearby calling loudly to it. The calling went on for a long time before Stipley flew away and a parent flew over to reveal that there was prey where Stipley had been sitting. The parent took the prey over to the Homewood Suites building, soon joined by three chicks. After dressing the prey, they all took off and flew out of view.
Afternoon, the chicks would favour the BDC, Fairclough and Stelco buildings, though one remained low, on the roof of the art gallery until 1:13pm when it flew off and seemingly continued to try to hunt near the McNab bus terminal. The other 5 falcons was seen at times with a parent on the "S" of the south facing Sheraton sign, a parent and a chick on the roof of the Fairclough and one on the southwest window ledge of the 19th floor of Stelco tower. At about 1:30pm, the missing chick flew over to the south face of the Fairclough building with prey in it's talons, enticing the other chicks to fly as well. Considering that the parents has not moved recently and the fact that the prey was being dressed on the roof of the Fairclough, we can be sure that the chicks caught the prey! After the chick finished the meal, it flew over to BDC to join the other chicks who had settled there after all of their flights. There were three chicks seen on the roof of the BDC building at 2pm with the last chick finally spotted soon afterwards.
They remained there for much of the afternoon until 4:45pm when two of them would take flight and circle over the building, catching a thermal and flying so high that they went out of view. They were periodically spotted flying far to the east but eventually returned to BDC by 6:30pm. At 7:30pm, the chicks were eating food on the southwest corner of the roof of the BDC building, accompanied by a parent who was spotted on the roof soon after. They remained there until 8:15pm. Three of them flew to the south face of the Fairclough building where they would remain until nightfall. The last chick was seen to fly off east of the Fairclough Building and was only spotted again at 8:45pm on the northeast corner of the upper roof of City Hall.
MASTERING THE SKIESFriday, June 23, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Daniel Neumoin reports: At 7:15am, a chick sat on the upper roof of the Sheraton hotel eating a breakfast snack, while another chick perched on the corner of the 22nd floor of Stelco tower. Soon after, another chick joined the first on Sheraton's roof, eating the same meal. The chicks remained stationary for the next hour, perched on the South corners of Sheraton's upper roof. At 8:31, the pair moved to the roof of Stelco tower, while the fourth chick was spotted on the Northwest corner of Fairclough building, likely being Delta. Kirkendall and Stipley played their routine game of talon touching at 8:40am, later joined by Gibson at 8:54am. By 9:11am, both parents sat on Sheraton's roof - Judson on the Sheraton logo's "h" and Mckeever in the nest, while one chick perched on the Northwest corner of the 21st floor of Stelco tower, and Gibson and Delta sat together on the Northwest corner of BDC.
From 9:00am, to 11:am, the males showed high activity, flying far distances from the nest and high altitudes. At 9:37am, one chick flew past the others on Stelco tower, luring one of them into the air to join a game of talon touching "tag". the flight and talon each other. At 10:03am, Gibson took off from BDC, circling above Fairclough building at high altitudes, then chased off a parent from their perch on the Sherwood Suites east duck logo, finally looping to the North roof of Standard Life building. Kirkendall and Stipley continued their playfights until briefly landing on the Northwest corners of Stelco tower's 22nd floor and Fairclough building at 10:34am, then leaving to chase a parent passing by. The chicks eventually settled on BDC and Stelco tower, while Delta remained on Fairclough building pancaked on the Northwest corner. The two parents perched on the North and East duck logos of Sherwood Suites.
Due to the afternoon rain, the chicks settled on BDC to wait out the weather, only flying to other buildings when needed. While the other two sat exposed to the weather on BDC, two chicks visited the top balconies of the apartment complex West of Sherwood Suites at 3:54pm, finding cover from the rain. Minor flights occurred from the pair on BDC after 4:15pm that looped around the building, only to land in the same position. After the rain, the falcons took flights to Fairclough, Standard Life and BDC buildings, while Delta returned to perch on Fairclough's roof. By 5:45pm, two chicks joined Delta on the Southwest ledge of Fairclough building, while one falcon sat on BDC's west roof, and the two remaining falcons perched on Standard Life's upper roof.
At 7:14pm, the males flew together heading Southwest above David Braley center, chasing a group of three pigeons. Although the pigeons outflew the chicks, the males tailed closely to the group, looping above City Hall and headed Northeast. The chase gave a perfect opportunity for a parent to snatch a pigeon midflight while distracted, heading off to Standard Life building with the prey. The parent allowed the chicks to grab the prey, dropping it for a midflight food transfer on the way to Standard Life building. The hunt caused excitement for all the chicks, taking off and playfighting to celebrate the catch. The males and parent split into two groups that flew West and East, reuniting after having returned from their playfights. One pair had briefly landed on the roof of the constructed building and even on the East ledge of the blue-tinted condo Northwest of Sherwood Suites. The males returned to Fairclough at 7:48pm, perching with Delta as they calmed down from excitement. From 8:00pm to 9:00pm, the chicks spent the last hour flying to and from Fairclough building and the Southwest logo of BDC. The day ended with Delta on the South extension of Fairclough building and the males on the first two letters of BDC's Southwest logo.
CHICKS CHASE A HERON!Thursday, June 22, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Marzuk Gazi reports: At 7am, there were two chicks sitting on the Fairclough building, one on the upper roof of the Sheraton and one on Standard Life. In the next two hours, all 4 of the chicks were seen flying over downtown. There was a lot of talon touching and chasing each other. By 9:35am, two of the chicks had settled on the lower roof of the Standard Life building with another on the north west corner of Fairclough. The last chick made it's way to the Standard Life building without our knowledge and emerged at 10am when it was forced to fly to BDC by a harassing group of gulls, one of which would chase him part way to BDC. At 10:30am, one of the chicks was seen eating on the northwest corner of the lower roof of the Sheraton. Soon after this, all four of the chicks were seen in the air, dive bombing and chasing each other. At 11:05am, three chicks briefly visited the Sheraton (photos). They soon flew again, and finally settled down, with two chicks on the northwest corner window ledges of the Stelco building on the 24th and 22nd floors and another on the letter "p" of the "dpai" sign on BDC. The last chick landed on the roof of the Fairclough building and later moved to the east facing duck on the sign of the Homewood Suites building.
They remained there until 3:20pm when a parent was seen coming into downtown, prompting all four chicks to take flight. After much chasing and talon touching, two of the chicks were seen on the east side of the roof of Standard Life eating a meal. The other two chicks were spotted soon after on the William Thomas building, east of Jackson square, along with a parent. They would sit on the building occasionally, taking turns flying high in the air and divebombing other birds, practicing their hunting. They flew back over the centre of downtown at 3:40pm and were joined by the other two chicks in the air. Two of the chicks settled on the east side of Standard Life around 4:25, and soon after a parent dropped them a meal. All four chicks were seen flying again soon after the meal was finished. At about 4:45pm, two of the chicks boke off from their game of tag to dive towards a passing heron, which hurried off northwards, away from the chicks who were so small in comparison!
The chicks were flying around constantly throughout the evening, often trying to chase what they may be beginning to realize is a potential meal. At 6:35pm, a chick flew onto the northeast corner of the upper roof of the Standard Life building holding a meal which may have come from a parent as there were many falcons in the air just before this, though a food transfer was not seen. It was soon joined by another chick to finish the meal. After more long flights, at 7:25pm, all 6 of the falcons could be seen flying and soon they would settle. One chick landed on the east face of the upper roof of the Standard Life building, another was on the north east corner of the Fairclough building accompanied by a parent and the other two chicks were on the southeast and southwest corner ledges of the 24th floor of Stelco tower, with a parent on the 19th floor's southwest corner. After a lot of flying, all 4 of the chicks would spend the night on the west face of the BDC building, with 3 sitting on the roof and one on the "p" of the "dpai" sign.
