Hamilton Falconwatch News

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Thursday, December 3, 2020 - A report was just received indicating that, back on June 26, Griffin was seen, alive and well, flying/jumping along a cliff near Lake Ontario. This was a couple of days after we noticed he had disappeared from downtown Hamilton. We had been concerned that he might have been injured by a collision with a building several days before, even though he flew strongly after the incident. But now we know that he was just fine, and simply chose that time to head out on his own. Maybe he got tired of bumping into buildings? LOL

Our thanks to Brian and the CPF for bringing this report to our attention. Such great news!


Monday, June 29, 2020 - [edited to reflect the above update] Falcon Watch Lead Monitor Pat Baker reports: As we would discover later, it appears Griffin decided to leave the downtown territory earlier than any Hamilton chick has before. Whitehern is still with us. Another amazing Hamilton success story. Powerful, agile flier, keeping up with her parents and regularly talon touching. Well on her way to learning all the skills needed to hunt in the wild. And she better be good at it, because she certainly does eat a lot!

Falconwatcher Dria saw Whitehern near the Scarfone Building (on James St.) whilst on her bus to work. Nathan saw her on BDC north roof around 7:43am, I saw her take off from BDC around 7:47am and then she was on the lower roof edge of the Sheraton eating for about 20 minutes. It looked as if she had brought the meal with her. Lily came with food to the center ledge under the Sheraton sign at 8:13am and proceeded to eat. At 8:17am Whitehern joined her. It looks like Whitehern may have tried to take the meal from Lily, but Lily refused (left photo). Whitehern moved to the end of the ledge and watched as Lily continued eating - being very vocal. A few minutes later, Whitehern returned, and this time Lily shared her meal, feeding Whitehern occasionally over the next half hour (right photo). 8:45am Lily flew to Stelco, Whitehern still eating, Ossie was seen on the south-west corner of BDC.

Whitehern remained on the center ledge for the next hour and a half, walking around and pancaking in the corner. The rest of the day was spent in very high places, mostly out of sight. We had eyes on all three falcons up on BDC around 1am when Nathan wrapped up his final shift as coordinator, and Chelsea arrived for her last shift. Whitehern is one VERY vocal chick, usually heard before being seen. As the afternoon wore on it became obvious that with the heat there was going to be no more flying excitement today, so, it being the last day of the watch, we decided to pack it up early, and leave our falcons to find what shade they could, and we did the same.

This turns out to have been a good call, as Whitehern did not appear on camera again until after 9pm. As usual, she chased away Lily, who had been sitting on the nest ledge for more than an hour before.

Falconwatch would like to express its gratitude to Nathan, Chelsea and Sara, who all performed their coordinator duties with exceptional diligence and enthusiasm. With so few people to help them, it meant a lot more running around this year, chasing falcons around tall buildings, trying to keep them in view. We would also like to thank the volunteers who came out to relieve them when they took their lunch breaks, and everyone who helped look for Griffin.

We would also like to say a special thank you to all the administration staff and security teams at the many downtown buildings who offered us wonderful cooperation and assistance during this watch, allowing us access to otherwise-closed buildings. In particular, the amazing people at Yale Properties (Jackson Square), everyone at the McMaster University David Braley Center, where we had our base of operations, and of course, our wonderful hosts at the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel. Given the extraordinary circumstances of trying to conduct a watch during a pandemic lockdown, you were all superb. THANK YOU.

Our webmaster has digitized the complete series of banding videos from 2002 to 2018, and uploaded them to the Gallery Section. These videos were previously only viewable by attending our orientation meetings. Now they are availalble here for all to enjoy. Just click the Gallery button above.


Sunday, June 28, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinator Sara reports: The day was warm and sunny. When I arrived, Whitehern was on a window ledge of the Sheraton, which I thought to be quite a tight spot! I dedicated the morning to trying to locate Griffin. I headed onto the Jackson Square roof to view buildings in the north. I headed north to Sir John A Macdonald to view buildings in the west. A volunteer observed Lily bring a meal to Homewood at 9:27am, and Whitehern prepared it herself. At 12:20pm, Whitehern, Ossie and Lily were seen flying together at quite a high altitude. I observed talon touching between them. It then remained fairly quiet for hours, with no falcons seen.

Whitehern has been adventuring outside of familiar territory. She was seen again on Stelco Tower around 4:30pm. Whitehern eventually left Stelco at 6:50pm and was seen on the Standard Life building. She left Standard Life and flew to a window ledge of Homewood. I saw her looking inside the window and it looked as though something had her attention. She reminded me of Lisgar and how often he was seen facing windows. She left Homewood and flew in a circle, coming back to Homewood and attempted a landing. It looked like she second guessed herself and her landing at the last moment, as she then headed to Standard Life.

At 8:24pm, Lily brought a meal to the second ledge west of the nest. Whitehern again, prepared the meal herself. I had observed her experiencing much more independence (with the parents not so close by as previously before). Lily lands at the nest, and for a moment Whitehern mantles her food, even though Lily is two ledges away (left photo). Lily perched there about 15 minutes, watching Whitehern. It seems Whitehern still hasn't picked up on the idea of first completely dressing a meal, as she was pulling feathers and eating at the same time. Mom is still wanting to make sure she does the job right. She flew in once to check up on Whitehern and was chased off instantly. She came back a minute later, the flapping of her wings sending up a large cloud of feathers (right photo). This time Whitehern tolerated her presence, and she stayed for a couple of minutes.

This will be my last watch of the season, and as always, it has been a pleasure to falcon watch.

Webmaster's note: After Sara departed for the evening, I observed an interesting behavior from Whitehern. As she picked at the remnants of her meal, she picked up a piece in her claws and helicoptered and shook it quite vigorously. She did this several times, clearly expressing frustration or disappointment with the food (left photos). Perhaps wanting it to be more? She then walked away along the ledge. When she did this, Lily came in and landed, and Whitehern once again ran back and chased her off immediately. About two minutes later, Whitehern flew over to the nest ledge, and then Lily landed back at that food and proceeded to pick at it. Perhaps trying to show the chick how to do it properly. Whitehern stayed on the nest ledge, allowing me to capture some close-up photos (more in the Favorites, above). Lily joined her, and they both stayed on the ledge for about an hour before disappearing into the night.


Saturday, June 27, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Chelsea and Nathan report: The first hour of the morning started off very quiet due to the rain. At 5:54 am, Whitehern was seen flying around BDC before landing on the west side. Twenty minutes later, takes off, heading east. Another 15 minutes later, one of the adults flew to the NE corner of Homewood Suites, suddenly, Whitehern came flying from the roof of the David Braley and chased the adult away, leaving behind the prey which Whitehern ate. At 6:45 am, Lily flew near Whitehern and landed on the "H" of the Homewood sign on the north side. She had a prey with her and was dressing it. Whitehern had seen Lily fly by and had also seen the food she was preparing, so she became very vocal (for about 20 minutes) and walked along the ledge to try and get closer to Lily, even though the adult was a level higher than the chick.

Whitehern flew around the downtown area for a bit before landing on the David Braley Centre, at which she stayed for about an hour, and was delivered a meal by Ossie. For the remainder of the morning, she was flying between the Homewood Suites, Standard Life, and David Braley. At 11:34, a chick was seen on the Federal building. Forty minutes later she was on the 'Iron Falcon' on the Sheraton. At 12:44 there was another feeding, for which there was a talon touching food exchange mid-air. She flew around to Homewood Suites and Standard Life again.

