Hamilton Falconwatch News

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Monday July 9, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Sara Shwadchuck reports: Shortly before 5pm yesterday, I was in the neighbourhood and saw two chicks flying from the King and Caroline direction. One had food in his talons, and landed on top of City Hall after the one with food made a brief stop on the north duck of Homewood. The one with food ate on top of City Hall, while the other perched close by for a few minutes and then flew towards Homewood and then east.

Upon arriving at 9am today, I spotted a chick on the NW corner of Stelco. Lily spent some time in the nest around 9:30am. The falcons also spent some time on the BDC and Homewood today. The late afternoon consisted of a game of hide and seek with the falcons. I observed one of the falcons on the CDI College building for a couple of minutes. The evening ended with much activity! One of the chicks was seen flying to a window ledge on the NE side of David Braley. I could see a yellow band; it was Ainslie! The other two chicks were on the lower roof of David Braley, SE side. One of the chicks was eating and the other was perched close by. Three little birds were observed approaching the two chicks on the SE side, and one was seen dive bombing the chick with the food for twenty minutes or so! A gull was seen dive bombing the chick, but fortunately that didn't last long. A pigeon also appeared on the roof with the chicks! The chick without food took off, followed by Ainslie. The parents were at the Sheraton at 19:41; one in the nest and the other on the adjacent ledge with a meal. And that concludes the 2018 Falcon Watch season. It has made me most happy to watch the chicks go from little white fluff balls to handsome young juveniles. Until next season!


Saturday July 7, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Sara Shwadchuck reports: Just as I arrived at 9am, a chick flew to the west side ledge of BDC. The other two chicks were resting on a west side window ledge of Stelco and I also saw a meal on the ledge. One of the chicks on the Stelco window ledge flew off the ledge and circled the building, landing on the SW corner. A parent was also perched on a SW corner of Stelco. The remaining chick on the window ledge got up, prepared his meal and ate. Minutes later, a sparrow arrived on the same ledge! The chick glanced at him and continued eating. Brave little sparrow! A chick visited the nest at 10:48 for only a minute. There was not much activity seen for the remainder of my morning shift.

Falconwatch Coordinator Chelsea Decoster reports: When I arrived for my shift at 3pm, I saw Lily on the "duck" of Homewood. 20 minutes later, after I had made a tour of downtown Hamilton to try and find the other falcons, Lily had left and I hadn't been able to see any of the other falcons. They are flying much further afield and I was unable to locate them before my shift ended.


Friday July 6, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Chelsea Decoster reports: The falcons were more active compared to yesterday morning, especially with the change in temperature. The chicks were seen chasing each other frequently and twice were displaying some talon touching. They were flying fast in between buildings and demonstrating aerial acrobatic maneuvers. A falcon was seen twice at the nest ledge. Lily was on the 'S' of Sheraton for more than two and a half hours.

Falconwatch Coordinator Sara Shwadchuck reports: Upon arriving today at 15:30, two of the chicks were on BDC building and one was on Stelco. At 16:21, one of the parents visited the nest and the other parent was on the adjacent ledge. adjacent to the nest. I watched a chick land on the top of Standard Life with what appeared to be a very small meal Either he caught it himself or it was an aerial food transfer. I have recently seen the chicks attempt hunting. A second chick joined him on the Standard Life and seemed to want to share the meal. I then saw him share a piece beak-to-beak! At times when the second chick wanted more to eat, the one with the meal would distance himself - taking the food with him! It was enjoyable to watch the three chicks flying together and dive bombing each other, later settling down on the SW roof of Sheraton and, at times, perched side-by-side. The night watch ended with a chick on Sheraton and the other two on Standard Life, where one appeared to have a meal.


Thursday July 5, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Chelsea Decoster reports: It was the hottest morning of the heatwave with a very high humidex and little activity on the part of the falcons. During the morning they were seen on their usual spots: Stelco, BDC and Sheraton. By the late morning I could not locate them on any of their favourite buildings, they seemed to have flown further from the downtown core. I did not see any feedings.

Falconwatch Coordinator Sara Shwadchuck Reports: I arrived after the rain this evening and there was a lot of activity including meals and the chicks were being quite vocal in flight! I watched two of the falcons land on the Pigott building before flying to the NW corner of BDC. A chick flew from Sheraton to Standard Life and was joined by another falcon and both flew to BDC. One chick remained there, it appeared to have been eating, and the other returned to Standard Life. A chick paid a visit to the nest at 17:09. Later a falcon from BDC approached a chick perched on the east duck of Homewood, and flew towards the nest with the chick following. A meal was dropped off and the chick took it and went to Standard Life to eat at 18:13. After a while it flew over to the David Braley Health Centre to perch, followed by another chick! It was lovely to see all three chicks on Standard Life together a short while afterwards (photo). One seemed to have a meal in his talons and it was at the nest at 19:45, the parent that was in the nest left. When I left one chick was on Standard Life and two others on Stelco.


Wednesday July 4, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Chelsea Decoster reports: Before my shift, Sara told me that she had seen falcons flying and talon touching in the Bay St. S. / Duke Street area - they are moving farther afield every day! The falcons were seen talon touching a little throughout the day in their familiar downtown territory, and were on Stelco, BDC and Homewood a lot. The hot weather limited their daytime activity.


Tuesday July 3, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Sara Shwadchuck reports: During sunset last night, I was walking 5 blocks south of the Sheraton (Duke/Bay) and noticed one of the chicks flying by, heading north behind an apartment building. Shortly after I watched a second chick flying north to south and, seconds later, I thought I saw a chick land on top of the apartment building at Duke and Queen. It then took off, flying above me! This area is a favourite flyway of the adults. There are many tall apartment buildings and pigeons. Upon arriving today at 9am, I saw a parent on the SW corner of Stelco and the chicks were on the BDC building. It seemed they might have had food on the west ledge as I saw two chicks there and lots of movement. Later in the morning I saw two falcons talon touching. Arriving back at 5pm I saw two falcons on Homewood Suites, one on the east ledge and the other on the corner. When I walked east one chick was on BDC and, seconds later, flew to Sheraton to the ledge adjacent to the nest; there was a falcon in the nest and one on the ledge. The falcons later flew east and I caught up with them at Landmark Place (5 blocks east) where I watched two of them flying and dive bombing each other, perching momentarily on top of Landmark. The watch ended with two falcons again on Homewood and a chick on Scarfone Hawkins. From what I could see it appears the parents made several visits to the nest today.