HUNTING SKILLS IMPROVEWenesday, June 21, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Daniel Neumoin reports: At 7:00am, two chicks and a parent were observed flying about downtown, eventually landing on the East upper roof of Standard Life building. A chick and the other parent perched on BDC, and Delta remained sitting in her new favourite spot on the Fairclough building. At 7:36am, Judson was spotted on the center ledge on the south side of the Sheraton. At 7:59am, Stipley chased him off, then settled down for a rest for the next hour and a half. In the meantime, Delta landed near the south east corner of the lower Sheraton roof. At roughly 9:30pm, Delta and Gibson were brought a meal on that corner, which they picked at for the next half hour. Just before 10am, Delta took off, leaving Gibson to finish the meal. Three chicks and a parent were then seen flying, talon touching and circling around the Sheraton and adjacent buildings. Stipley and Kirkendall flew to the BDC building, while Delta landed on the West ledge of Fairclough, at 10:15am. One of the parents perched on the Northwest 18th floor corner of Stelco to watch over the nesting area.
Due to the sunny weather conditions, the chicks showed little activity in the afternoon, choosing instead to sit in the shade. In spite of the heat, the males occasionally took off to play. Their games displayed advanced technique compared to previous flights, integrating fast dives and high flights as they touched talons with each other. One chick eventually landed on the North ledge of Sheraton hotel's lower roof facing away from the sun, joining another chick on BDC building's Southwest logo at 2:23pm. This chick made loops notably close to the ground Southeast of City hall, but returned to the BDC logo on the west side, before making another dive from the building.
At 4:22pm, a chick circled around the nest, then landed on BDC, joining another chick on the North corners. These chicks would take off past the nest at 5:16pm, joined by a parent in flight. The falcons looped around the nest, above David Braley centre's parking lot and near Standard Life building, diving when turning on corners and briefly landing on Sheraton's upper roof. The parent appeared to catch a pigeon mid flight, delivering it to Gibson who was pancaked on the middle ledge of the Sheraton's south side, next to the nest. Shortly after, the parent dive-bombed to Summers lane and flew East. Gibson de-feathered the prey himself. Around 5:30pm, Stipley and Kirkendall were making flights to and from BDC, with more talon touching and looping at high altitudes. Gibson remained in his spot on the middle ledge eating leftovers, visited by Stipley around 6:00pm (photo).
At 6:45pm, a chick took off from Standard life, heading towards City hall, followed by a parent and Gibson. They all chased after some birds, including a seagull, and one of the chicks was seen in a stoop. But we don't know if a chick or an adult caught the prey. It initially looked like a chick had been successful, but, when the three returned to the Sheraton, it was the adult seen dressing the meal and feeding it to one of the chicks. The chicks took off at 7:05pm, circling around the Sheraton until landing back on Standard Life. During their last-hour flights, the chicks kicked out their parent each time they perched on a roof. By 9:00pm, Kirkendall and Stipley settled on the BDC building, Delta on Fairclough and Gibson on the Sheraton lower roof.
MORE HUNTING PRACTICETuesday, June 20, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Marzuk Gazi reports: At 7:15am, this morning, there was a chick spotted on the roof of the Sheraton which seemed to be eating something while the other three chicks were on the roof of the Fairclough building. At 8:30am, a parent brought another meal and after a lot of flying, two chicks landed on the lower roof of the Sheraton and were eating a meal while a third chick was sitting on the upper roof of the Sheraton and the fourth was on the roof of the Fairclough building again. At 9:14am, Stipley landed on the nest ledge. Delta perched near the south east corner of the Sheraton, while Gibson rested in his favorite spot under our cameras. Kirkendall was seen on the southwest corner of the Fairclough building, and then he flew over to a southwest corner ledge on the 19th floor of Stelco tower. At 12:10pm, Stipley flew over to north side of the roof of the BDC building. Delta took off at 12:30, and Gibson around 1:00pm. After some impressive flying from all 4 of the chicks, which included talon touching and chasing, they would all come to rest on the north edge of the BDC roof by 1:10pm.
Around 1:20, one of the chicks took off from BDC to circle high over downtown before it was seen divebombing and chasing a smaller bird. After a few more flights from the chicks, at 1:45pm, another flew high over the art gallery to dive down in an attempt to hunt a pigeon below and barely missed the prey. After this, for much of the afternoon, 3 chicks would be seen on the west side of the BDC building, sitting close on the "p" of the "dpai" sign. By 3:30, all 4 chicks would be seen on the roof of the BDC again. Around 4pm, 3 chicks would leave the BDC for a long and impressive game of tag which saw all 3 of the chicks talon touching and dive bombing each other. They would often be lost to our sight only to return and land on the BDC once more. At 6:08pm, a chick flew south, high over the Sheraton before diving down and stooping a pair of pigeons who were resting on the roof of the art gallery before they were scared into flying off frantically!
After all 4 of the chicks had returned to the roof of the BDC, all near the northwest corner, Judson moved over to sit atop an antenna pole above them at about 7pm. At 7:25pm, one of the chicks flew up and pushed Judson off, to take his place on the antennae pole. Judson flew to the southwest corner of the Fairclough building. The chick gave chase, and Judson was soon pushed off that roof too. Judson was followed by this chick as he tried twice to land on different parts of the roof of BDC, pushed off each time, while the other chicks sat still and watched. After this, Judson flew out off sight, and the chick remained on the roof of the BDC.
At 7:55, a hungry group of chicks were finally fed. While chasing McKeever, who had food, one of the chicks managed to get a piece of the prey, which it took to the upper roof of the Sheraton to eat. In the meantime Gibson landed on the south wall of the lower roof. McKeever landed near him with the food, and Gibson got so excited, flapping his wings, that he slipped off the ledge, down into the interior of the roof. He spent a couple of minutes trying to hop up, eventually flapping and climbing the cables for the McMaster camera, to get fed on the ledge (photos).
About 10 minutes later the other three chicks clued in to what was happening, and all landed on the south wall, driving off McKeever (left photo). Delta claimed the meal at first, but eventually all the chicks would share some of the meal, with McKeever watching them from various spots nearby on the roof (right photo). By 9:02pm, Gibson and Stipley had flown to sit on the "dpai" sign on BDC. Kirkendall and Delta would also leave the Sheraton soon afterwards.
A RISKY LOW FLIGHTMonday, June 19, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Daniel Neumoin reports: The day began with two chicks circling near the nest and another perched on the Fairclough building. After briefly landing on the BDC roof, three chicks and a parent took flight again at 6:10am, eventually landing on top of Stelco tower at 6:20am. The rest of the early morning saw the chicks flying to and from Stelco and BDC, until landing on the Standard Life building's upper roof at 8:20am. The parents flew east to hunt, then returned to oversee their chicks from Sheraton and Stelco. A feeding was brought to Gibson and another chick on Standard Life at 8:00am (photo). Gibson finished and left at 8:30am.
Throughout the morning, Kirkendall and Stipley, in typical fashion, took off frequently to play tag. Talon-touching and making large, high-altitude loops above the David Braley center's parking lot and distant regions from the nest were largely incorporated into their games, with high-speed maneuvering and loud squawking during their flights. They made numerous brief landings, mostly on the tops of BDC and Stelco, with occasional stops on Fairclough and Standard Life. Gibson and Delta joined them around 9:17, when the pair flew close, and for a moment we had all four chicks in the air. The chicks also got their parents involved in their games through chasing and mimicking their actions, taking dives and sharp turns around buildings.
At 11:45am, Real Properties security personnel reported that a chick had briefly landed on the Southeast construction bars beside Stelco tower's entrance. They said that they saw the chick take off to the east, at first flying low over traffic, but then gaining height as it turned north along James Street, out of sight. We made a quick check of the area, just to be sure the chick had not come to ground again, and didn't find it. Needless to say, we felt a bit of relief when we located all four chicks and their parents at the same time, at 3:55pm. Two chicks and a parent perched on BDC, Gibson under the cameras on the Sheraton (photos), Delta on the Southeast corner of Standard life building, and the second parent on the 24th story of the Northwest corner of Stelco tower. With the chicks now flying so high, it is becoming more difficult to see their bands and identify them individually, and harder to keep them all in sight. So these moments when we see all six birds are very reassuring.