Around 2:30, we saw a falcon, possibly Whitehern, way up soaring on thermal currents, high above south central downtown area. At 3:01 pm, both adults are on bdc. Chick lands on Stelco, flies off to bdc, back towards Homewood, lands on a window ledge a couple of floors down from the top. There was prey left there, chick picks it up and drops it, prey falls to street. Now the chick flies around the south side of Homewood, over the top, circling flight over David Braley parking area. Talon touching with adult and very vocal, flew off to bdc and lands on north side roof ledge. Three falcons now on BDC. Griffin's absence is really noticeable now.

3:48 pm Adult and chick calling, flew from BDC. Whitehern making flight around and above the building multiple times. 3:53 pm, the chick is viewed flying south then southwest direction. 4:43 pm, adult landed on Sheraton nest ledge, stayed 2 mins, then flew southwest over Homewood and off towards escarpment. 4:50 pm, falcon seen flying past BDC going south. 5:12 pm, falcon appeared soaring over Stelco then flew in a south direction towards BDC, drifting heading west over Braley and Homewood, before being lost to sight. Appeared to be Whitehern.

5:46 pm, adult with a meal, eating on Homewood, northeast corner 2nd set of ledges under window. 5:53 pm, the chick was seen making circling flights west side of BDC, around building and lands on the southeast corner. 5:55 another falcon flew towards BDC, flew around east side of the building and went out of sight. 7:24 pm, chick is making circling flight around BDC. Moments later seen circling Stelco and calling. 7:40 pm, adult is in the nest, Lily, I think. I did not see Ossie at all this 2nd shift, only when he was on BDC for a short stay. Whitehern seemed as though she was content flying off for lengthy periods of time. She was not hanging around, or very hard to spot her. No sight of the chick, even when I was packing up and leaving.


Friday, June 26, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea report: Chick is first seen on Homewood, then from 6:25 am until around 7 am is observed on Stelco, eating a meal. She could be heard calling. 8:15 am, falcon lands on BDC. Ossie is on Stelco. A lengthy time was spent hanging out at BDC, little movement, no action. Around 11 am the chick flew from BDC, east, came back landed on the southwest corner roof ledge. Another short flight at 11:09, again returning to BDC. 11:13 am, both adults are on east facing duck of Homewood. Chick flies west, out from BDC, north above Fairclough, then west over our location in the David Braley, parking area. Makes a landing on Regency, cantilevered section, east side. 11:42 am, chick makes another flight around south side of Regency, circles back and lands on a different spot.

By 12 pm, there is an adult in the nest, another on Homewood. Chick still on BDC. 12:20 pm, all three falcons have flown off. 12:32 pm, 1 adult and 1 chick seen flying, circling above Standard Life, Sheraton, Braley parking area, Fairclough, Stelco, going east, high. They then head north, very high, and soon all three are lost to sight! 12:38 pm, 2 falcons are seen flying west over Marquee, heading west and still going upwards. 12:41pm, an adult lands at the nest closely followed by Whitehern. The adult takes off to Homewood and the chick sticks around the nest for a minute, then flies off.

Around 1:15 PM, Whitehern flew from BDC and was heading north. She didn't stay there long and flew again, circling over David Braley. Fifteen minutes later, she was flying with an adult heading west. She landed, very vocally, on the NE corner of the Homewood Suites and stayed there for about an hour and a half. At 3:05 PM, Whitehern was flying over the downtown area, then flew near the NE corner of BDC, where an adult was sitting. She ended up flying around the BDC, briefly landing on the roof, before taking off and heading east. We didn't see her until 7:10 PM, when she flew west towards the Homewood Suites, landing on the roof. She only stayed there for about 10 minutes, before Ossie and Whitehern flew around BDC, briefly landing on the BDC again. She flew around some more, and at 7:50 PM, she was chasing Lily around downtown, before landing on the NW corner of the BDC and remaining there for the rest of the shift.


Thursday, June 25, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea report: Lots of flights early this morning. A chick is seen flying first to Homewood then to the Sheraton. Around 6:34 am, an adult flies from BDC, with chick in pursuit. They land on Sheraton middle ledge (photo). The adult took off and flew back to BDC. 6:39 am, chick on ledge was joined by an adult, both flew towards Homewood and then over to northeast corner of BDC, chasing around. 6:41 am, adult lands on the nest ledge and is instantly chased off by a chick landing. Adult flew to Homewood. The falcon on BDC didn't move. 6:44 am, chick flies to Standard Life, then five minutes later flies behind the building.

6:51 am, falcon from BDC flew around with prey, joined by chick - calling - aggressively pursuing, flew behind the Braley Centre. 6:55 am, both adults are on Homewood. A chick, calling, landed on the observation deck northeast side, walking along to other side. 6:59 am, Ossie flew to BDC. 7:00 am, chick bumped into a window on Standard Life, then flew to a ledge on the Sherarton, then flew east. An adult took off from Homewood, following. 7:06 am, all falcons out of sight. 7:10 am, a falcon is spotted on BDC. 7:19 am, chick lands on west ledge of Sheraton, then flies across to Standard Life.

7:31 am, chick flew to southwest corner of Standard Life. 7:53 am, falcon is gone from BDC. 8:19 am, falcon back on BDC window ledge southwest corner. 8:25 am, chick flies to southeast lower roof of Sheraton. 8:29 am, flew from corner to nest ledge (photo). 8:35 am, flew back to southeast roof. 8:36 am, adults lands on nest ledge. The other is still on BDC. Chick flew, calling, went behind Sheraton. 8:38 am, circled and landed beside the iron falcon, Lily still in nest. 8:42 am, chick flew around Sheraton ,around Stelco Tower, lands on upper grating, northwest corner.

9:31 am, chick left Stelco, flying over David Braley, riding the thermals, up over Standard Life, heading west behind Marquee. Lily moves to center ledge. 9:32 am, appears that chick is following two other larger birds, twice her size, thought to be juvenile bald eagles or osprey. While using the thermals, chick was observed playfully interacting with the pair, no aggression whatsoever! Amazing to watch. It was very exciting to see this happening and I'm sure that the other monitors noticed my enthusiasm.

9:40 am, the chick was still interacting with the larger birds way up in the air, west. Lily flew from Sheraton around SL and back to land on west ledge, lost sight of chick, way up into thermals. 9:44 am Lily flying west behind Marquee. 9:46 am, falcon came from north behind Standard Lufe, and landed BDC. Lily back on nest ledge. 9:55 am, chick is seen on north corner of Regency. At 10:16, Ossie lands on the center ledge of the Sheraton. Lily and chick are up on Stelco. At 10:31 the chick flies to Ossie and chases him off the middle ledge. We get a look at her bands and verify it is Whitehern.

11:41 am, Lily visits the nest again. 11:44 am, chick circling Stelco, after a few minutes, lands on the top grate. 11:55 am, chick flies to top of Homewood, vocal while flying from Stelco. 12:10 pm, both adults are in nest, Ossie flies over to Standard Life. A chick flew past south face of Sheraton, between that building and Standard Life, around the back, and then towards Homewood, landing on the roof top edge, with prey, and begins dressing it. 12:20 pm, Ossie on tail of duck, east side. 12:30 pm, Lily joins the chick on the roof Homewood. So at 12:35pm, we have 3 falcons on Homewood.

We are becoming quite concerned that we never see four falcons at once. It's very difficult to get a close look at the bands, but we're beginning to think it is Whitehen we have been seeing the whole time. Just after 1 pm, Whitehern flew from the roof of Homewood, east towards Stelco. Ten minutes later, she flew towards BDC, but didn't fly high enough to land on the window ledge, so she turned around and headed back to Homewood, and then headed south-west. At 1:45 pm, we noticed a chick tucked into the south-west corner of BDC, where she stayed for about 2 and a half hours. She then flew to the north side of Stelco. Lily visited the nest ledge a couple more times in the afternoon and evening. At 5:00 pm, Whitehern was on the SE corner of the Stelco grid. At 6:10 pm, she was taking short flights around Stelco. The chick wasn't seen again until 9:04 pm, when she landed on a window ledge on the north side of Homewood Suites, but didn't stay there long.


Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea report: 5:20am, there was an adult dressing a meal on the north side Homewood Suites sign. The other adult was on a BDC window ledge. 5:50am, the parent on Homewood flew up to the roof. We heard calling, then a chick appeared on the top northeast corner and was delivered a meal. Around 6:30am, we noticed both adults dressing prey, Lily on David Braley, Ossie on Homewood. At 6:43am, Lily delivered her food to the chick on top of Homewood. I could see the chick still had to finish dressing it. A very vocal morning for these falcons. Slightly concerned that I have not seen four falcons together. But there were a lot of meals today. More than seemed reasonable for one chick.

8:05am, the chick on top of Homewood made its way to BDC, flying straight for the westside window ledge and landing. This was followed by Lily landing next to her and she appeared to have brought more food. Shortly after, both adults were perched on the westside near the chick. There they remained for more than four hours. Chick same place, pancaked. Adults making occasional brief fly arounds, then returning to the same positions. Things changed around 12:36pm. One by one they flew from BDC. Ossie was first to go, then Lily. She was followed by Whitehern. Ossie landed on Standard Life, southeast corner ledge at 12:45pm. The chick was seen flying after Lily, north, between Sheraton and Thomson building, out of sight.

At 1:15pm, Whitehern was seen chasing an adult, while being very vocal, and landed on the SW corner of Standard Life (left photo), but was still very vocal. She stayed there for about 40 minutes before leaving. At 2:30 pm, Whitehern was on the west most ledge of the Sheraton (right photo). She stayed for 15 minutes and flew SW. Around 3:04 PM, Whitehern landed on the SW corner of Standard Life again. At one point, she went further onto the roof, when 2 small birds flew by, she jumped back on the ledge and was watching them as they flew away. She left Standard Life at 3:47 pm, heading SW. A few minutes later, a chick was chasing Lily and they headed SW. The chick was very vocal and had spotted Ossie on the eastern duck of Homewood. Ossie flew off the duck when the chick came, but the chick had a hard time slowing down and turning in time and bumped into the window under the duck. The chick seemed fine and flew back SW, while Ossie flew back onto the duck. Once again, given how capable a flyer Whitehern has become, we wonder if we were seeing Griffin? The parents were seen flying around downtown, and at 4:08 PM, was seen eating.

At 7:10pm, Whitehern was seen dressing a meal on the SE corner of the Sheraton, and eventually ate it. She was eating for almost an hour, when she finally had enough. She walked a short distance along the parapet, and Lily, who was on the nest ledge, flew over to where Whitehern had been and claimed the remainder of the food (right photo). hour. We were wondering if maybe Whitehern had caught the food, as it seemed to be a pretty large catch. The parents have been in the habit of only bringing a small amount of food, to entice the chick to go find food with the parents. This meal was large enough for both herself and Lily. Also, this was the first time in a long while where Lily and Whitehern were close together without Whitehern chasing Lily away.

Whitehern soon flew towards SE corner of Standard Life, while Lily flew to the ledge beside the nest. In the last 40 minutes of the evening, Lily flew towards the NE corner of the Homewood Suites, Whitehern flew east, Ossie was on the duck, and a chick had flown towards Lily, and was very loud. The chick perched on a lower ledge of Homewood on the northeast corner, and stayed there for the remainder of the evening, while Lily flew back towards the nest ledge. There was some speculation that the chick might have been Griffin, as it was very vocal and was going towards Lily for food, however, Whitehern already had eaten a large meal, so she probably wasn't hungry. Like yesterday, we weren't 100% sure that we had seen Griffin throughout the evening. Hopefully tomorrow he will land someplace where we can verify that yellow tape on his leg band.


Tuesday, June 23, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea report: At 5:30am, Lily is at the nest ledge. 5:53am, a falcon is heard calling from the roof top of BDC. 6:05am, we spot a chick chasing an adult that had prey. The adult landed on top of the Hamilton Convention Centre. The chick headed back towards us and landed on David Braley. 6:11am, the chick flew low, westward, and landed on the roof of the Regency. 6:12am, the chick then flew east, to the rooftop of Homewood, was not visible but could be heard.

6:20am, Lily was seen to be dressing prey where she had landed previously. 6:27am, she flew over to David Braley with that meal. She was there about an hour, the whole time she was dressing, eating, lots of calling. 7:40am, Lily took off with the prey over Homewood roof, and the chick took off, chasing after Lily. They flew low past the westside of Marquee. Lily dropped the food, and it was recovered by the chick, an airborne meal transfer. They both flew off to the east.

7:45am, the chick landed on David Braley. 7:52am, it flew back to Homewood. 8:00am, an adult that was on David Braley flew east and the chick on Homewood followed. Flew around BDC. Three falcons so far, 2 adults and 1 chick. After this point it became confusing, not sure. For over an hour, there was falcon activity around Standard Life building. I could hear a chick calling. Plenty of action centered around David Braley, Homewood, Standard Life, Sheraton. Adults have been using Stelco and BDC less in the past couple of days. Before 9:30am, there was another chick sighted on the BDC. The chick landed on the east side window ledge, made its way around the southwest corner.

At 11:45am, that chick flew north, along with an adult and talon touching. The adult lands on the nest ledge. The chick, now identified as Whitehern, lands on the same corner, and chases off the adult. She explores the nest ledge for a few minutes, then takes off. Moments later an adult lands on the ledge. Whitehern returns to the ledge, scaring off the adult, and is now in possession of some food, which she mantles briefly. At 11:53, an adult returns, and she mantles it again (middle photo). The adult leaves, and Whitehern appears to stay in that 'protective' mode for about five minutes, then starts to eat her meal at a leisurely pace, with Lily keeping watch from the western ledge of the Sheraton. At 12:28pm, Lily lands next to the Whitehern, who again mantles the remnants of her meal. Lily takes off, and Whitehern resumes eating, finally finishing the meal round 12:45.

Around 12:50, Lily makes a couple of attempts to come into nest with Whitehern, but Whitehern pushes her away (photo). It was raining fairly steadily, so there was not much action from the falcons for the next hour or so. At 2:27 PM, Whitehern left the nest ledge. Throughout the day, the falcons were spotted, but it was often hard to identify who was who. At 6:20pm, a chick was seen flying and landed on the east side of the Regency, and flew away shortly after. Between 6:30 and 7:30 pm, two volunteers were walking around and saw one of the falcons head west. Moments later, they saw 3 falcons chasing and dive bombing each other, and were very loud, then headed SW. We are 75-80% sure those were 4 different falcons, which means that Griffin was seen flying. At 7:39 pm, a chick was seen flying west, and 3 minutes later a chick was heading west, screeching very loudly. There was a lot of action going from the falcons, who were flying a lot between buildings.


Monday, June 22, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea report: Seen first this morning were the adults. There was not much going on with Lily and Ossie. They were seen perched on Sheraton, Stelco, BDC and Homewood. They seem to hang around Sheraton quite a bit. Feedings were not observed. Not much flight activity, just going from building to building. We were starting to account for three falcons. At 7am, we thought that a chick, possibly two chicks, were on the east face of Marquee. We did not have a good view of them and before long, they disappeared. Around 7:30am, we noticed a chick try to manage the southside of BDC and ended up deflecting, went down, up and around the nest side of BDC and we lost view. At 8am, another chick was seen flying to the roof top of Fairclough, southwest corner then to the southwest top corner of BDC.