Monday July 2, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Chelsea Decoster reports: Another extremely hot day with only a little activity. When I arrived for my morning shift there was a falcon on the nest ledge. Two were chasing each other and talon touching as they have been doing for the past few days; they are quite good at it now! During my evening shift three falcons were on the nest ledge at one point (photo). When they left I saw one on the Homewood Suites building but no more activity in the heat.


Sunday July 1, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Sara Shwadchuck reports: I arrived at 9am and saw two of the chicks on Stelco, one on a SW corner and the other on a window ledge facing west. The third chick arrived minutes later and perched 3 floors down on the NW corner. A parent flew towards Stelco and approached the chick on the SW corner. The parent then flew in the direction of BDC making vocalizations. I wondered if the parent was enticing the chick to join it. Moments later, I saw the two parents flying together and they landed on top of BDC. After some time the chick on the window ledge took off and flew eventually in the direction of BDC and was then joined by another falcon and they engaged in talon touching. When I arrived again at 6pm, I did a walkabout but only came across one chick and it was in flight. I assume it was a chick as I tried my best to keep up with him! At one point, it looked as if it was going after a pigeon but then stopped. The rest of the evening was quiet. I didn't see a chick or parent, perhaps they were off exploring new buildings or new grounds.


Saturday June 30, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Chelsea Decoster reports: Today was exceptionally hot with the temperature reaching 35 deg. C in the afternoon and the added heat from buildings and vehicles! As a result, the falcons were seen chasing each other and talon touching only in the morning and evening. It was quiet the remainder of the day except for flights between buildings and lengthy rests on some of their favourite spots: Stelco, BDC and Fairclough.


Friday June 29, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Sara Shwadchuck reports: Upon arriving at 9am, I believe it was an adult on the "t" of the Sheraton logo. A chick was on the top of Standard Life and another on the "D" of BDC. Two of the chicks spent much of the morning on Stelco; one was 10 floors down on the SW corner and the other two floors below on a SW window ledge. The difference in the chicks' physical appearance was quite noticeable to me. They seem to be more of a grey colour than a brown, which means it may be a bit more challenging distinguishing them from the parents in the days ahead. The chick on BDC remained there most of the morning. I noticed that they were all shaded from the sun. It was a very hot day, so I was curious if they were feeling it too. I was crossing the intersection at Bay and King, before arriving for the evening shift, when I observed a parent and chick coming from Homewood and flying east towards a group of pigeons at Caroline and King. Both adult and chick were hunting! I did a walkabout and checked out the usual chick hotspots, but was unable to see the other chicks perched or pancaked anywhere. Later they appeared and spent much of the evening flying and making momentary stops on the tops of Fairclough and BDC. I enjoyed watching two falcons flying together and talon touching. Photo at left shows the three chicks visiting the nest ledge. You can see one of the adults watching them from the corner of Standard Life in the background.


Thursday June 28, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Chelsea Decoster reports: Today was like any other day, except for a new milestone for the chicks. At 7:56 AM an adult had food in its talons and was being chased by 2 chicks. One of the chicks was able to successfully retrieve the food during flight! This was the result of many chases between chicks and moments of talon touching in the past few days. The rest of the day went as usual, with falcons flying a lot and in between staying on their "favourite" buildings: Stelco, Homewood, BDC and Sheraton. At 7:10 PM three falcons (2 chicks and an adult) were seen very close by on Homewood. One of the chicks was eating. My day ended with a falcon flying from the nest ledge towards the SE corner of the Standard Life building, at about 8:44 PM. There, it dropped a big surprise for the pedestrians on the sidewalk!


Wednesday June 27, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Sara Shwadchuck reports: Upon arriving at 8am, I located a chick on the roof of BDC with a parent nearby on the SW corner. The chick left the BDC and I spotted the other two chicks: one on the top of Homewood and the other on top of Sheraton. The other parent was in the nest. Shortly after, I watched three falcons flying together past Sheraton. Before arriving again for my 5pm shift, I was greeted by one chick flying from the Homewood direction; he landed on top of City Hall and another chick flew from BDC and joined him. They then took off flying NE. When I started watch for the evening, one chick was on the NW corner of Stelco, 7 floors down, another chick was on the NW corner of Scarfone Hawkins and the third chick was on the SW corner of Stelco, 10 floors down. I love seeing the chicks perch in some of their parents' favourite spots: one chick was later seen on the north duck of Homewood and another on the "S" of Sheraton! The one perched on the duck was facing the wall - I wonder if he really detests the rain. I can't say with certainty, because it was a fairly foggy day, but it appeared the two chicks that were on the window ledge of Stelco in the later evening had food there. Dinner was delivered by a parent to a chick on the ledge adjacent to the nest at around 20:14. The chick finished his meal, flew to Standard Life and then took off past Fairclough. Stay dry, falcons.


Tuesday June 26, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Chelsea Decoster reports: In the morning, long before I arrived for my shift at 3 PM, volunteers spotted a meal that had been left on the far western ledge of the Sheraton. It was visited by a chick at least once in the morning, but not eaten, which is a good sign that they are well fed. At 12:50 Ossie showed up on the ledge, and over the next 20 minutes proceeded to have a nice lunch (photo at left). A member of our facebook group spotted the "snow" of plucked feathers coming down past his window in the Standard Life building, and recorded and posted a short video to the group (click the [F] button above). In the evening I saw the falcons a few times near BDC. Most of the evening, however, they were flying far and wide throughout their territory. At the end of my shift, 2 falcons were on the SW corner of the BDC building preparing and eating their food.