Gibson remained perched under the cameras until 8:30pm, while Delta pancaked on the Fairclough building, making occasional flights to BDC, Standard Life building, and one stop on the Sheraton (left photo). Kirkendall and Stipley perched on BDC for a short break, until flying again with Delta and a parent at 6:45pm, splitting into two groups and heading off to play. Three more meals were brought to the chicks, one delivered to Kirkendall and Stipley on BDC, another at 8:40pm to the Sheraton lower roof. It was probably intended for Gibson, but Stipley flew in and claimed it (right photo). Gibson took off at that time. A final meal was delivered to a chick on Standard Life. The parent tried to demonstrate how to defeather prey, but the chick impatiently grabbed the food before it could finish. The day ended with Delta perched on the Northwest corner of Fairclough building, Gibson flying about near the Standard Life building and Kirkendall and Stipley flying from the Sheraton to BDC.
FIRST ATTEMPTED HUNT!Sunday, June 18, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Marzuk Gazi reports: The chicks spent much of this morning flying around, playing and talon touching with each other, practicing take-offs and landings on the Standard Life building and the Sheraton. At 7:12, our webcam spotted two chicks on the east wall of Standard Life. A couple of minutes later, McKeever landed on the middle ledge of the Sheraton and was quickly chased off by Gibson (left photos). At 7:59, Judson landed on the ledge west of the nest and spent several minutes inspecting the inner gravel (right photo). At 8:16am, Mckeever landed on the roof of the Homewood Suites building. In the next half hour, two chicks came in for landings near her. One of them missed their first attempt, and flew up to the top of the tall apartment building on the corner of Jackson and Caroline Streets, before returning to land on the Homewood Duck. The other two chicks were seen sitting on the Standard Life building.
At 8:40am, Mckeever returned to the Sheraton, landing on the middle ledge next to the nest. At 8:57, Stipley landed and drove her off the ledge. She circled back and landed beside the chick a minute later (left photo). She stayed with him a couple of minutes then took off (middle photo), and flew up to land on the "S" of the Sheraton sign above him. Stipley remained on the ledge for the rest of the morning. The other three chicks stayed on the west side of the roof of the Fairclough building, not moving through the heat of the mid-morning. At 10:43am, one of the chicks took off, briefly visited Stipley on the Sheraton (right photo) and then flew over to the southeast corner of the lower roof of the Standard Life building, where it appears she found a bit of food. The other two chicks from Fairclough soon flew over to the Standard Life building as well.
Around 11:30, while Delta and Kirk played tag and flew back and forth between the BDC and the Fairclough building, Gibson landed on the I-Beam below our cameras on the Sheraton. Stipley took off from the middle ledge and a few minutes later landed beside Gibson (photo). Gibson took off at 11:47, and Stipley left the Sheraton shortly after that. All four chicks then flew over to the BDC building, where they would try to find shade from the afternoon sun. They made occasional flights to Fairclough and Stelco buildings, often with long, looping flights high over downtown. Through the afternoon, the parents were hardly seen, despite the chicks being very vocal at times. At 6:45pm, we saw what seemed to be one of the chicks following a parent heading west far from downtown.
By 7:49pm, after all of the chicks were in the air together for some time, they all landed on the north face of the BDC. At 8:03pm, one of the chicks flew over to the east side of the upper roof of the Sheraton, joined in the air by a parent who passed food to the chick talon-to-talon. One of the chicks left the roof of the BDC building soon after and was found again far east of the BDC at 8:25pm on the antennae structure on the roof of the Landmark Place building (100 Main Street)! Soon after, all 4 chicks could be seen flying over the MacNab bus terminal, stopping on the CIBC building, the Scarfone Hawkins building or the Fairclough building. At 8:42pm, one of the chicks left the roof of the Scarfone Hawkins building and was seen dive-bombing and chasing after a smaller bird just south of the building. It's first attempt to hunt! By 9:00pm, the chicks had returned to the north side of the roof of the BDC building. It appeared they would settle there for the night, but one of the chicks flew over to the middle ledge on the south face of the Sheraton, and spent the night there.
MID-AIR FOOD EXCHANGESaturday, June 17, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Marzuk Gazi reports: By 6:10am, this morning, all of the chicks could be seen, as well as the two parents. Two of the chicks were accompanied by a parent on the upper roof of the Standard Life building while the other two, along with the other parent, sat on the northwest corner of the roof of the Fairclough building. By 6:55am, all 4 of the chicks had moved over to the upper roof of the Standard Life building where they were dropped a meal by one of the parents. They would all continue flying, playing tag and talon touching throughout the morning except for Stipley who seemed to spend the entirety of the morning on the west face of the lower roof of the Sheraton, starting around 9:30am. He was often not visible to watchers, only being seen intermittently throughout the morning and early afternoon.
At 10:30am, one of the parents was on the "h" of the south facing Sheraton sign with a meal, when it was pushed off by a chick who would go on to dress and eat the meal. Soon afterwards, at 10:50am, Gibson found food in the ledge beneath that spot, which he would pick at (left photo). The chicks would continue flying occasionally through the heat of the late morning, spending the rest of their time resting in whatever shade they could find. At 11:48, the chicks became excited by a parent who flew in from the south with prey in it's talons. Two chicks would take to the air to follow it and the parent would drop the food mid-air in front of the Sheraton, causing one of the chicks behind her to snatch it from the air with their talons. Delta would be the one to catch this meal. She then landed on the east side of the lower roof of the Sheraton building to dress and eat it. When she had eaten her fill, Kirkendall flew in at 12:41 and finished it (middle and right photos).
There was more talon touching and flights throughout the evening, with Stipley still being intermittently spotted on the west face of the lower roof of the Sheraton before flying around the side of the upper roof to land at a spot beneath our cameras, on the same roof, at about 4:45pm (photo). He would be enticed to go into the nest at 6:04pm by a parent who brought food for him there before leaving. The other chicks would spend much of their time on Stelco Tower or the Fairclough Building. By 6:40, there was a chick on the southeast corner of the lower roof of the Standard Life building and another on the southwest corner. A parent would bring a meal over to the one on the southeast corner of the roof before flying over to the southwest corner to bring the rest of the meal to the other chick. While Stipley joined his siblings in the flights and long games of "tag" over downtown, one of the other chicks would remain on the highest window ledge of the south face of Stelco tower for much of the evening.
By 9pm, all 4 of the chicks could be seen on Stelco Tower, there were two on the southwest corner of the gratings above the roof of the building, one chick still on the window ledge on the south side of the building and another on a window ledge on the same floor, but on the west side of the building. Soon after 9pm, Kirkendall flew over to the ledge just west of the nest ledge and, soon after, one of his siblings would fly over to the far western ledge next to it, where they settled down for the night (photo).
DARING AEROBATICSFriday, June 16, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Daniel Neumoin reports: This morning started with early flights for three of the chicks and one of the parents, while Stipley sat on the ledge next to the nest, eating breakfast (photo). By 7:14am, the chicks settled with one perched on the East ledge of Fairclough building, two together on the Southeast corner of the upper roof of Standard Life building and Delta sitting on the upper roof of Sheraton. At 7:19am, a parent visited the pair on Standard Life building, dropping off food for them. At 7:30am, Delta and the pair on Standard Life took off, with Delta moving to the Southeast corner of the Standard Life and the other two chicks landing on the West corners of Fairclough building. The adults dropped off some food on the Sheraton, then landed on the Sheraton sign and the Northwest corner of Stelco.
After three hours of quiet, the action picked up at 10:55am when the three males took off Standard Life and Fairclough together, chasing each other around the sky. They made several landings, quickly followed by more take-offs, occasionally landing for longer periods on Stelco and Fairclough. Each flight displayed impressive technique and stamina, circling around the buildings adjacent to Sheraton and performing fast dives. Kirkendall and Stipley lead the flights talon touching and playing "tag" with each other, while Gibson tailed the pair, sometimes perching on a building to catch his breath. The males would also get a parent involved in their play, chasing them off the ledge and following their paths. Around 1:05pm, the males circled out in a radius that took them past City Hall on the south side, and the Federal Services building to the west, before returning to perch on Stelco tower. They stayed there until 3:56pm, when they both flew over to the BDC building.