At 9:40am, I spotted a chick again, after it had landed momentarily and then it flew southeast. At 9:45, I could hear a chick calling on the northeast corner of BDC. There was also an adult near the chick. The chick flew around the east side of the building and landed up on the roof southwest corner (9:49). 9:55am, I spot Griffin on a lower window ledge at Stelco, east side. A couple of minutes after he flew away from the window ledge, short distance, low, returned towards Stelco Tower and he flew into a 7th floor window. Caused him to fly down, up but low, he flew north towards York, turned back towards Sheraton and Standard Life, then was lost to our view.

Whitehern stayed pancaked on the top, west-side window ledge of BDC for most of the morning, and the early part of the afternoon. Ossie was perched on the Homewood duck. Around 2:25pm, a falcon flew by the BDC where Whitehern was. It could have been Griffin but it was too far away to make a positive identification. At 2:30, Whithern took off, flying high and circling above Stelco with a parent. They were chasing each other and there were a few moments of talon touching. Ten minutes later Whitehern landed on the west side of the Stelco grid, and stayed there for about 20 minutes. At 3:45, Whitehern was seen flying north of Stelco for a couple of minutes and landing back on the west side of the Stelco grid. She then settled down there for the next three hours.

At 7:40pm, there was some action from Lily and Whithern as they were flying and chasing each other. The winds were very strong at that time, but Whitehern flew very strongly! Feathers were seen flying from the NE corner of the David Braley, where a parent was dressing a meal. Shortly after there was a heavy storm that passed through downtown. It only lasted about a half hour. After the rain, Ossie was found on the NE corner of Homewood, while Whitehern was on the NW corner of the BDC. At 8:20pm, Ossie brought the food to Whitehern, who in the meantime had flown to the SW corner of the BDC roof, and then Ossie stayed for the remainder of the evening on the NW corner of the window ledge of BDC.


Sunday, June 21, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinator Sara Reports - Whitehern was fairly active early in the morning. She was seen flying from Sheraton to Standard Life to BDC, and back to Sheraton. She was first seen eating at 5:43am on top of Sheraton. It seems that the 'iron falcon' is one of her new favourite places to perch, as she was seen on top of it a few times today.

Ossie received the best Father's Day gift: Griffin is home again! Two of the Senior Monitors released Griffin on top of the Sheraton roof around 11am (photos). He didn't stay for very long, and made a strong flight over to the Marquee building, nine floors down on the north side. He was then out of sight for a bit, but reappeared on a balcony ledge. He then flew southwest and landed on top of an apartment building on Bold, near Caroline Street South, and then proceeded to fly south. It was then a game of hide-and-seek between us and Griffin. Around 12:30, Griffin was seen flying at low altitude headed south, over McNab with an adult trailing behind.

Around 2:25pm, Griffin and Whitehern were seen having a family reunion. Whitehern was perched on the northeast corner of BDC and Griffin flew up to her, he then flew away and landed on the 'd' of the 'dpia' logo on the westside of BDC. Whitehern took off flying northeast, and Griffin had taken off too. Around 3:18pm, a chick was seen being fed on the north side of Stelco. Though Whitehern seems to favour Stelco, it could very well have been Griffin who was fed. Griffin has been spotted on Stelco before and what leads me to think it could have been him that was being fed was the fact that Lily was preparing the meal. This is something that Whitehern has been seen doing herself.

At 4:45pm, Whitehern and Griffin were flying together. Griffin landed on top of the roof of Marquee, eastside and Whitehern landed on BDC. Shortly after, Whitehern and Lily were flying together and both were talon touching. Whitehern visited the nest around 5:34 (photo), and shortly after she was seen chasing off a Turkey Vulture! Brave girl! Griffin remained on Marquee for the remainder of the night. It was possibly Ossie that flew to a balcony ledge six floors down, so quite close to Griffin and keeping a watchful eye. Griffin was making impressive, high flights throughout the day and was seen making fine landings. We are deeply grateful to The Owl Foundation, and today was a success.


In a sudden turn-around decision this morning, it was decided that Griffin is flying well enough to be returned to his family! And he certainly proved his point when he took off on a strong flight over to the Marquee building (west of Homewood Suites) within seconds of being released!


Saturday, June 20, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Chelsea and Nathan report: Whitehern made her way into the thermals today, circling higher and higher, soaring quite the distance. She was out flying despite how hot the weather got. Her parents seem to be encouraging her out for these longer flights.

At 5:37am, I saw Ossie prepping food on the NE corner of Homewood Suites. There was also a falcon on the SW corner of the BDC building, but it was too dark for me to tell if it was Lily or Whiterhern. Seven minutes later, that falcon left the BDC and was heading NW. The first certain glimpse of Whitehern I got was at 6:38am, where she was flying from the southern direction and headed to Standard Life. Twenty minutes later, she flew to the west side of BDC. One of the parents landed on the "i" of the "dpai" sign, in close proximity to Whitehern. The chick noticed the presence of the adult and made noise and started walking and flapping towards them along the ledge. The adult flew away but eventually came back. At 8:12, all three falcons were on the west side of BDC. Ossie left shortly after, with which the chick responded very loudly. He didn't stay away long, as he was back after 3 minutes.

At 8:23am, Whitehern flew to the west side of Stelco and, again, was very vocal. She stayed there for about an hour and a half, after which she flew to the roof of BDC. Half an hour later, Whitehern was on the west side window ledge near the SW corner, pancaked. One of the adults was, again, on the "dpai" on BDC. Around 11 am, the adult left BDC, leaving behind a very loud chick. Five minutes later, one of the adults dropped off food, then flew off to the nearby NW corner. They stayed there for over an hour, until Whitehern walked over and chased them away.

Whitehern stayed on BDC for the next two hours, then, at 1:10 pm, she flew north heading in the direction of Stelco Tower. A few minutes later she was seen chasing Lily, extremely vocal, flying over the David Braley Centre parking area, heading west between the new high buildings either side of George St., circling upwards higher and higher way up with the thermals still heading west. Both parents had joined her before she broke away on her own, must have caught a current of air to soar with. She became a speck in my view, and I finally lost track of her. She went west well past Dundurn St. today.

I don't know where her flight had taken her, but at 1:48 I spotted her again on the BDC roof top. Around 2 pm, Whitehern flew off of BDC, heading north past Stelco, circled back out over King St., then landed on the to grate of Stelco. 2:20 she flew to BDC. She landed on the west side of the roof, then flew off around to the south side and swooped up to land on a window ledge. Didn't seem like the right spot for her so she again flew off from there north around Fairclough and out of sight.

2:42 pm, I find Whitehern again on the north side of Stelco. She is tucked in the corner of a window ledge, 7 floors down from the top of the building. She stays there about three hours. After this rest period, around 5:15 pm, Whitehern is seen flying up over Stelco Tower, around the building to land on top. Around 6:30 pm she took off in a southwest direction upwards, again soaring up with the thermals, no adults in sight this flight. She was seen at high altitudes over David Braley Centre, now going west. Higher above Whitehern were turkey vultures. Circling back and then heading in an east direction, lost sight of her as she flew on past the south side of bdc. We eventually spot her before 7 pm on a top window ledge on the north side of BDC tucked into the corner with just a view of her back and tail feathers. And there she stayed for the remainder of the evening.

Latest word on Griffin, from the Owl Foundation: "So we see improvement, but he still occasionally chooses a poor area to land. When he targets the perch he lands well."