Monday June 25, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Sara Shwadchuck reports: Upon arriving at 8am, my day started off with a little bit of hide and go seek. I eventually spotted one parent on the SW corner of Stelco, and the falcon chicks flying around in all directions! A little bit challenging keeping up with the world's fastest bird! I was amazed at just how much older they look; one of the chicks seems to be looking more grey than chocolate brown. Finally they came to rest for a while, with Lisgar and Lawrence on the nest ledge, an adult nearby on the "S" of the Sheraton sign and Ainslie on the SW corner of Stelco. The highlight of my day was when I tuned in to the falcon cam to watch the chicks on the nest ledge and saw that Lawrence's head was resting on Lisgar's back, both pancaked and having a nap (around 10am, photo at left). Earlier I had noticed that one chick seemed to be watching something in the sky. I looked up and saw a gull had the chick's attention (9:25, should you wish to check the web archives). In the early afternoon a chick was chasing an adult in the far distance and I wondered if the adult was carrying food. Upon arriving on site again at 5pm, I found two of the chicks on the Scarfone Hawkins building and two falcons were on the new apartment building west of Homewood Suites. Before I left for the evening the two chicks had left Scarfone Hawkins and a chick was with a parent on BDC; that adult then flew to the nest ledge and the other adult was on the NW corner of Stelco.


Sunday June 24, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Chelsea Decoster reports: My shift started at 6AM this morning and I was able to locate 4 of the falcons. With the cold and very atypical June weather not much action happened during the morning. The rainy day kept the falcons still and, even during the lighter showers, they didn't seem to want to roam around. During my evening shift, I saw more activity with the showers having turned into sunshine somewhat hidden by clouds. One of the chicks chased an adult who had food, but didn't seem able to grab the food. The adult became very vocal and the chick then went in the opposite direction. As mentioned before, the chicks are doing very well, but they still need the practice and lessons which the patient adults are giving them. The adults are returning to the nest occasionally. One was on the nest ledge for at least an hour, watching and observing the surroundings and of course keeping an eye on the chicks.


Saturday June 23, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Sara Shwadchuck Reports: This rainy morning I noticed that all three brothers were having some alone time. One was located on the west side of Stelco, eight floors down, one was on the NE corner of Homewood Suites and the third chick was on the west side of Scarfone Hawkins, where he stayed put for two hours after I arrived on site! I think the rain may have been the reason for the inactivity. They did spend some time during the day on their favourite buildings: Stelco, Fairclough, BDC and Homewood. Lawrence and Ainslie were fed shortly after noon on Fairclough. A volunteer spotted the three chicks with Lily on the Sheraton just before they were fed (the photo at left captures the arrival of the third chick!). Lisgar stayed on the Sheraton with Lily until just before 2pm. Check out the "favorites" gallery for some wonderful close-ups, above. I saw one of the parents (Lily, I assume) in the nest a couple of times around 19:33 and back again around 20:17. Her protective partner, Ossie, was nearby on Standard Life. Today I enjoyed watching two of the falcon chicks circling Stelco, dive bombing each other and playing tag. As the day's watch was nearing the end, there was one chick on the NW corner of Stelco and the other two were off having an adventure somewhere, or perhaps a rest. All are doing wonderfully.


Friday June 22, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Chelsea Decoster reports: Another successful day filled with flying, mantling, chasing each other and many other activities. When I arrived for my shift, 2 chicks were being fed by an adult on the corner of the Sheraton building. Later in the morning a volunteer found two chicks on the Scarfone Hawkins building. Before yesterday they had hardly used the building this year. It is amazing to see that the chicks each find their own nooks and crannies where they stay during the day. One volunteer saw two chicks playing tug of war over some food that had been brought by Lily to the Sheraton in the early evening. Throughout the day some dive bombing occurred and lots of chasing along with talon touching and soaring in the sky. They are maturing every day and developing their skills with every flight and chase they partake in. When the watch ended all three were eating a meal on the Fairclough building.


Thursday June 21, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Sara Shwadchuck reports: Prior to my arrival an early shift volunteer was able to watch an adult and three chicks flying around Stelco and Fairclough at 6.30 am. Shortly after that, Lily prepared a meal for the chicks on the 'h' of Sheraton and then fed them. Upon my arrival, two of the chicks and an adult were on Stelco. During the morning, one of the parents seemed concerned about something and I noticed turkey vultures in the vicinity of Stelco and also a few individuals washing windows on the CIBC building. I wondered whether the window washers were a concern to the parents. Later I was lucky to watch an incident with an adult falcon take place very close to me. I was based at Jackson Square Plaza when suddenly one of the parents was coming straight towards me chasing a white pigeon. The adult touched down on the ground about 20 feet away from me but the pigeon got away! It was exciting to see something like that. I also thought I saw a chick hunting and later in the day, a volunteer said that they had also observed a chick hunting - a first for us this year. Shortly after 1.00 pm I was invited to the 23rd floor of Stelco (Hamilton Health Sciences) to observe a falcon who had been on the northwest window ledge for quite a while; an event of great interest to those who work on that floor. The moment I saw him, I had happy tears. It was Lisgar, and I was so pleased and grateful to be able to see him up close. A warm thank you to Hamilton Health Sciences on our behalf. In the late afternoon, the chicks just couldn't be found! A volunteer finally located them on the Scarfone Hawkins building. They were fed there later with an adult present. When we closed the watch for the evening, one chick was on the Standard Life building, on BDC and the third on Stelco. Happy Summer Solstice, everyone.


Wednesday June 20, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Chelsea Decoster reports: The day started out quite calmly. The chicks flew around a bit, but they all seemed to want to rest on a building. Before 9:00 AM all 5 falcons were on the BDC building. There was a little flying around in the morning, but not as much as after 3:00 PM. The falcons were then chasing each other and talon touching. Sometimes they would even bump another falcon who was on a ledge to get them to follow or chase them. All 5 of them seemed to really like being on the BDC building but Lisgar was on the north face of Stelco pancaked on a window ledge from 12:38 PM until 3:48 PM. One of the volunteers noticed how high the chicks were flying, and at one point they were up so high that they were little white dots in the clear blue sky. They are becoming very strong and their flying ability has grown a lot - so all 3 chicks are doing really well! We saw both parents in the nest ledge at one point, but they didn't stay there too long. Another successful day for the chicks.