Delta demonstrated considerable improvement in the strength and agility of her flights. Alternating with long rests on Shertaon and Fairclough throughout the day. When the males took off, Delta briefly involved herself in each flight, taking off and landing after a brief interaction with the males. She eventually made a long flight to BDC after 4:00pm, perching with her brothers on a metal bar. Thirty minutes later the chicks all flew back from BDC, spending the rest of the day on or near the Sheraton. The males would take smaller flights between Stelco and Standard Life or Fairclough, while Delta would continue flying on Sheraton upper roof and Fairclough's ledges. By 9:00pm, the day ended with the males perched together on the Southeast corner of Standard Life, while Delta rested on the Sheraton upper roof.
MEALS SHARED AND STOLENThursday, June 15, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Daniel Neumoin reports: The morning started off with one adult perched on the Northeast corner of the BDC building, along with three chicks midair and the remaining chick perched on Fairclough. Another landed there at 6:28, and we identified the pair as Stipley and Delta. Kirkendall and Gibson settled on the East ledge of the Sheraton lower roof at 6:36am. Around 8:10 they moved to the ledge immediately west of the nest ledge. A parent brought them a meal, then took up watch on the Southwest corner of the upper roof, above them. Kirkendall and Gibson, shared the meal (left photo). When they were finished, Gibson was seen cleaning his beak on the roof edge (right photo).
At 8:26, Gibson took off, and made a short flight over to the southeast corner of the Standard Life building. Another chick was spotted on the northeast corner of Standard Life. Delta was on the East lower roof. An adult kept watch over them from a window ledge seven stories down on the Northwest corner of Stelco tower. The chicks would remain stationary throughout the morning, occasionally walking and stretching their wings in between periods of standing and pancaking (photo). The silence would be broken when the chick on the northeast corner of Standard life took off North of the Sheraton, taking a loop towards Fairclough. The chick failed to land on the Northwest top window ledge due to its slant, causing the chick to fly towards Sheraton. Kirkendall and a chick next to the I-beam took off East together at 11:17am. The latter landed on the Northwest corner of Fairclough. Kirkendall landed on the North face of BDC, sitting between the leaves of the Canadian flag logo.
Throughout the next three hours, chicks flew to and from the Fairclough building and the nest, playing occasionally on the East roof of the Sheraton. Two or three chicks would take off simultaneously, briefly crossing each other's paths before flying off in different directions. Two feedings were brought to the chicks on the Sheraton at 12:50pm and 1:30pm, while another feeding was brought to a chick perched on the East duck logo of Sherwood suites. By 3:00pm, three chicks settled at the Southwest corner and South ledge of Sheraton, and on the Southeast corner of Fairclough, while Kirkendall remained sitting on the BDC logo.
At 6:43pm, an adult brought a meal to the south east corner of the Sheraton lower roof. Delta, who had been there all afternoon, claimed the meal quickly. The adult took off as Stipley came in for a landing. Stipley then started to chase Delta along the roof ledge, trying to get the food. After a couple of minutes, Stipley out-maneuvered his sister and successfully stole the food and mantled it. Eventually he relented and shared the meal with Delta.
The rest of the evening was relatively calm. The chicks were idle for long periods and then flew a few brief flights. There was some playful behaviour between two during the flying periods. Only one shaky landing witnessed: A chick had attempted to land on the nest but was blocked by Stipley so the chick changed course to the lower roof by the cameras. The night ended with 3 chicks on the Sheraton and one on the south side of the fairclough.
SPECTACULAR FLIGHTSWednesday, June 14, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Daniel Neumoin reports: The day started off with Delta in the nest, one chick on the upper roof of the Sheraton and two others on the Fairclough building. One meal was delivered to Delta at 6:37am (photo). At 7:35am, she made a brief flight from the nest, flying west, looping and landing on Standard Life. By 8:19am, Kirkendall and Stipley were perched on the Sheraton, while Gibson and Delta sat on Standard Life. Throughout the day, the chicks demonstrated their improving flight skills. Each takeoff was followed by long loops and far glides before landing. Their altitude was improving, often reaching up to the roof of Stelco tower. Flights were reaching farther as well. Out to City Hall to the south, and points equally distant east and west, looping back each time to land on a building near the nest. The chicks also practiced talon touching, where two chicks would fly together in the air, grabbing each other's talons. This develops the their skills in snatching a target midair, crucial for hunting birds.
From about 11am to 2pm, Kirkendall and Gibson perched or pancaked under our cameras (photo). They were stirred from their resting spot by being brought a meal at 2:15pm. After that they began more flights. While chicks and parents would occasionally perch on the lower roof, they mostly stayed on the upper roof, with Delta remaining there hovering or pancaking for most of the day. Two other chicks and an adult joined her late in the afternoon. Standard life saw more action, having the most landings and takeoffs, as well as feedings delivered at 4:30pm and 8pm. The chicks would play their typical games on the building's upper ledge, chasing off other chicks seeking to land, even chasing off an adult from the Northeast corner at 7:23pm.
The Fairclough building was also occasionally used as a perch, both by chicks and adults. Although Kirkendall and Stipley were easily able to land on the roof, Gibson would fail to land repeatedly when swooping up, instead bumping against the wall and then flying back to Sheraton or Standard Life building. Stelco tower was mainly used by the parents for a high view of the nest and city, but around 4:30pm Kirkendall and Stipley surprised us by both landing at the very top of the building on the southwest corner, where they remained for more than an hour. The day ended with Delta on the Sheraton upper roof, one chick perched on Fairclough building, one sitting six floors down from the roof of Stelco tower and Gibson flying above Summers lane.
DELTA SPREADS HER WINGSTuesday, June 13, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Marzuk Gazi reports: There were no chicks on the Sheraton at the beginning of this morning, meaning Delta had made her first successful flight! By 5:35am, there were 3 chicks spotted on the Standard Life building, 2 were on the southeast corner of the lower roof and the other was nearby on the upper roof. The last chick was spotted soon afterwards at 5:46am on the northeast corner of the new McMaster construction site. The chicks would be seen flying to the nearby buildings for much of the morning, spending much of their time on the Fairclough or Standard Life building. They were seen playing tag and talon touching. By 6:59am, there were three chicks on the lower roof of the Sheraton where an adult brought them food. 2 chicks were fed by a parent on the southeast corner of the lower roof of the Sheraton at 8:26am before the parent brought the remains of the meal to the one chick that was still on the southfacing ledge of the lower roof of the Sheraton. All of the chicks had collected on the Sheraton by 9:15am, where they would spend much of the day. There were two on the south ledge of the upper roof and two on the south ledge of the lower roof but they would all move down to the lower roof by 10:50am (photo).
At 11:26am, the chicks were brought an undressed meal. Stipley claimed it, but then stood over it for a while looking a bit confused by all those feathers (photo). He eventually figured out that no one else was going to dress it for him, and he started tearing into it himself. At 1:40pm, a parent left another meal which Gibson tore apart and ate before Judson returned to feed the last of the meal to Kirkendall at 2:10pm. Perhaps influenced by the rain throughout the afternoon, the chicks wouldn't leave the roof of the Sheraton until after they were brought food by a parent at 6:15pm. Shortly after, all but Delta were seen flying and the other three chicks would often land on the Fairclough building before returning to the Sheraton. At 8:25pm, two chicks were seen playing tag again, around the Sheraton before they landed back on the roof. Delta made a short flight from the southeast corner of the lower roof of the Sheraton to the nest at 8:30pm. By 9pm, all 4 chicks had returned to the nest. We thought they were settled for the night, but later on, when checking the cameras, we noticed one of the chicks had taken off about 15 minutes after watchers went home.
RAINY MORNING, WINDY AFTERNOONMonday, June 12, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Daniel Neumoin reports: The day started off rainy, with Delta huddled beneath our cameras on the lower Sheraton roof and Gibson perched on the Southeast corner of Fairclough, flying to the Northeast corner at 8:20am. At 8:04am, the parents were perched on the letters of the Sheraton sign, monitoring the nest. At 8:20 one of them flew to the duck logo on the east side of Sherwood. Kirkendall joined Delta on the Southeast corner of the Sheraton lower roof, and Stipley perched on the Southeast corner of Fairclough. With the heavy morning rain, Stipley and Gibson perched under the railings of Fairclough, finding a small roof to stay dry under. Kirkendall and Delta stayed out in the open bearing the rain. Two feedings were delivered to them at 9:40am and 10:59am. At 11:08am, Stipley and Gibson flew to the nest, then joined Kirkendall and Delta on the south east corner to wait out the rain (photos).