Friday, June 19, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea report: Whitehern's flying skills are improving wonderfully. Her flights are strong, with no hesitation. Landings are perfect, wherever she likes! Most of her flights are of her own accord. She is only enticed by meals being left on top of different ledges and buildings.

At 6:28am Ossie flew from his perch around Stelco Tower. Suddenly Whitehern appears with him in flight, circling around Stelco, then lands back on a window ledge. A minute later, Ossie brings food, drops it beside Whitehern and leaves. At 7am Whitehern flew across the south face of Fairclough, east across the building and came to land on top of CIBC. Ten minutes later, she flew south and landed on BDC. It looked as though she had food left there for her on ledge. Over the next hour or so she alternated between strolling along the ledge and taking rest breaks, pancaked on the ledge. 9:45am she flew out above David Braley parking area, around the west and northside of Standard Life, then back over to the Sheraton. From there, another flight over to Stelco. 10am Whitehern flew from that spot over and around Fairclough building, back over David Braley parking area to land on the roof of Standard Life. She went out of our view, where she stayed hidden for the next several hours.

Whitehern eventually flew over to BDC, then a while later, headed to Stelco, where she got fed around 1:50pm. She stayed there for another 3 hours, at one point flying to the west side of Stelco and landing on the grid at the top, staying there for about 7 minutes. At 3:45, about 8 turkey vultures were seen circling above and near Stelco. However, that didn't last very long as one of the parents started to chase one of them away, which gave a clear message to the other vultures. At 7:11, Whitehern was seen on the east side of Stelco, about 8 floors from the top. Shortly after, she took a short flight but landed back on the exact spot she took off from. Half an hour later, Lily was seen on the south-east corner prepping food. Both Lily and Whitehern were very vocal. At 8:04, Whitehern flew south towards bdc, but then headed back towards Stelco. Lily was on the nest ledge. Whitehern flew to the Sheraton and landed two ledges beside the nest, she was very vocal, and eventually made her way to the nest where she chased Lily off, who flew to the eastern corner of Standard Life. Whitehern chased her around for a few minutes, while being very vocal. Lily landed Stelco and the chick landed on the roof of Sheraton. At 8:37, Whitehern was on the north side of Stelco where she stayed for the rest of the evening.

Update from the Owl Foundation: Griffin is doing well. In recognition of the fact he had barely started to develop his flying skills before his accident, and how well Whitehern is doing, they have decided to keep him a few extra days, to let him practice his flying in a safe environment, and bring his skills up to a level a little closer to those of his sister, before returning him to the nest. This is something the Owl Foundation does routinely, so we expect good results. And as always they have our extreme gratitude!


Thursday, June 18, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea report: Around 5:20am, I could hear Whitehern up on Stelco, but she wasn't visible. It appeared an adult brought her some food somewhere on the roof, around 6 am. At 6:30 we spot Whitehern perched on a window ledge on the west side, 4 floors from top. A few minutes later she flies around to another window ledge near the north-east corner. She takes off again and we lose sight of her. 7:45 she reappears, making a short flight around Stelco, landing on the top ledge on the west side. Then moves out of sight on the roof again. This pattern repeats for the next couple of hours, with her hidden half the time. Around 9:50, she took her last morning flight, a short trip around Stelco, landing on another window ledge a couple of floors down on the west side. She pancakes, and that's where she stays for the rest of the morning.

It was nearly 2 pm before she decided to move again. She went for a 20 second flight and landed on the west roof of Stelco. A few minutes later, Lily was seen chasing a bald eagle away from the area. It looked very beautiful, the way they were flying and very responsive to what the other bird was doing. It was like a dance. At 3:09, Whitehern flew around the north side of Stelco, where she landed on the second floor from the top. A few windows further, one of the parents was sitting. A half hour later it left, heading north. At 5:30, the chick landed on the south side of the grid of Stelco. She was flapping her wings and walking over to the SW corner. Five minutes later, she was soaring on a thermal updraft, for about 2 minutes. An adult joined her, and they chased each other, playing tag and some talon touching. The chick went out of sight, and we weren't able to see her anymore for the rest of the evening. The adults weren't around much either. Ossie was on the nest ledge for about an hour. Then half an hour later, Lily was on the nest ledge, and was still there when I finished my shift. Hopefully we will see more action from the falcons tomorrow.


Wednsday, June 17, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea report: I could hear Whitehern just before 5:30 am. I watched her fly from Stelco Tower to Sheraton top roof portion at 5:42 am. Lily was there dressing prey and fed Whitehern. By 6 am, Whiteren was exploring the south roof ledge and made her way up on to a structural metal arm we call the Iron Falcon (because an unwary watcher often mistakes it for a bird). From there, Whitehern observed Lily eating meal, but she was not vocal and did not come down from where she was perched. Lily finished, then flew up to Whitehern and bothered her from that perch. The chick flapped onto the south corner ledge, disappeared briefly onto the Sheraton roof, then made her way along the west ledge. Just after 7 am, Whitehern flew to Stelco Tower performing an adult style upwards swoop as she came in for her landing. She landed in the same place as the morning before, and remained there, for the most part pancaked or sitting for the next four hours.

11:19 am, Whitehern leaves her perch and flies upwards making a soaring circling flight above Stelco Tower and out towards Main St. Above AGH, then back towards the Sheraton. Circling back towards Stelco, she saw a bird and tried to give chase. She eventually comes back to land on the top grate of Stelco. This flight I recorded as just over 5 minutes! In the next 20 minutes, she makes a couple more small flights, each time circling the tower and landing on a different part of the grate, finally coming to rest on a window ledge a couple of floors down. 12:05 pm Lily twice flew in right beside Whitehern. Not much reaction from chick, Lily flew over to the northwest corner and perched.

For the next three hours, Whitehern didn't didn't move from her spot. She eventually flew to to the north side of Stelco, where she was out of the sun. Another hour and a half later, she flew around the Sheraton, then back towards the west side of Stelco. She tried landing but aborted and landed on the north side instead. At 6:15 pm, Whitehern was on the roof of the Sheraton, where she was dressing a meal and feeding herself. Half an hour later, she flew back to Stelco and landed on the NW corner of the grid. At 7:52, she left Stelco, flying east around the north side, presumably to settle into a spot for the night.


Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea report: Whitehern was somewhat visible on the nest ledge when I arrived at 5 am. Around 5:15, Lily brought some food to the Standard Life building, and Whitehern flew over to get it. Once again, Whitehern managed the meal by herself. By 5:47 she was done eating. She then flew to the top roof of the Sheraton. Around 6:15 she made a flight over to Stelco Tower and landed on a window ledge about 6 floors down from the top. She stayed there, occasionally walking along the ledge, for the next four hours. At 10:25, she made a solo flight out over Sheraton, no encouragement from parents, then circled back and landed on the same floor of Stelco. She pancaked there, and at about 11:10 Lily landed near her to keep watch. Whitehern became very vocal for a bit.

Whitehern spent most of her afternoon on Stelco. At 2:19 pm she was seen chasing Lily. Six minutes later, all three Falcons were in the air, and at 2:28, Whitehern did a talon touch with Lily. This is an airborne maneuver that helps chicks develop their agility. She will soon learn to use this skill to transfer prey mid-air. At 2:43, Whitehern flew around Stelco and then dived after some pigeons, although she didn't dive too low, and landed on the red mosaic apartment building. About an hour later, Lily chased a turkey vulture that came to close to Stelco. A few moments later, Ossie came along and helped Lily. The chick flew for a bit and landed on the grid at the top of Stelco. The parents dive bombed on the chick a bit to entice it to fly, but she didn't move much. 40 minutes later she flew with her parents and landed back on Stelco. Her parents joined her, dropping off food which she took and the parents flew off. At 5:09, there was a large feeding. Whitehern ran and flapped to where the adult was. Another half hour later she flew around and landed on Stelco again, but flew from below straight up onto the ledge, which is what the parents usually do. Her flight skills are improving! She played tag with her parents and did a lot of flying. At one point flying for about 45 seconds.