Tuesday June 19, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Sara Shwadchuck reports: Shortly after arriving for my morning shift, I watched two of the chicks fly from Fairclough to BDC. Most of their day, however, was spent on Stelco. It was a beautiful day of watching all three chicks fly together, high above the buildings and seemingly playing a game of tag along with some talon touching. I observed one of the parents strike a turkey vulture. It seems that the chicks had a high noon siesta, and my guess is that they were pancaked out of sight on the roofs of Stelco and Fairclough which was where they were last seen. Later in the afternoon one of the chicks was perched on top of Standard Life when all of a sudden a gull came by and dive bombed him. The chick called out, and an adult, who was perched on the NW corner of Stelco, rushed to his aide and all was well. I noticed a chick make an awkward but safe landing on the side of a swing stage (aka window washing platform), located on the NE corner of Stelco. The chicks were fed at 20:10 on the SW corner of the Stelco roof. Shortly before that the parents had been seen on the top of Landmark Place, which is a bit further than their usual hotspots! Before leaving for the evening I watched back-and-forth flying activity by the chicks and they were last seen on Stelco.


Monday June 18, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Chelsea Decoster reports: Just before 6:00 am Lisgar joined Gage on the ledge for 10 minutes and left, watched by Gage. At 6:24 AM Gage made his first flight, to the next ledge on the Sheraton, and at 7:00 AM a volunteer watched him make a very shaky flight to the roof of Hamilton Place. He moved out of sight there; the volunteers had the other three chicks in view. Around 10.45 AM he was seen to come down close to King Street at Summers Lane and was fatally struck by a car. It was a very sad time for those who saw it and I would like to thank the people who got him off the road and waited for us to arrive.

After waiting out the thunderstorm with its strong winds and rain, Ainslie, Lisgar and Lawrence were all flying strongly today. At around 7:30 PM, we witnessed them talon touching, as well as playing tag. All three chicks are improving on their flying skills very well. It was amazing to see one of them trying to encourage the others to chase it. During the day the parents kept an eye on them from Stelco, BDC, Fairclough and Homewood. One of the chicks even chased an adult around for a short while! With the day having started out somber, the growth and further development of the chicks brought joy and laughter to us as it continued.


Monday June 18, 2018 - Despite the best efforts of our on-street watchers, after his first flight earlier in the day, around 10:45 Gage came down to street level, and was struck by a car and died. This was the first time we have suffered such a loss in many years, and our hearts go out to the watchers who had to experience this sad event in person.

While this event saddens us all, we would remind all our falcon watchers that these grand birds think differently than humans, and so they will not feel the same sort of loss/grief that we do. Lily and Ossie will perhaps "look around a bit" with a vague feeling that there should be another chick to feed, but will soon accept that there are only three, and continue to feed and teach Lawrence, Ainslie and Lisgar to fly and hunt. We will continue to watch, and do our best to insure that they succeed. :)


Sunday June 17, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Sara Shwadchuck reports: The early shift volunteers could not see Ainslie or Lisgar upon arrival, but could hear them. They were located on Fairclough and shortly afterwards, they took to the air flying and landing together. They were both calling for food! The adults were seen taking to the air, where they coaxed and guided Ainslie and Lisgar back to the nest where they fed them. At one point, all chicks were in the nest with one of the parents. Gage and Lawrence were observed periodically flapping their wings and helicoptering. A bald eagle was spotted in the vicinity.

Upon my arrival I and another volunteer spent time watching one of the two chicks on Stelco and the other on BDC. A favourite moment was seeing Ainslie take a long, high altitude flight. Another was watching one of the falcons make a clumsy but safe landing on top of Standard Life! Later in the day, Lisgar was on the north face of Stelco, calling to a parent who was one floor higher on the NE corner of Stelco. I assume it was Lisgar because, based on our observations, he is very vocal whereas Ainslie is quiet.

And now for my highlight of the day...I and a few volunteers had the honour of seeing Lawrence's first flight! Around 7.00 pm, Lawrence left the nest and flew beautifully to the Fairclough building. He was fed there an hour or so later after the adult had prepared the meal on the top NW corner of Stelco. Soon another chick (probably Lisgar because it was very vocal) appeared on Fairclough to be fed. The adult then flew to the nest ledge to feed Gage. At the end of the watch two of the chicks were on Stelco, Lawrence was still on Fairclough and Gage is the only one left in the nest. Keep posted for updates on Gage!


Saturday June 16, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Chelsea Decoster reports: At 5.00 AM, Lisgar was still on the Standard Life building. Ainslie was chasing one of the adults for food and attempted to take it from the adult whilst flying, which is quite amazing after only having been flying for 2 days. He wasn't able to get the food but did land successfully on the Sheraton rooftop. He was rewarded with a food drop from the other adult. Shortly before 7.00 AM, Lisgar finally left the Standard Life building, landed briefly on the Federal building and the Sheraton, and ended on the top of the Standard Life building. He took off again and tried to land on Fairclough but that attempt was unsuccessful, so he joined Ainslie on the Sheraton. He tried to take food from him, but Ainslie was mantling his meal (mantling is a behavior where falcons cover their food with their wings). These were the observations made by the volunteers before I arrived. They were busy!

Lawrence and Gage didn't leave the nest today, although Lawrence did flap a lot and both chicks were very vocal throughout the day. They also watched the other chicks closely when the latter were on Standard Life. There is a small projection on the top left corner of the Sheraton which we call the 'Iron Falcon', because, without binoculars, it can be easily be mistaken for a bird. This spot was occupied by Lisgar a lot throughout the day. Ainslie was usually close by. Ainslie was already on the Standard Life building when Lily arrived at 11.11 am with food and Lisgar flew from the Sheraton to join him for the meal. At 11:32 AM, both chicks were pancaked on the South-East corner of the Standard Life building. It was amazing to see how these two chicks stayed close to each other. Throughout the remainder of the day not much happened; they were back on the Sheraton rooftop with Lisgar often on the Iron Falcon and very vocal. At around 8.00 PM, both chicks flew a little between buildings. Ainslie stayed close to Lily, and prefers the window sills of the Stelco building to the corners used by Lily and Ossie. Lisgar flew from Stelco to Fairclough to Sheraton and back to Stelco and Fairclough. They are both doing a great job! Hopefully the other chicks will join them soon.