At 2:03pm, after the rain passed, several gusts of wind caused Delta, then the other chicks to hover off the Sheraton roof, leading to first one male and then the next taking off towards the Standard Life building. In a few minutes, all three males were flying around that building, practicing their landings, playing games and squabbling. One example of a game resembled tag, where two chicks would take turns chasing each other along the roof ledge. Another game involved two chicks perched on the ledge chasing off a third one that would attempt a landing. The parents kept watch from the Sheraton, Fairclough and Sherwood.
As the day went on, each male frequently took flights, circling in the air and perching on Fairclough, Sheraton and the new McMaster building under construction, stopping only for a brief period of gusting winds around 5:50pm, when they all huddled together on the Northeast corner of the Standard Life roof. Kirkendall was observed making a long flight, hovering midair while the wind pushed him back. He would occasionally perch on the I-beam near Delta, only to take off shortly after. Stipley showed the most frequent flights, taking off almost immediately every landing. He also flew furthest and highest, flying over City Hall and perching seven floors down from the top of the McMaster building. Gibson would stay closer to the Standard Life building, eventually joining Delta beside the cameras. Although no takeoffs have been observed from Delta, she still showed signs of future flight, frequently hovering on the South ledge of the lower roof accompanied by short flights along the ledge. By 8:51pm, all the chicks were near the cameras, with three perched on a metal bar perpendicular to the camera beam. After some shuffling from the nest to Standard Life building, the day ended with all four chicks in the nest (photo).
LONGER AND STRONGER FLIGHTSSunday, June 11, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Marzuk Gazi reports: The day began with 2 chicks found on the lower roof of the Sheraton and one seen on the southeast corner of the roof of the Standard Life building at 5:45am. At 6am, Kirkendall made a flight from the roof of the Sheraton all the way across downtown to the north face of the roof of the BDC building! The last chick was spotted on the northwast corner of the Fairclough building. At 6:25am, it took off to circle with a parent and land on the roof of the Sheraton. At 6:50am the chick on the Standard Life building flew to Fairclough and then returned to the roof of the Sheraton to join the other two chicks already there. The three were fed by a parent shortly thereafter. At 7am, one of them, identified as Stipley, flew over to the east side of the upper roof of the Standard Life building. Kirkendall left the BDC building to fly over to the North roof of Fairclough where he was joined by a parent who left food for him, before joining Stipley on the upper roof of the Standard Life building. At 7:30, Gibson flew over to the southwest corner of the upper roof of the Standard Life building. At 7:46 Delta was brought a meal on the south edge of the Sheraton lower roof (left photo). By 8:48am, Stipley had moved down to the southeast corner of the lower roof of the Standard Life building (right photo) while his two brothers were being fed on the upper roof. At 11:30am, Gibson was dropped food which he picked apart and ate. There was another feeding on the lower roof of the Sheraton at 12:50pm which Delta ate along with Kirkendall and Stipley, who had moved over to the roof of the Sheraton by then.
Through the afternoon, all but Delta would be seen flying to Stelco tower, the Fairclough building, Standard Life and the roof of the Sheraton. By 5pm, all 4 of the chicks had moved over to the southeast corner of the Sheraton lower roof (left photo), and, at 6:23pm, all but Delta, who sat just west of them on the ledge, enjoyed a meal dropped off to them (right photos). The chicks would spend the rest of the evening on the lower roof of the Sheraton, flapping their wings in the rain when it came down. At 8:06pm, Kirkendall flew back to the nest ledge and was brought food from a parent soon after. He would be joined by Gibson at 8:39pm while Delta would spend the rest of the evening in her usual spot, tucked away in the corner below the cameras. At 8:27pm, Stipley made a flight to the south face of the Standard life building, before going on a series of flights, including landing on the north face of the upper roof of Homewood Suites, eventually ending the night on McMaster's new construction site. He had found a place to perch on a beam on the southeast corner, just below the lowest of the green bands which run around the building.
STRONGER FLIGHTSSaturday, June 10, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Marzuk Gazi reports: At the start of the day, we found Kirkendall in the nest (photo), Delta and Stipley on the south edge of the lower roof of the Sheraton and Gibson still on a window ledge three windows above the pool deck on the Sheraton. At 6am, the chicks on the roof of the Sheraton were fed on the southeast corner. At 9:45am, Gibson left the Sheraton, heading east along King Street and disappeared out of sight. While Gibson was being searched for, Kirkendall left the nest and flew over to the north side of the roof of the Fairclough building, before moving over to the west side of the same roof. He then left Fairclough to fly over downtown and, after a failed landing, ended up atop the gratings on the roof of Stelco Tower, facing westwards, at 11:26am. Around 12:25pm Gibson was spotted as he emerged from behind the Standard Life building, flying in front of the Sheraton and landing on the Thomson Building. He would remain there for some time before flying to a window ledge on the west side of Stelco tower, 12 stories high where he would spend much of the afternoon.
Kirkendall left Stelco around 2:10pm, circled over downtown and eventually landed on the upper roof of the Sheraton. He moved down to the nest quickly to retrieve some food which had remained in the scrape to pick apart and eat. Kirkendall moved to the southeast corner of the lower roof of the Sheraton at 2:20pm, shortly before an adult brought food to the 3 chicks that were there. Again at 2:40pm, a parent was seen bringing prey to the roof of the Sheraton without having dressed it which the chicks were seen to pick at. Finally, at 4:55pm, Gibson was seen to leave the window ledge of Stelco tower and fly over to the southwest corner of the upper roof of the Sheraton where he would stretch his wings and call loudly. Near the same time, Kirkendall left the Sheraton roof to fly east and was only seen again when he returned to the southeast corner of the upper roof of the Sheraton.
Many times through the evening, Kirkendall would fly long looping circles of downtown Hamilton before landing on the Fairclough Building, Stelco Tower, or the Standard Life building, often spending a short time there before returning to the upper roof of the Sheraton. At 6:25pm, Stipley and Delta, who remained on the lower roof of the Sheraton all day, flapping and helicoptering, were fed by an adult. At about 6:45pm, an adult was heard calling loudly as it took off from the Sheraton and this seemed to encourage Kirkendall and Gibson to fly onto the east facing side of the roof of the Standard Life building. Gibson was seen eating a meal that a parent had dropped for him on the southeast corner of the Standard Life building at 7:05pm. At about 7:50pm, Kirkendall flew back to the upper roof of the Sheraton, just above the nest ledge where he would spend a few minutes before gracefully hovering down into the nest where he would spend the night. At 8:10pm, Gibson left the Standard Life building to circle over downtown, failing to land on the Fairclough Building before finally landing on a west facing window ledge on the 21 st floor of Stelco tower. This is where the chicks would spend the night, with Kirkendall in the nest, Stipley and Delta on the lower roof of the Sheraton and Gibson tucked away in the corner of a west facing window ledge 21 stories high on Stelco Tower.
GIBSON TAKES HIS FIRST FLIGHTFriday, June 9, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Daniel Neumoin reports: Before the rain began, Kirkendall and Gibson were resting on the nest ledge (photo), while Delta sat under the cameras on the Sherarton lower roof. The rain prompted some vigorous flapping, as it helped wash the last of the white chick down out of their feathers. The adults would monitor the nest from the Southeast corner of the lower roof and from the Fairclough building. Food was dropped off food at the nest at 6:52am and for Delta at 7:54am. Gibson and Delta would remain stationary for most of the day, with Delta wandering on the lower roof.
At 7:56am, Stipley was found perched on the West side of Standard Life building, on a fifth floor window ledge, looking in the windows. As the rain passed, he would bide his time pruning his feathers, flapping his wings and ocasionally crying. Meanwhile, two more feedings were delivered to Kirkendall by Mckeever, and Gibson was beak-fed by a parent. At 1:23pm, Gibson made the leap, and took a long first flight, gliding past the art gallery and landing on the third highest window of the David Braley center's Southeast corner. After that, he showed little sign of movement, eventually pancaking on the ledge.