Word from the Owl Foundation is that Griffin is doing well. "His flight is normal juvenile clumsy. We don't think he is dealing with any side effects from concussion." Very good news. They are moving him to their largest flyway, to give him more room to practice his flying today. We are still hoping for a quick return.


Monday, June 15, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea report: Whitehern spent most of her day on Stelco, occasionally making brief flights around the building, and landing on window ledges lower down on the sides of the building. Both Adults were seen nearby on Stelco during Whitehern's stay. Occasionally one or the other would leave for a while, probably to hunt, but there were no meals brought to Whitehern. Later in the morning they circle Stelco, attempting to coax Whitehern into joining them for more flying lessons. She joins them once or twice, but not for long.

Whitehern spent most of her afternoon on Stelco. Her stay was further punctuated by occasional brief flights, moving from one corner of the top of the tower to another, occasionally dropping down to a window ledge a few floors down. There was a feeding at 3:39 pm on the NW corner of Stelco. Whiterhern took a small flight at 5:08, and landed on the west side of the roof, where Lily was. When she landed, she made Lily move from her spot, who then flew to the NW corner. After that, Lily flew away to get dinner, and fed Whitehern 5 minutes later. Then at 5:40, Whitehern flew to the NW corner of the grid section of the roof, where she stayed until 9 pm, then she flew down to the highest floor, on the window ledge of the west side. About 45 minutes after we left at the end of the day, she was seen on the webcam, landing at the nest, where she appears to have settled down for the night (photo).

Update on Griffin from the Owl Foundation: "He is behaving more normal this morning, so we moved him outside. We will monitor his use of perching and his flight over the next 24 hours and see if he is ready to return." He is still on anti-inflamatory medication, but is no longer receiving painkillers, as it is assumed any pain is from swelling which the anti-inflamatories should take care of. If all goes well, he could be home by the end of the week!


Sunday, June 14, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinator Sara reports: The day started off mild and sunny. Whitehern spent the night on the nest ledge, but by the time I arrived, she was up on Stelco Tower. She was perched on a westside ledge, 15 floors up. The adults were nearby; one on the southwest corner and the other, northwest. Whitehern eventually left the ledge at 11:09 am, after an adult prepared a meal on the very top northwest corner and flew with it northwest. Whitehern lands first on the rooftop of Sheraton, and then on Fairclough. This was only time she was seen on our webcam after leaving the nest, as a small black dot on the railing along the top edge of the building, near the right side (the black dot at the top of BDC is not a falcon). Lily brings her food, and is seen feeding her there.

Whitehern left Fairclough and flew back to Stelco at around 3 pm. She landed on the west grate. The adults were seen flying by her a few times. She was then seen hopping along the grate heading east. Lily joins her on the ledge for a moment at 4:04, and then takes off. Whitehern is handling a meal herself. I watched as feathers floated up in the air, and she picked up the meal with her beak and talons, and helicoptered. Both parents are watching her from nearby. She then becomes vocal and I wonder if she is asking Lily to come back to help her.

Lily makes her way to the northeast side of Stelco, and suddenly they both take off the building. It appears there are adult bald eagles in the vicinity and Ossie is seen doing circles around them, as they head north. Ossie makes his way back at 5:40. Lily and Whitehern are back on Stelco. Lily was seen feeding her on the west grate at 6 pm. The evening was quiet. Lily landed at the nest briefly around 8:50, allowing us to snap her portrait. I said goodnight to Whitehern as she laid on the top westside ledge of Stelco. Her parents, as always, are nearby.


Saturday, June 13, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Chelsea and Nathan report: For most of the morning, Whitehern was in the nest. At 10:57, she flew east towards the Fairclough building. There she landed on one of the window ledges. However, it seemed to be very uncomfortable for her, as the ledges are slanted, and construction work has made them difficult for falcon talons to get a grip. Whitehern stayed there for about an hour, and then flew to the Sheraton. She tried to land on the upper roof ledge but missed and dropped down onto the "n" of the Sheraton sign, where she rested for the next couple of hours. Around 2 pm she flew over to Standard Life building roof top and was hidden from our view for several hours. The adults kept watch from Stelco Tower. At 4:30, the parents brought seom food to Whitehern, still out of sight. Whitehern made a brief flight over to the Sheraron at 5:10, and back to Standard Life about 20 minutes later, still staying out of sight.

Around 6:30, Whitehern was spotted on the camera arm at Sheraton. She then flew up to Stelco. From there she made a strong gliding flight to the top of the new high rise. Seconds later, she flew steady with Lily following, and some interaction between the two in the air, while on her way up to landing on the top grated portion of Stelco. Whitehern hung around up there for an hour, and Lily brought her some food. 8:30 pm, once again, Whitehern made a gliding flight over to the top of 140 Main street then she flew back to Stelco. Whitehern hangs out there until around 9 pm when she flew over to Sheraton, crept along the top of the south ledge, hop, flapped her way up onto the camera arm and then flapped over to the nest ledge and pancaked. Good night Whitehern.


Saturday, June 13, mini-upate: Griffin was examined again at the Owl Foundation, this morning. Still quite feisty and alert. They found some minor bruising around his ears, and decided that he would be more comfortable with some pain medication for the next week. This will also give them the chance to monitor him for any long-term effects from his "adventures".

It is worth noting that peregrines have a different mentality than humans, living very much in the moment. So Griffin's parents and sibling will not be "missing" him the way a human family would. When Griffin shows up next week there will be a moment of "Hey, I don't remember feeding you recently. Here, eat." and then on with life as if nothing happened.


Friday, June 12, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea report: At the end of an eventful day, we are happy to report that our two chicks are both quite healthy and safe, although one of them is not quite where we expected him to be when we started our day.

At 8:16, Whitehern made her leap from the ledge. This year we were lucky and the webcam captured the moment of lift-off (photos). Whitehern flew strongly across King St, and made her way over west of Homewood Suites to a balcony on the back side of the apartment building at 140 Main St. West. At 9:15, she took off again, circled, bumped into the wall of the new high rise, north of 140 Main, circled around Standard Life and finally landed on the Sheraton upper roof. In the meantime, Griffin flew down from his perch atop the upper roof of the Sheraton and was fed on the ledges along the front of the hotel.

The afternoon started off quite peacefully. Then, at 4:30, Griffin got into trouble. He was seen falling from the south side of the Standard Life building. He landed on the road, near the sidewalk. One of the volunteers said she thought she saw his wing get hit by a car. He flew up (not very high) over the David Braley parking lot and then onto the Anchorbar roof patio entrance. He was flopping around weirdly and flew underneath the black cover. Eventually, he flew onto the patio, from which he then took flight. Unfortunately, he flew right into the Thomson building and fell to the ground. From there the two volunteers and I were able to safely rescue him, then, following long-established protocols for looking after a potentially injured bird, he was taken to the OWL Foundation for a check-up. Initial reports are that he appears active and "very alert", and did not appear to have any broken bones. He will be spending the night there, and will be examined again in the morning. We are thinking he is one lucky bird.

Back in Hamilton, around 6:45 pm, Whitehern flew from the Sheraton over to Fairclough but didn't fly high enough, and decided to fly back to the Sheraton. At 7:15, Lily brought Whitehern some food, and at 8:24, they both flew south around the David Braley Center, and then back to the Sheraton, where Whitehern ended up safe on the nest ledge, where she settled down for the night. Hopefully all is well with Griffin, and the chicks will be reunited soon!