Friday June 15, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Sara Shwadchuck reports: Wow, what a day it has been. Prior to my arrival, a volunteer observed Ainslie abandon the Standard Life building at 8.30 am and fly initially west before circling back to land on the 18th floor of Stelco on the north face. Well done, Ainslie! Lisgar remained on Standard Life and Lawrence and Gage are still in the nest although they were seen to be eyeing the Standard Life building several times during the day! Later in the day Ainslie took off from Stelco, flew south and then north; I found him on the south face of Stelco, on top of the grate. He made several short flights, positioning himself on different locations of the grate. Lisgar moved slightly west to different places on the ledge but was still there at the end of the watch. I assume it was Ossie who flew in to check in on him later in the day and both birds were calling to each other. About 20 minutes after he left Lily appeared on top of the Standard Life building with a meal. She was trying to entice Lisgar off the ledge, moving to several different locations in the hope that he would leave the ledge. She eventually flew to the ledge with food and then to the NE corner of the building. It seems that either she could not successfully perch or it was a flyby, hoping he would join her in flight.

Ossie and Lily are such great parents. It's not unusual to have a chick glue themselves to one spot like this in the days immediately after their first flight(s). He's moving about on the ledge, so he's not in any trouble that we can see. Sooner or later, hunger, and the adults offering food, will spur Lisgar into flight again! So stay tuned for an update. Ainslie remains on Stelco, and both Lawrence and Gage have yet to take to the air. They were seen flapping periodically, so any day now, they will leave the nest. On a side note, it warms my heart to meet so many individuals in our community who care about the falcons. It's lovely to be asked how they are doing. Thanks everyone!


Thursday June 14, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Chelsea Decoster reports: What an exciting day it was today! Two chicks, Ainslie and Lisgar, flew for the first time this morning. After many days of anticipation, the big day arrived. Ainslie left the nest ledge at 5.22 and was followed ten minutes later by Lisgar. Both flew to the top of the nearby Standard Life building. During my shift, in the mid-morning,we were able to locate Ainslie on the north side of the building on the very narrow 8th floor window sill. Not much later, his brother, Lisgar, after exploring the top of the mechanical area, flew very well between the Sheraton and Standard Life building and joined him on the ledge. The two spent the rest of the day on the same window ledge with Lisgar comfortably tucked into the east corner and they were still there when the watch ended for the day. Lily flew by a few times to check up on them, landing once beside Ainslie as if trying to help him to leave his uncomfortable perch. At one point during the day, a pigeon landed beside Ainslie on the window sill, caught the chick's attention, and then decided to fly and land in between the two brothers. The pigeon was watched by both falcons and seemed to be teasing them but soon left. It was quite a sight. Gage and Lawrence were a little less active than their fellow brothers, but some flapping did occur. At 5:39 they were both on the west end of the ledge looking towards the Standard Life building, where their brothers had landed, and were heard calling out occasionally. They will, hopefully, soon follow their brother’s footsteps, I mean flights. The photo here is of Gage and Lawrence being fed at 18:09. It is most likely that Ainslie and Lisgar will not be fed on the narrow ledge of the building, and so Lily will use some food to entice them to fly to a more suitable location for feeding. We'll keep you posted on the many adventures of the chicks.

Webmaster's note: While our webcam cannot see where Ainslie and Lisgar landed, one of the members of our facebook group captured photos and video of Lisgar from his office window. Click the "F" logo above to visit the group and view the photos.


Wednesday June 13, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Sara Shwadchuck reports: Before I arrived, the early 5AM volunteers watched as a meal was tossed into the nest with no preparation! On my arrival one parent was on the NW corner of BDC and one chick was visible on the ledge. When the sun started peeking through the clouds, the four chicks made an appearance on the edge. The late morning was quiet with chicks sitting on the ledge but It became quite an active afternoon with chicks running along the ledge and flapping. I had a "this is it" moment when I observed Lily fly off the nest ledge and it looked as though the one chick was about to follow! Alas, he did not. The parents(s) frequented the nest often, and it seems the chicks were especially well fed today. The highlight of my day was when one of the adults flew close by the nest with a meal. A moment went by and the adult flew close by again. As I observed on my last shift, later in the day one of the parents also flew close to and around the nest ledge several times without food. These flybys are likely an attempt to entice the chicks into flying. I felt nervous for the young falcons when the lightning started, but all was well. Before I headed home for the evening, one parent was seen on the eastside of Homewood, perched on the duck logo and the other parent was on the Standard Life building. One chick was visible on the ledge and working those wings. No first flights today, but stand by!


Tuesday June 12, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Chelsea Decoster reports: I started my day off with high expectations of a chick fledging. Before my shift, the chicks had been flapping both on the ledge and in the nest. At around 10:30, Ainslie was helicoptering (a term we use to describe brief hops into the air while flapping) a short distance on the ledge - the first that I had seen. The parents later came to the nest with food a couple of times and on one occasion left it in the nest for the chicks to deal with themselves - again a first for me. One of the chicks spent a long time at that meal. In late afternoon and early evening they were all on the ledge with occasional flapping and were often on the outer edge of the ledge so we had a good view of them. Shortly before the end of the watch, around 8.30 PM, one of the adults brought in a meal. The chicks started flapping again, but as time went on their enthusiasm went down as did their food. Although they were quiet during the middle part of the day they are definitely much more active with all four frequently on the ledge at the same time. My favourite moment of the day was at around 10:45 AM, when the chicks were huddled in a group on the ledge and one seemed to be mantling the group. It seemed as if they were planning a big plot twist!