After some wing exercises, Stipley took off from the Standard Life building towards the FirstOntario Center (Copps coliseum) at 1:44pm, briefly attacked by a seagull midflight. At 2:03pm, he was located on a 15th floor window ledge on the North side of Sheraton, near the southeast corner. Twelve minutes later,he took off again, landing on the North side of the Standard life building, two stories from the top. With each flight he gained a bit more height. A total of 17 stories up from his starting position.
At 4:30pm, Kirkendall would take a brief flight, landing on the Southeast corner of the Sheraton lower roof. Shortly after, Stipley would take off once more, finding his way back to the roof by Kirkendall by 5:30pm (photo). The pair would remain close together for the remainder of the day, perching and sitting beside each other. At 5:59pm, Gibson would attempt a glide back to the nest, flying a straight path and landing on the second window from the Southwest, three stories from the ground, on the front of the Sheraton (south). This position gives falcon watchers some concern, because of Gibson's lack of experience gaining altitude. The day ended with Kirkendall and Stipley making short flights from the lower roof back to the nest. Delta settled down in her usual spot tucked into the corner below the cameras, and Gibson remained perched on the window.
STIPLEY HAS MORE ADVENTURESThursday, June 8, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Marzuk Gazi reports: The morning started with Kirkendall and Gibson in the nest, Delta on the south facing ledge of the Sheraton roof and Stipley on a window ledge on the south face of the Standard Life Building, on the 11th floor. Mckeever brought a meal to the chicks in the nest at 5:55am. At 7:45am, more food was delivered. Kirkendall ate some first, then Gibson came over to pick at it for several minutes. At 8:24 a parent came over to pick it apart for him and feed him. At 7:50, Delta was brought some food. At 8:38am, Kirkendall left the nest to join Delta on the lower roof of the Sheraton (photo) where he would spend much of the day on the beam which holds camera 2, or helicoptering along the edge of the roof. At 12:18pm, a parent left food for the two of them, which was partially eaten before one of the chicks knocked the food off the edge. Thankfully, they did not try to retrieve it.
Around 2:55pm, Stipley took flight from the Standard Life building, flying to the lower roof of the Sheraton to join Kirkendall and Delta (photo). At 4:26pm, food was left for them, and it was quickly seized by Stipley and taken off the ledge and onto the roof below where he presumably ate the meal. At 4:55pm, an adult was seen feeding Gibson 'beak-to-beak'. Throughout the afternoon, the parents were seen watching their chicks closely, often landing on the Sheraton or Stelco tower. At 6:25pm, Stipley was helicoptering on the south ledge of the lower Sheraton roof as Kirkendall had been all day and he missed the ledge, falling a few stories before attempting to fly to the Fairclough building with an adult behind him. He failed to gain the elevation that was required to land there but ended up on the north side of the roof of the Thomson building.
Stipley took off again at 7pm, flying towards Stelco tower, where he tried to land on one of the north west corner ledges. After this, he turned away and, in quick succession, tried and failed to land on the north side of the Sheraton, the east face of the Standard Life building, and a south facing window ledge of the Sheraton. He finally made a successful landing on the south facing side of the FirstOntario Centre. At 7:25pm, he was harassed by a group of seagulls flying close to him very vocally but they soon left. At nearly the same time, a parent left food on the nest ledge which Kirkendall ate. At 7:45pm, a parent brought a meal to the nest without having dressed it first and Kirkendall picked it apart and ate some of it before the parent returned at 7:56 to carefully feed the remainder of the meal to Gibson.
STIPLEY MAKES LONG FLIGHTSWednesday, June 7, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Daniel Neumoin reports: The morning started off slow and smoggy, with Kirkendall, Stipley and Gibson in the nest, and Delta under the cameras at the west end of the Sheraton lower roof. Kirkendall was filled with energy, frequently performing wing exercises, while Delta took time to relax, pancaking at various spots on the ledge. The adults kept watch from the Standard Life and Fairclough buildings, and dropped food off at the nest at 6:15am and 7:08am, with a feeding for Delta at 7:25am (photo). The parents would visit again at 9:35am, circling around the nest and perching on the lower roof near Delta.
At 10:59am, Kirkendall was seen rushing back and forth along the ledge, flapping and helicoptering. At 1:37pm, he decided that was enough practice, and, as a parent approached the nest from the east with food, Kirkendall dove off the ledge at the adult, flying straight and taking a left turn behind the Sheraton's east side. Eventually he would return to his favorite perch on the I-beam beneath Camera 2 (photo). At various times througout the day Stipley hid out from the sun in the corner of the scrape, sometimes making us wonder if we had missed him taking flight again. After two meals at 2:45pm and 3:11pm, Stipley was showing higher activity, joining Gibson in wing exercises. This would continue for most of the afternoon, with more food brought at 3:40pm and 5:26pm.
At 5:45pm, Stipley took off East towards the art gallery was briefly lost to our sight. With the help of webmaster Charles Gregory on the webcam, and the on-street volunteers, Stipley was confirmed to have circled back and landed on the Thomson building East of the Sheraton, perched on the Southwest corner. Stipley would pace and flap his wings along the West side of the building while a parent would come and visit him. At 8:03pm, Stipley would take an impressive flight from the Thomson building to the Northeast corner of the David Braley center's top roof, crossing the entire parking lot in one flight. After flapping his wings, Stipley would make a final flight towards the Standard Life building, landing on a window ledge three floors down on the south side. Perhaps he was hoping to get back to the nest, but he then decided to settle down there for the night. The day ended with Kirkendall and Delta together on the Sheraton lower roof below our cameras, and Gibson on the nest, the only one of our chicks yet to take flight.
KIRKENDALL HOPS BACK TO THE NESTTuesday, June 6, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Marzuk Gazi reports: Kirkendall and Delta spent the night on the south ledge of the lower roof of the Sheraton while Gibson and Stipley remained in the nest. At 6:21am, the chicks in the nest were fed their first meal of the day and shortly after, at 6:38am, the chicks on the roof were brought a meal as well. The feedings continued through the morning with the chicks on the roof being fed once and the chicks in the nest being brought two meals. The afternoon brought more feedings, with the chicks in the nest being fed at 12:30pm and 3:34pm, followed by a feeding for the chicks on the roof at about 3:45pm. Kirkendall spent much of the afternoon on the I-Beam beneath Camera 2 occasionally exercising his wings (photo) while Delta stayed on the south ledge nearby. Stipley spent most of his time tucked under the overhang of the nest ledge, while Gibson was seen flapping and helicoptering across the ledge.
Shortly after 6pm, a parent visited the southeast corner of the lower roof of the Sheraton to leave a meal for Kirkendall and Delta. At 6:45pm, both of the parents were seen flying low in front of the Sheraton, touching talons as they seemed to be fighting over something. Soon after, they were both seen on the Homewood Suites Building with McKeever sitting on the sign on the north side. She had what looked like a dove in her talons which she took her time in dressing and then eating. Around 7pm, the chicks on the roof were drawn to the south east corner as a parent flew in with one last meal. As the chicks were settling down for the night, Kirkendall made a quick, short flight from the beam where he had spent the afternoon, back to the nest ledge (photo). This left Delta alone on the lower roof edge. She would spend the night as close to her brothers as possible, tucked into the same corner by the cameras where she started her day.
STIPLEY RETURNS TO THE NESTMonday, June 5, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Daniel Neumoin reports: The day started off with Gibson in the nest and the other three chicks still resting on the wall of the Sheraton lower roof closest to the nest. After much vocalization by the chicks at 5:44am, one of the parents landed on the Southeast corner of the roof to monitor them. At 6:21am, what we first thought was an adult, did a short jumping flight from the lower roof to the nest. It took us a few minutes to get a close look and realize that it was actually Stipley who had made a very nice, smooth, gliding flight to rejoin Gibson. The adults patrolled the area for the next two hours, dropping off food in the nest at 7:32am.