Thursday, June 11, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea report: At 5:35 am, while looking up at the nest I noticed something in my peripheral view. Griffin was on a narrow window ledge on the east side of the Standard life Building, close to the front. Whitehern poked her head up around 6:15. Good start to the day. Both chicks in view. At 6:19 am I could see Whitehern doing some hard flapping and about 10 minutes later, Lily brought her a meal, and then another, about 20 minutes after that.

At 6:53, Ossie arrives with another meal while Lily is still feeding the previous one to Whithern. Not long after, Ossie brought that food to Griffin. Several times throughout the day, the adults flew between the Sheraton and the Standard Life building, past Griffin, trying to catch his attention, which they did, but they did not succeed in coaxing him from the ledge. The rest of the time they frequently perched on the back side of those two buildings, to keep an eye on hihm, when they weren't bringing food to Whitehern.

Griffin stayed put until about 7 pm. When he flew off, headed south around Standard Life, then went back north around the building. He wasn't spotted again until 8:15 when he was seen flying north over Standard Life. At 8:45 he was spotted on the roof of the Sheraton, He then flew to Fairclough and landed near the SW corner. After that he flew over to the NE corner of 140 Main St. West (the apartment building west of Homewood Suites), where he stayed for the remainder of the evening. Whitehern had lots of moments during the afternoon where she was flapping a lot. She got fed three times around 16:20, 16:36 and 17:03.


Wednesday, June 10, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea report: An amazing day, with Griffin playing hide-n-seek for nearly the entire day. He was seen once around 11 am, flying quite strongly, so we weren't too worried. At the nest, the day started off with a brief thunderstorm. Once it cleared out, Whitehern was fed, around 6:10 am (photo), and again at 6:30.

For the next two hours I spent my time looking for Griffin. Wandering around at street level keeping an ear out for his calls and watching the adults behavior. Around 7:30, with the kind cooperation of the Sheraton, Lead Monitor Pat Baker and I went to the roof to look over rooftops and ledges of other buildings, tree tops, shaded areas. I was able to gain access to the Fairclough building rooftop to look out for Griffin. Thank you to building manager, Suzanne Felker and security manager, Doug Maunder.

While we were busy conducting this search we had some extra help, with MaryAnn keeping an eye on the nest. She saw some Helicoptering from Whitehern (photos), and at 10:30 am, there was another feeding. After that, the chick hung out at the west end of the nest ledge for quite some time before retreating inside the nest area, where she spent a good part of the day, hiding from the sun (and often from our camera). One of the adults would occasionally look in on her, and keep her company for a short time.

At 11:10, a Jackson Square security guard took a photo of Griffin, comfortably resting on a railing on the upper patio between the Sheraton and Standard Life buildings, and this was posted to our facebook group, at which point I was notified, and went to look for him. It turned out that he had flown off shortly after the photo was taken. We were happy to hear he was flying quite strongly, in the words of the guard, "as if he'd been doing it forever". Our thanks to Jackson Square Security and Yale Properties for their continued support for the falcons!

The afternoon was very quiet, there was some flapping from a vocal Whitehern at around 3 pm. Then, around 6:15, Griffin was spotted on the third floor pool deck at the front of the Sheraton. He then flew to the roof of the Art Gallery, across the street, where some gulls attempted to divebomb him. They left him alone after a few tries. He fluttered his way to the south side of the roof, then took off, and circled around to land on the east side of the David Braley center.

Around 7:10 Griffin strolled down to the north-west corner, and Lily soon brought him food. When she landed, Griffin tried to snatch the prey from her, resulting in a serious tug of war for about 10-15 seconds (left photo). But mom was having none of that nonsense, so he let go, settled down and she fed him the meal. After that, Lily was seen dive-bombing a gull that came to close to Griffin.

At 7:50, Griffin attempted to fly towards the nest but didn't gain enough height, so he tried grabbing onto the window ledge on the Sheraton, about 5 floors down from the nest. Since he wasn't able to grab a hold of anything, he started spiraling down, but eventually started flying towards Thomson. He attempted to get to the nest again but didn't make it. A minute later he was able to successfully make it to the top roof of the Sheraton, where he stayed for the rest of evening. This ability to gain height is something we love to see in new fliers. The skills needed to make a precise landing will come with time, but the ability to fly strongly will (hopefully) keep him out of trouble.


Wednesday, June 10, mini update: Griffin is spending the night on the upper roof of the Sheraton. He was briefly spotted around 11 am, on a railing at the Plaza Level of Jackson Square, and then later in the afternoon was spotted along the mezzanine level of the Sheraton Hotel. From there our camera tracked him over to the Art Gallery of Hamilton, and then he flew to the Braley Center, where Lily brought him supper. After that he flew to the Sheraton.


Tuesday, June 9, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea report: Today was a very eventful day. It started off with a bit of flapping, and then the chicks settled down for a long, hot morning and afternoon. Then, around 5:15, after a bit of preliminary flapping (photo), Griffin took his first flight. As often happens with first flights, he started spiralling down the moment he left the nest. His flight took him around the side of the hotel, so we went up to the roof of the Sheraton to see if we could spot him. And there he was, below us on the roof ledge of Sheraton's ballroom, which sticks out of the back side of the hotel atop Jackson Square. A few minutes later, he was seen flying away with his parents, heading east. He wasn't seen afterwards, but we checked all the streets and all the buildings. He probably is just recovering from the shock of his first flight and is hiding out of our sight on one of the building rooftops.

The rest of the evening went by smoothly. Around 8 pm, Ossie brought food to the nest, and Whitehern and Lily raced to get the food. Whitehern was closer, so got there first, grabbed the meal from Ossie and took it down into the scrape, where she was seen covering it with her wings, a behavior called 'mantelling'. She started dressing and eating the meal on her own, with Lily looking on (photo), then Lily decided to help her out with it. At the end of the day, Whitehern settled down on the ledge, and Lily kept watch from the next ledge over. We did not spot Griffin again, but will most likely figure out where he is tomorrow when he starts calling for food.


Monday, June 8, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea report: Before 5:30 am, both chicks are on the ledge, stretching out their wings. Around 6:15, the chicks start crying out, very vocal. Most likely reacting to the sight of one of the adults peparing the meal that is brought to the nest a few minutes later. Lily feeds the chicks down in the scrape. This meal is followed by some flapping exercises, then, at 6:35, both parents bring another meal, fed to them by Lily at the west end of the nest ledge. Lily appears to be taking the time to show the chicks how to manage their prey.

Around 10:45 Lily brought another meal, and this time fed the chicks on the ledge. There were a few nervous moments for watchers as Griffin squeezed past his mother on the outside, with one foot over the edge, to get in position for feeding (photos). He really seems to move with sure-footed confidence now, and is clearly not afraid of that big drop. The rest of the morning consisted of alternate periods of flapping and resting, with the adults circling about from time to time, encouraging the former.

Afternoon brought some excellent photo opportunities. Around 1pm, both adults are seen in the nest, possibly keeping guard against some threat in the sky above, or perhaps just offering the chicks shade from the mid-day sun. Later on, Whitehern perched at the end of the ledge closest to the camera, which allowed us to capture some wonderful close-up portraits. You can see more of them by clicking one of the Favorite photos above this news section, which will open our Favorite Photos Gallery. Yesterday it was just Griffin hanging his toes over the edge. Today, it was both of them.