Monday June 11, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Sara Shwadchuck reports: This morning, I arrived right when the chicks were having their breakfast. I assume that it was Lily on the ledge feeding the chicks and Ossie on the SW corner of Stelco. Although there were no issues with gulls today, I did see Ossie leave Stelco flying quickly west and attacking a turkey vulture who was in the territory! Otherwise it was a fairly inactive morning as the chicks were napping more than they were testing their wings. Early in the afternoon there was some energetic flapping and running along the ledge by the older chicks. Later in the day, I witnessed some helicoptering. There were also a couple of times in the late afternoon when the team was on high alert to a possible first flight. The chicks were flapping their wings and one was seen on the edge of the ledge, facing south and flapping hard. Ossie was seen spending much of the early afternoon on the Sheraton logo watching the nest ledge and he also spent some time in the nest with the chicks. Both adults took advantage of good thermals today and were in the air over the Sheraton and neighbouring buildings several times. Dinner was served at around 19:50. When the watch ended for the day, one parent was on the NE corner of the BDC building and all four chicks were on the ledge. At least one chick will take to the air before too long, so stay tuned!


Sunday June 10, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Chelsea Decoster reports: Before my shift started (at 09:00), the chicks were fed twice with an hour between each feeding. A few hours later, one of the adults flew after a turkey vulture, which was my first portion of fun for the day. There appeared to be no feeding during the mid part of the day. As usual, there was almost always one adult watching the nest from one of their favourite spots: Stelco Tower. Later on in the day, however, one of the adults was seen on the northern letter "H" of "Homewood" . Lily prepared food for the chicks later on the 'H'. Usually, they like to sit on the "duck" facing east. During the day it was quiet but with some serious flapping and running on the ledge after 17:30. Near the end of the day, between 17:00 and 20:00, the chicks were fed 4 times! My favourite moment of the day was seeing Ossie and Lily on the Standard Life building close together. Even though it was short, it was a sweet moment. As my shift came to an end, one of the adults was observing the surroundings from the Standard Life building. The chicks became quiet again as the sun coloured the sky, indicating another successful day.


Saturday June 9, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Sara Shwadchuck reports: On arrival this morning I was told that the chicks had been reluctant to eat their early morning breakfast. Apparently the parent had been quite insistent that they eat! At 9:00 both parents were on the NW corner of Stelco and one chick was visible on the ledge. Around 11:35 one of the older chicks was flapping his wings and hunching/lunging forward along the ledge. A couple of hours later he was seen peering over the ledge edge. Just after 14:00 a quiet morning changed into a pre-lunch workout with three of the chicks busy doing strengthening exercises with their wings i.e. lots of flapping. One was then seen laying a wing over the edge. After the feeding, both parents were observed on Stelco and all was quiet again. Dinner was served at 18:19.

Later in the evening, I witnessed a group of gulls bullying one of the adults! The falcon was perched on the Standard Life building and I watched as it was dive bombed by the gulls. One after another, the gulls swooped low and near and they certainly had the falcon's full attention! It flew off towards Stelco for shelter, chased by a gull. The gull gave up after the adult perched on the SW corner of Stelco. My bet would be on the falcon, you are very lucky gulls! When the watch closed one adult was on the BDC building and the other on Stelco. All four chicks were visible on the ledge.


Friday June 8, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Chelsea Decoster reports: Today was a relatively quiet day. The chicks gave the volunteer TD group from Toronto some excitement with their very active flapping. We are very grateful that the TD group came to help out today. When I arrived at the base at 9.00 am, one of the adults was feeding the chicks. Afterwards, the adult flew between different letters of the Sheraton logo, finally deciding to stay on the 'O' for over 2 hours. It is a great place to keep watch over the chicks and the surrounding environment. After the TD group left, the chicks seemed to have been drained of their energy, and decided to limit their activity for a while. The adults partook in their daily routines: feeding and keeping watch. Lily spent an hour in the nest in mid-afternoon. The chicks showed some signs of flapping throughout the remainder of the afternoon and evening but overalll remained quite quiet.


Thursday June 7, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Sara Shwadchuck reports: Upon arriving on site, I read that Lily had brought food to the ledge, shown it to the chicks and then took it elsewhere to prepare it. She was back shortly to feed them. I located both parents on the SW corner of Stelco, and Lisgar was seen on the ledge. Lisgar looks so much more adult! He spent some time today running along the edge and flapping his wings, getting them ready for flight. Around 10:30, I had a hard time locating one of the parents. The other was on the NW corner of Stelco. Lunch was served later than on Monday, around 13.40 with a second meal an hour later! At 16:00, I watched one of the parents flying from the nest to Homewood then to the adjacent ledge and on to Stelco, all within seconds! Take note of those skills, falcon chicks. At 19:15, one of the parents landed on the "r" of the Sheraton with food. The other parent then landed on the "r," took the food, prepared and served it. Nice teamwork, Lily and Ossie. Before saying goodnight to the falcon family, I saw all four chicks still hanging out on the ledge. They look so different from one another. The parents are now spending a lot of time observing the nest from Stelco.


Wednsday June 6, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Chelsea Decoster reports: Today was a very quiet day for the chicks. They were under the watchful eyes of their parents, who perched on various surrounding buildings to get different angles and views of the nest. Stelco and "the duck" (Homewood Suites logo) were the preferred spots to stand guard. The parents came by a few times throughout the day to feed the chicks. We saw flapping both inside the nest and on the ledge. Lisgar and Ainslie were amusing to watch when one of them was pancaked (stretched out) on the ledge and the other one tried to persuade him to get back up. That occurred just before 4.45 pm and was followed by a meal. Near the end of the day a first occurred for me - I saw all 4 chicks on the ledge! Lisgar and Ainslie were at either end of the tight bunch with Lawrence and Gage between them. The bedtime snack was provided at 8.30 pm.