Gibson and Stipley spent the rest of the day on the nest, while Kirkendall and Delta spent their day at various locations on the lower Sheraton roof. All the chicks were seen occasionally flapping their wings whilst holding onto the ledge or wall, strengthening their wings for better flights. Kirkendall showed the most activity, alternating between long perches on the I-beam supporting Camera #2 (photo), and walks on the South wall of the lower roof. Delta spent most of her time perched on the ledge beside the camera. She was seen exploring the interior space of the lower roof a couple of times, sitting on pipes and roofwork (photo). Gibson would remain relatively quiet throughout the day, taking rests in the nest and perching on the nest ledge with occasional wing flaps. Stipley showed more activity than his brother, up on the outer ledge most of the day with more frequent wing exercises.
The parents kept an eye on their chicks from perches on the various buildings nearby the Sheraton - Fairclough, Stelco and Standard Life. They would occasionally drop food, met with plaintive cries from the chicks. The first feeding occurred at 1:30pm, dropping off food for Gibson and Stipley at the nest. A second feeding at 3:46pm brought food for Kirkendall, followed by a delivery for Delta at 4:37pm. A fourth catch was brought to feed Kirkendall again at 5:19pm, where the parent would feed the chick and eat alongside him. A final evening snack was brought to the nest, satisfying the chicks for the day. The day ended with one parent perched on Standard Life building and the other on the Southeast corner of the Sheraton, where the latter would exchange cries with the chicks.
KIRKENDALL FLIES BACK TO THE SHERATONSunday, June 4, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Marzuk Gazi reports: This morning, the chicks were in the same places they were the night before. Stipley and Delta were on the east side of the lower roof of the Sheraton. Gibson was still in the nest ledge and Kirkendall was on the highest window ledge on the east side of the Standard Life building. The parents were seen flying by Kirkendall as they had been the day before, unable to feed him as he paced near the north side of the ledge. Food was dropped at the nest ledge at 7:27am for Gibson and at 11am, Stipley was brought a meal which Delta soon joined to share. Stipley spent much of the day flapping vigorously near the south east corner of the Sheraton roof. Gibson spent much of the morning and afternoon looking over at his siblings from the east corner of the nest ledge and flapping.
Kirkendall spent much of the day pruning his down feathers, often being very vocal towards the parents. At 5:10pm, after hanging on for over a day, he finally left the ledge, flying eastwards towards the Sheraton and over to the upper roof of the Sheraton, gaining considerable elevation during the flight. A parent had flown over to the east side of the gratings atop the roof of the Standard Life building to watch the struggle, but afterwards, flew off, probably to hunt. A parent landed back in the same location on the Standard Life building soon after to dress a meal but the other parent was first to drop food on the south east corner of the Sheraton roof, at 5:53pm. Delta was first to the food, then Kirkendall flew down from the upper roof to join her. At 5:56pm, a hungry Kirkendall is seen mantling (spreading his wings over) the food to prevent his sibling from reaching it (photo).
The other parent left the Standard Life building to feed Gibson at 6. There was another feeding for two of the three chicks on the roof of the Sheraton just after 7:30pm. After that there was no significant activity until all three chicks moved west along the south (front) edge of the Sheraton roof towards the nest and settled together in the corner closest to the nest ledge, under our cameras (photo captured early Monday morning). The two parents ended the night perched on the east side grating on top of the Standard Life building, watching over their chicks.
VIDEO OF KIRKENDALL ON WINDOW LEDGESunday, June 4, 2023 - Courtesy of Brandon Duquette, here is a photo and video of Kirkendall, shot from inside the window of the Standard Life building where Kirkendall was perched, Saturday at 1:10pm. The video shows McKeever repeatedly gliding past Kirkendall with food, in an effort to tempt him to fly. Thank you, Brandon!
Watch it here: Kirkendall 20230603
AN EVENTFUL DAY!Saturday, June 3, 2023 - Falconwatch Coordinator Marzuk Gazi reports: After Delta's rescue earlier in the morning, she, along with Kirkendall (who had been rescued the day before) were released onto the roof of the Sheraton hotel at 8:05 in the presence of an unhappy peregrine parent. With the parent overhead encouraging the chicks back towards the nest, Kirkendall moved along the south ledge of the Sheraton to make an attempt to jump into the nest. At 10:05, he seemed to slip from the ledge and glided to the highest window ledge on the east side of the Standard Life building. Despite the parents loudly flying by to encourage both of them back towards the nest, he would remain there while Delta remained on the Sheraton roof for much of the afternoon. The other two chicks would remain in the nest, though one was up on the ledge considerably more than the other. At 2:01, Mckeever was seen bringing a meal to the roof of the Standard Life building above the ledge where Kirkendall was perched, hoping to coax his flight.
Stipley seemed to be blown off the nest at 3:55. After gliding above King street, he landed in an empty area of the parking lot of the David Braley building, where he was quickly rescued by a group of volunteers. After being assessed by the rescue team, he was deemed to be healthy. He was returned to the roof at 5:30 while two parents circled vocally above. A parent, thought to be Mckeever, settled on the south east corner of the lower roof of the Sheraton from where she would watch over the chicks. Kirkendall remained on the ledge on the Standard Life building throughout the day, having moved along the ledge to the north side. Delta and Stipley were seen on the south ledge of the Sheraton, Delta having moved to the west side towards the nest. Gibson was seen flapping, but he remained in the nest for the night.
STIPLEY GLIDES AND IS RESCUED!Saturday, June 3, 2023 - 4:15 Update: At 3:55pm, Stipley was cleaning his feathers standing at the edge of the ledge with his brother, when it looks like a gust of wind knocked him off balance (photo) and sent him on a long gliding flight across King Street. He landed in the David Braley parking lot, in front of the Falconwatch home base, and was quickly rescued. His flight was described as "graceful" by watchers on the ground, with a very gentle landing. So we have no concerns about his health. We're going to be taking him back up to the roof, to join his sister, soon.
KIRKENDALL AND DELTA RETURN!Saturday, June 3, 2023 - 9:00 Update: This morning at roughly 8:25, our two wayward chicks were returned to the roof of the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel. Kirkendall immediately started exploring the roof, while Delta sat still for a few minutes, to assess the situation. Eventually they both ended up in the south east corner area, climbing metal pipes of the old window-washing system (photo). One of the adults (far right) is keeping close eye on them.
DELTA RESCUEDSaturday, June 3, 2023 - The official on-street Hamilton Falconwatch kicked off today, with the second rescue of the season. Delta was found to be in good health after spending the night near street level. Once again, it was decided to take the chick out to the Owl Foundation for a check-up. With the two of them out of the nest, it has been decided to return them both to the Sheraton roof today.
We want to thank the people who have begun to fill in the empty shifts on our volunteer schedule. We never imagined things kicking off so early, so we very much appreciate having multiple eyes on the chicks at all times.
DELTA SNEAKS OUT OF THE NEST!Friday, June 2, 2023 - 10:30 Update: Late in the afternoon, Falcon Watchers started to feel a bit concerned that they were only seeing two chicks on the nest ledge. Initially we thought the third chick was just hiding under the overhang at the back of the scrape, as usual. But, as the evening wore on, and we continued to only see two, we began to wonder if another chick had managed to sneak out of the nest. So a search was conducted of the walkways and ledges around the front of the Sheraton, and we eventually found Delta sitting on the edge of a second story roof on the east side of the old Standard Life Building, just above the Anchor Bar patio. She stayed there the rest of the evening, and we're hoping she will stay put until tomorrow when the on-street watch officially begins at 5:30 am.
Did we mention we need volunteers? We need volunteers. Tomorrow. The way our luck is going, the other chicks just might decide to try and fly as well. And they really don't have the feathers for it yet. So keeping track of them is vitally important at this time.
KIRKENDALL DOING WELLFriday, June 2, 2023 - 4:30 Update: Kirkendall is in excellent health, and did not suffer any injuries from his (mis)adventure today. He will be kept at the Owl Foundation for a few days, allowing more time for him to fully grow his flight feathers and shed the last of his white chick down. He will then be returned to the roof of the Sheraton hotel. Hopefully this minor delay will help make his second flight more successful than the first! This photo was taken by Ryan Iverson at the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel, just after Kirkendall was rescued. THANK YOU!