Tuesday June 5, 2018 - Falconwatch Coordinator Sara Shwadchuck reports: Upon arriving for my very first day as Coordinator, I saw one of the parents flying towards the Sheraton Hotel and landing on the "e" of the sign. I saw the other parent, shortly after, flying towards the Homewood Suites and landing on the east-facing duck logo. They seem to really love that spot and soon both were on the duck. It appeared that another adult peregrine came into their territory around 09:30 and one of the parents quickly responded and flew to defend. It was quite the sight to see the confrontation! The parent then sat proudly on the Stelco Tower.

Today there were several meals brought to the chicks. Lisgar spent most of his day on the ledge, dreaming of flying and was seen being fed closer to noon. Lawrence then joined his brother on the ledge, soaking up the heat of the sun as I was trying to do as well. At 15:40, my heart started to race as I noticed Lisgar was engaging in so much flapping activity! Though I know that it is probably too soon for him to take flight, it still made my heart skip a beat. Ainslie popped up beside his brother for a short time around 16:30 (photo). Dinnertime was at 17:32! At 18:10 Lily made a one minute trip south on Bay and returned with her supper, which she enjoyed on the very top of Standard Life! At 18:50, a parent came in with a meal to the adjacent ledge and the other parent came over to prepare it. It seems as if the food may be being saved for later, unless the one parent is a quick eater! The chicks' bedtime snack was brought to the ledge around 20:30. Goodnight falcons.



Tuesday, June 5, 2018 1200 Chelsea Decosters main activity and area of study is related to horses. She volunteered from 2015-2017 at The Equestrian Association for the Disabled (TEAD), where she assisted children with disabilities in therapeutic activities. She also helped for two years at a summer camp for children and was a Sunday school teacher for a year. Chelsea graduated from the International Baccalaureate program at Westdale and is now at the University of Guelph. Her program is Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management in Equine Management.


Tuesday, June 5, 2018 1200 Sara Shwadchuck has extensive has volunteer experience working with animals alongside volunteers. She has taken part in the Dundas Turtle Watch, the Toronto Wildlife Centre squirrel nursery, and with the Grupo Ecologico de la Costa Verde in Mexico where she patrolled the beach monitoring San Pancho Turtles, protecting their eggs from poachers and relocating eggs to a turtle hatchery. Sara also gained bird experience at Hamiltons Friends of the Aviary, where she helped care for the exotic birds.

Both Chelsea and Sara are looking forward to working with the Falcons and the Falconwatchers.


Monday, June 4, 2018 0600 At 0552 today Ainsllie (yellow tape) discovered his wings and, as can be seen in the image at left, was busily experimenting with them. Never mind that one or two of his brothers got bopped on their heads. This is what becoming a Peregrine is all about. Very soon each of the other chicks will start flapping too. One of the things we look for is what we call helicoptering when flapping results in a chick rising an inch or two off the surface of the ledge. Once that happens, the next stage is actual flight. Stay tuned!


Saturday, June 2, 2018 What young Peregrines do best is grow! The image at left, taken at 05:50 this morning, shows how much Lisgar has developed since he was just a white ball of fluff on Banding Day. His face and flight feathers are turning brown and a bit of an immature Peregrines golden colour is showing on his cheek.

How do we know this is Lisgar? The tape on his left leg gives it away. At banding each chick had a piece of coloured tape applied above its metal ID band. Ainslie's coloured tape is yellow, Gages is white, Lisgar got blue, and Lawrences is red. (Thanks to an observant Falconwatcher for catchng a previous mistake in Lawrence's band colour.) The tapes were added to help Falconwatch Volunteers identify the chicks as they get more active and then start to fly.

Starting early this coming Tuesday, June 5, Falconwatchs Coordinators and Volunteers will be keeping a close eye on the chicks from our base on the King Street side of McMasters David Braley Heath Centre. Volunteers are still needed. If you would like to help, contact us at [ falcons@hamiltonnature.org ]. Stay tuned. Here we go again!!!


Thursday, May 24, 2018, 21:00 Todays banding of our Peregrine chicks went very well. Now retired Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Biologist Anne Yagi and Mark Nash of the Canadian Peregrine Foundation conducted the banding. CPF Volunteer John Millar helped his partner, volunteer climber Chris Phinney, descend to the nest ledge from the Sheraton roof. Chris gathered up the chicks one by one and placed them in our special four-compartment carrier bag, as seen in the image at left. The bag was then lifted to the roof and carried into the Sheratons 17th floor breakfast room. All four major media outlets - CBC Hamilton, CHCH TV, CHML Radio and the Hamilton Spectator - were on hand to record the event. The General Manager of the Sheraton and some of his staff were also present.

In keeping with our practice of giving our birds names with an historical link to Hamilton or to Falconwatch itself, this years youngsters - all four of them weighed in as males - were named after Hamilton parks: Ainslie Park in the west end, Gage Park in the east-central area, (Sam) Lawrence park on the central escarpment and Lisgar Park on the east mountain. Ainslie weighed in at 570 grams, Gage at 525 grams, Lawrence at 535 grams and Lisgar at 575 grams. The chicks were feisty and vocal while receiving their aluminum number bands and plastic alpha-numeric bands.

While Chris was on the nest ledge Lily perched on the adjacent ledge, keeping him company, with Ossie occasionally flying by to see how things were going. Two minutes after Chris returned to the roof and the now empty carrying bag was lifted up, Lily was back on the nest ledge. A few minutes later the camera captured the image at left, showing two of the now banded chicks exploring the ledge and Lily looking up to see if the climber was really gone.

Believe it or not, for Falconwatchers the easy part is over. In the next two weeks the chicks will be discovering their wings, then practicing using them. After that comes the hard part keeping an eye on the chicks while they turn practice into reality and start to fly. Stay tuned!!!


Thursday, May 24, 2018, 06:00 - Around 11:00 TODAY the chicks are going to get a visitor and go for a little trip. About an hour later, after being weighed, gendered, banded and named, they will be returned to the nest ledge. During alll this Lily and Ossie will make their displeasure known, and both will be right there to check on the little ones as soon as the climber clears the nest ledge after their return trip. It may be necessary to turn one of the cameras away for a while to allow the climber to get back to the lower Sheraton roof, but the second camera will be watching throughout the operation. We will update the webpage with the youngster's names and details as soon as possible. If you are downtown you can watch all the action from the sidewalk on King Street opposite the Sheraton.


Saturday, May 19, 2018 Helicopters passing by in the distance are a regular event at the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel, but a helicopter circling low right overhead the former Stelco building on the afternoon of May 16 was definitely new to the city and to the Peregrines. In the image at left Lily can be seen looking up at the interloper, but the chicks werent paying much attention. Stopping the exercise really wasnt necessary, but we sincerely thank the Canadian Armed Forces for their concern that the Peregrines would be bothered by the noise and activity. The chicks also benefited from the close attention of all four major media outlets in town - CBC Hamilton, CHCH TV, CHML Radio and the Hamilton Spectator.

Lily spends most of her time in the nest ledge, and Ossie is usually close by. As can be seen on the web camera, due to many regular feedings the chicks are growing very quickly. They will soon be the right size for banding, which is currently scheduled for the morning of May 24. On that day we will let you know ahead of time what is going to happen. Stay tuned! Here we grow some more!!!

FOUR ON THE FLOOR (....er, ledge)!

Sunday, May 6, 2018 - We now have FOUR healthy chicks begging Lily for food, and even arguing over it (second photo)! It's going to be a mad season for Falcon Watchers with this many chicks in the sky at once! So if you ever considered volunteering for the on-street watch, this would be a good year for it. Please click the VOLUNTEER button above.


Friday, May 4, 2018 - Just after 6am this morning, while Lily was feeding the chick, a SECOND little white head popped into the picture!!!! In the words of a long-time Falconwatcher, "Here we go again!" We will be keeping a close eye on the nest for the next few days, watching for signs of additional hatchings.


Thursday, May 3, 2018 - Shortly after 7pm tonight, falcon watchers caught sight of Lily bringing food to the nest, and tearing it apart. As she did so, a tiny white, fluffy head peeked out from behind the edge of the nest ledge, and we were treated to the sight of the first chick of the 2018 season getting its first meal. Judging by Lily's head motion, she was only feeding the one chick. So this is the only one hatched so far. We will be keeping a close eye on the nest for the next few days, watching for signs of more hatchings.


In a series of pictures taken at 9:36 on April 19 (see Favorite Photos) our new camera captured the image at left, the first visual confirmation of an egg for the 2018 season. Lily seems to have weathered last week's ice storm very well and spends almost all of her time incubating. She and Ossie do take turns, but the "shift changes" are very quick and hard to capture. We think there is more than one egg but so far only one has been seen. Stay tuned!


Incubation for the (Hamilton) Nation!! Since March 22 or so one of the adult Peregrines has been in the east corner of the nest ledge almost every minute, and occasionally on-line Falconwatchers have seen one replace the other. While these are almost sure signs of incubation, there is a very specific movement that we look for every year, and on Easter Sunday Webmaster Charles spotted it. On our Facebook page (see FB link at upper right) he wrote, Using the 'stream' video in test mode I saw the very distinctive 'wiggle' of Lily settling down over something. So even though there is nothing visible, I think it is fairly safe to say that brooding has begun! The adult currently brooding can be seen in the Camera 1 image at left. Stay tuned!


Friday, March 23, 2018 - Click the image at left, to view it full size, and you will see that Lily is sitting on the far left corner of the Standard Life Centre. It would appear that it is becoming a favorite perch for her, which is why we'll keep Camera #1 positioned the way it is until we see signs of eggs. Of course, that is Ossie sitting on the second ledge of the Sheraton. You can tell it is him by the pure slate blue cap on his head. Lily's cap has a dusting of white.


Thursday, March 8, 2018 - Yesterday was a loooong day for Charles, Mike and Hamilton Video and Sound's Jack Vogan and Josh Boyd. Installation of the new camera seemed to go fairly well, but a bad connection interfering with camera signal transmission and new software that took time to set up kept them all at the Sheraton until after 5PM, with the final setup completed after dinner by Charles. Ossie perched on the ledge during the outside work, and Lily flew by a couple of times.

You can see the results at left. Our new High Definition camera is up and running, and Ossie has already visited the nest ledge this morning. Pictures of the installation will follow.


Falconwatch's 2018 Season is geting underway. Stay tuned!


Tuesday, March 6, 2018 - Tomorrow, if the weather is not dreadful, we will be installing a new webcam, purchased with grant funds from the TD Friends of the Enviornment Foundation, and installed with the generous assistance of Hamilton Video Sound. We have been hearing reports of Lily and Ossie being seen throughout the winter. We look forward to capturing fresh images of the birds.


Hamilton's resident adult pair, Lily and Ossie, are celebrating the third anniversary of their arrival in Hamilton, and will begin their fourth 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 2017, the pair produced several eggs, but sadly, none hatched. There was no evident reason for this failure, as temperatures were not particularly low during brooding. We will have to watch and see how things proceed this year.

Many birds 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-fourth year the same nest site on the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel has been used.

In November 2017 Falconwatch received a grant from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. This grant has funded the replacement of our aging (and failing) camera equipment, as well as purchase of a new computer for public presentatons. This money will also help cover various costs related to veterinary services, bird rescue training, and Peregrine expert assistance.

A replica of the grant cheque was presented at the TD Canada Trust branch in Jackson Square, on 15 November 2017, to Falconwatch Senior Monitor Mike Street (right) by Maria Delio, Manager, Customer Service & Sales, and Natanael Paipa, Manager Financial Services, at the branch.

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.

DONATIONS WELCOME - If you have not already made a donation to Falconwatch, it is never too late to do so. The Coordinators' daily reports, the camera images, on-street Falconwatch equipment and display window electronics are all made possible by YOUR contributions. Falconwatch does not cost a lot, but grants do not cover all our expenses, and there are bills to be paid. Please click on the yellow 'DONATE button above to learn more about how the money is used and how to make a tax creditable donation by cheque or on-line. We and the birds Thank You!

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