KIRKENDALL RESCUED!Friday, June 2, 2023 - Just before 2pm, Kirkendall either had a slip, or maybe he decided his wings were working well enough to try flying. Either way, he left the ledge, and glided downwards until he reached ground level. He was initially rescued from traffic by Marouane Fattoum, who was passing by when the chick landed on the street in front of the Sheraton Hotel. Kirkendall was brought inside the hotel, where he appeared to be in good condition. He is being taken to the Owl Foundation for a full check-up, just to be sure. All this, of course, one day before the official on-street watch begins!
A BRAVE CHICKSunday, May 28, 2023 - Yesterday we spotted a chick hopping up on the ledge to get better access to a meal that McKeever had brought to the nest. Today, we saw this again. This time we got a closer look, and could see it was Gibson (white tape) who made the leap (middle photo). He stayed up on the ledge for about ten minutes, most of that time on his own, as McKeever jumped down into the scrape, fed the last bits of the meal to the other chicks, then flew away.
BREAKFAST IS SERVED!Friday, May 26, 2023 - It has been a week since our four chicks were banded, and the feedings haven't slowed down. We can see their dark brown flight feathers starting to come in. In the next week the chicks will lose the majority of their white chick down, and then they will begin testing out their wings. And the on-street falcon watch will begin!
THE CHICKS ARE BANDEDThursday, May 18, 2023 - Here are some screen-captured portraits of our chicks, taken from the banding video, which is now available for viewing. Click here to watch it: 2023 Banding Video.
Today around 1:30 our four chicks were brought into the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel and banded. Based on their weights we have three males and one female. Their left leg bands were wrapped in colored tape so we will be able to identify them from a distance. Their names and tape colors are: Kirkendall (male, blue tape), Gibson (male, white tape), Delta (female, yellow tape), and Stipley (male, red tape), all named for Hamilton neighborhoods. Our climber spent the time while the chicks were inside removing a few small plants from the nest ledge, and keeping an eye on McKeever, who kept a very close eye on him while he collected the chicks (photos).
BANDING WILL BE ON THURSDAYWednesday, May 17, 2023 - The chicks are nearly invisible this morning, huddled together in the near corner of the nest ledge, sheltering from the (hopefully) last cold spell of spring. Tomorrow (Thursday) they will have a chance to warm up a bit, as they are brought inside the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel for banding. As can be seen in the photo, they have grown to nearly their full size. But, as yet, they do not have a lot of leg strength, so this is the best time to collect them without any risk of them trying to jump away from the climber.
DONATIONS STILL NEEDED - If you have not already made a donation to Falconwatch, it is never too late to do so. The Coordinator daily reports, the camera images and on-street Falconwatch equipment are all made possible by your contributions. Grants only pay for so much (and some years they are less than others). Please click on the yellow 'Donate!' button above to make an easy tax creditable donation. We and the birds Thank You!
FOUR PEREGRINE CHICKS!Sunday, April 30, 2023 - Early this morning, McKeever flew in to feed her chicks, and we saw that there was now a third chick eagerly clamoring for food. As we watched the chicks get fed, we began to see the egg in the foreground crack apart, and, over the next half hour, our fourth and final peregrine chick hatched. As is usual, It had a little help from mom, who picked away the edges of the shell. You can see a piece of shell in McKeever's beak in the last photo.
A month ago we mentioned how the adults carefully timed the incubation of the first eggs so that they would all hatch together, and this has now resulted in all four eggs hatching within 24 hours! With four in the nest, we will see a lot of feedings over the coming month. And needless to say, we're going to need a lot of volunteer watchers. If you have some time to spare in June, please click the Volunteer button at the top of this page. Thanks!
TWO CHICKS SO FARSaturday, April 29, 2023 - Just beore 6pm, we caught our first sight of two new peregrine chicks in the Sheraton Hamilton nest. Their white down feathers were already dry, so it seemed likely that they hatched several hours before, while their mother kept them sheltered from the rain. Feeding began almost immediately (photos). We should see the other two eggs hatch within the next day or so.
HATCHING IS STARTING!Saturday, April 29, 2023, 2pm - Just after 8am this morning we noticed the first tiny hole in one egg, then soon saw a crack appearing in another. We knew this was coming as McKeever fussed over the eggs in the last day, listening to the tiny sounds of chicks inside the eggs. She will continue to move and turn the eggs, which helps the chicks peck their way out of their shells. By this evening we expect to see the first little white balls of fluff.
FOUR EGGSMonday, March 27, 2023 - At 7:59 this morning McKeever laid her fourth egg of the season, with our camera catching a great view as it happened. A half hour later, Judson came in to take over incubation duties from her, and we got a clear look at all four eggs. You can see the color differences between the new egg and the older ones, which have picked up a coating of dust. It is possible that McKeever may lay one more egg. We have had five eggs before, but we have never had all five hatch. So, with good weather and close attention from McKeever and Judson, we have high hopes for seeing four tiny peregrine chicks at the beginning of May.
Falconwatch would like to say a big thank you to the people who have made donations. Your generous gifts have gotten our fund-raising off to a great start! But we still have a long way to go. If you haven't made a donation yet, and would like to help save a peregrine chick, then please click the Donate button above.
THIRD EGGSaturday, March 25, 2023 - Early this morning McKeever briefly left her eggs, and we could see that she laid her third egg during the night. Three is not an uncommon number of eggs for a peregrine clutch. But neither is four. So we will be watching closely Monday, to see if she lays another.
EGG #2!Wednesday, March 22, 2023 - Right on time, McKeever has laid the second egg of the 2023 nesting season. We should see the next one on Friday. I think this is the perfect time to let people know that Falconwatch is running lower on funds than it has in previous years. We really, seriously need people to make donations, to help us build up the funds necessary for hiring our coordinators, pay for radios, and so on. If you can help out, please click the Donate button above. Thanks!
HERE WE GO!!!Monday, March 20, 2023 - Spring is officially here, and Hamilton's Peregrines are celebrating with their first egg of the season. Eagle-eyed falcon watchers spotted McKeever showing off her new egg around noon today. As usual for Peregrine clutches, the first egg will not be incubated full time, but will be allowed to stay cooler, slowing its development. McKeever will likely lay 2-3 more eggs in the coming days, each one about two days after the previous one. By slowing the first egg's development, she makes it more likely that all the eggs will hatch within a day of each other, insuring no chick has a size disadvantage when they all start clamoring for meals. In about 40 days, the sound of Peregrine chicks will once again be heard high up on the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!Sunday, January 1, 2023 - A new year begins with the usual January warm spell, and our resident adult pair make another routine visit to the nest ledge to check up on it, and make sure everything is in proper shape for the nesting season that will begin in March.
BACKGROUND FOR 2023....
After their first successful year together, fledging four chicks, Judson and McKeever are spending the winter in Hamilton, where there is ample food, and warm spots to shelter from the worst of the winter weather. This will be McKeever's second year at the Hamilton nest, and Judson's third.
Judson arrived in Hamilton at the end of the nesting season in 2021. He came to us from Buffalo, New York, where he fledged from the Richardson Complex in 2018. In a delightful turn of events, one of his parents is Felker who fledged from Hamilton in 2012. So the prodigal (grand)son of Madame X and Surge has returned. He arrived too late to mate with Lily, who, sadly, fell ill and died early in 2022, so, apart from a brief time keeping Lily company on the ledge, his first and only mate has been....
McKeever, fledged from a nest on the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ontario, in 2019. She is named in honor of Kay McKeever of the Owl Foundation. Her arrival was first noticed on January 22, 2022, when we observed that there were still two adults landing at the nest ledge while Lily (the previous female) was being cared for at the Owl Foundation. A quick check of our webcam archives showed that McKeever had been present for a few days by that point. We don't know if she had a territorial battle with Lily which resulted in the latter being too injured to survive, or whether Lily had taken ill and this newcomer had simply filled in the void left by Lily's absence. In any event, McKeever was quickly accepted by Judson, and the pair produced four chicks their first year together.
While peregrines are normally a migratory species, sometimes they choose to spend the winter in their nesting territory if there is enough food to last through the winter. 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 this trait. This will be the twenty-nineth 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 encouragement.
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