Around 3:45 pm, Griffin was seen helicoptering for a second. At one point in the afternoon, both parents were circling the nest for a few minutes and at times were flying very close to each other. It was quite amazing to see. Around 7:20, Lily came to the nest with food, one of the chicks "shooed" her to the side, after which Lily left. The chicks became very vocal and started flapping. Looks like she took the food with her. Then at 7:35, one of the parents came to the neighbouring ledge with food, the chicks became very excited, and the parent came to the nest with the food and left a minute later. Lastly, at 20:00, Lily brought some more food, at which the chicks became very vocal again. She stayed with them for 30 minutes before leaving. With every encounter with their parents, the chicks seem to be very impatient and pushy.


Sunday, June 7, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinator Sara reports: The day started off mild and sunny. The chicks were fed breakfast at 6:52, and again at 7:55, which gave Whitehern the boost of energy she needed for some morning wing flapping. Lily and Ossie were seen keeping watch over the chicks from the southwest corner of Stelco. Today, the whole family was quite chatty - and one chick in particular was quite pushy. At 10:36, loud calling could be heard. An adult flew to the ledge adjacent to the nest. The chicks flapped their wings and called out. An adult flew to the nest and one of the chicks lunged at the parent! The adult took off.

At 12:17, both Ossie and Lily visited the nest. Lily eventually left the nest and returned around 1 pm and was quite vocal. When the sun was at its strongest, the chicks were fairly inactive. The highlight of the day was when I witnessed Lily calling out to Ossie from the nest at around 5 pm. Ossie flew towards the Sheraton and both of them flew in circles around the hotel. The chicks had their dinner shortly before 6. I noticed that they're looking much more like young adults. Now is the time we start watching in earnest for those first flights. With their white chick feathers almost completely gone, their wings will be able to properly generate lift, and let them take flight.

Around 6:15 pm, Griffin positioned himself at the very edge of the southeast corner, with his toes curled over the edge, peering down. For a few moments he had everyone wondering if he was about to take the plunge. Around 7:27, he hopped over to where Lily was sitting on the ledge, and lunged at her, making her flee. Over an hour later, Lily is lunged at again when she returns to the nest. Over the past week or so, we have also noticed more small nips and pecks exchanged between the chicks. It seems that this year's brood are particularly feisty. This could mean that they will both be strong and capable fliers, but it could also mean they try to fly just a little too soon. We are quite obviously hoping for the former.

At 7:50 pm Lily was perched on the next ledge over from the nest, and Ossie could be seen perched on the south east corner of Standard Life (left photo). Lily brought a meal to the nest a few minutes later. After their second dinner came a lot of flapping! So much flapping that I thought they may just fly off. But fortunately, today was not the day. Our precious babies will gain some more strength before testing the skies. So stay tuned, Falconwatchers. On an additional note, I realized that we have a family of mourning doves at David Braley. It will be nice to watch them grow up as well.


Saturday, June 6, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Chelsea and Nathan report: The morning started off with a feeding at 5:08. At 7:01, Lily brought more food to the nest, but left soon after, so the chicks had to feed themselves, which made the chicks very vocal. After that there was lots of flapping and the chicks were very vocal throughout the morning. Both parents stayed close by well into the afternoon.

There are occasional wing exercises (photo). Not much else happens until around 7 pm, when Ossie chases off a gull over the David Braley parking area. The gull could be heard complaining about this treatment. At 7:13 pm, Lily lands with the first meal since the morning. She leaves it at the nest ledge and flies over to the Standard Life building. Around 8 pm Lily comes back to the nest to help the chicks out with their meal. That meal gives the chicks some extra energy and they work it out with some serious flapping. So far there has not been any 'helicoptering' where the chicks briefly lift themselves into the air. But judging by the strength of the flapping this will happen very soon.


Friday, June 5, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea report: The day starts off quietly, with Griffin popping up onto the ledge shortly after 5:00 am. Whitehern joins her brother about half an hour later. Both chicks are heard occasionally calling out for food. At 5:45, Lily makes a stop at the nest ledge, Whitehern excited with wings flapping. Griffin moves over to Lily, and does something that causes her to fly away to the Standard Life building. This is a behavior we've seen Griffin do before, though we never get a good enough look to determine if he's poking or nipping at his mother. Whatever it is, she doesn't like it.

Around 7 am, Ossie is spotted dressing prey on the BDC building. Lily shows up a minute later with another catch. The pair then fly over to the nest ledge, but appear to only bring one of the two meals (photo). They hand over the kill to Whitehern (or she takes it, not seen). Ossie flies over to Standard Life. Lily stays for a minute, watching Whitehern, most likely making sure the kid knows what to do with fresh food. Then she joines Ossie. She comes back about ten minutes later, after Whitehern has eaten, again, giving us the impression that she is checking up on her chick's ability to handle food. An hour later, she returns with more food, and this time feeds it to the chicks.

Around 8:45, Lily makes a wide fly by of the nest, and both chicks respond by flapping hard. In the days to come Lily will be seen doing this maneuver more frequently, showing the kids how flying is done, and encouraging them to try it for themselves. At 9:45, Ossie arrives at the nest with yet another meal. Within seconds, Lily lands, approaches him and takes the prey to feed chicks. This scene is repeated again barely twenty minutes later. A lot of food in one morning!

In between feedings, Lily is seen perched on the Fairclough building, and Ossie occupies a window ledge on the top floor of the Stelco Tower. By 10:40, Lily has also taken up a position on Stelco, a few floors down from Ossie, enjoying the shade that building offers in the morning. Just after noon, both parents swoop in very fast to the middle ledge at the Sheraton, next to the nest, once again demonstrating flying skills to the chicks. One of the chicks is heard calling repeatedly.

For the most of the afternoon the chicks were very quiet as it was very hot out. There was minimal flapping. Around 4:00 pm, a large bird of prey (turkey vulture?) was nearing the nest but the chicks became very vocal, causing the large bird to fly away. Afterwards, Whitehern began flapping a lot. At 5:15 both parents came to the nest ledge for feeding (photo). Ozzie didn't stay long, as usual, while Lily fed the chicks. At 5:30, there was a lot more flapping and possibly even helicoptering. There was a lot more flapping from both chicks, especially from Whitehern. For the rest of the evening they stayed very quiet.


Thursday, June 4, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea report: The day starts with the chicks huddled down in the scrape, and with Lily perched on the building west of the Sheraton which we still call Standard Life even though the sign is gone. Ossie was perched on one of his favorite hunting vantage points on the BDC building. At 5:45am a chick appears on the ledge, and the day's flapping commences. Every day the flapping is a bit more vigorous and lasts longer (photos). The chicks can be heard making little cries, begging for their first meal of the day, and around 6:10 it arrives. The chicks continue to be vocal while feeding is taking place. Around 9am Ossie makes a short circling flight and lands on the Sheraton (S). We saw him do this a couple of times today from off the BDC building. He is very diligent about protecting his territory.

Like yesterday, the afternoon was really hot, so there was not much activity from the chicks. There was some flapping and a feeding around 4:20. At 5:30, Lily flew from the nest towards the BDC building, with high speed, to chase away a larger bird, before returning to the Standard Life building. A few minutes later, Lily chased a pigeon and caught it right above us where we sat at the David Braley Center. There were feathers flying everywhere. A few seconds later, Ossie came and helped out. Just after 6pm, Lily came over to the nest and fed the chicks (photo).

For the remainder of the evening, there was some more flapping, and both chicks were on the ledge for a while. At 7:41, a rare sight: Ossie arrives at the ledge with a small meal, and actually gets to feed it to the chicks himself. Lily shows up a couple of minutes later and supervises, but lets Ossie finish the task (photo). Ossie then flew to the Standard Life building and stayed there for the remainder of the evening. At 8pm, Lily brought more food to the nest and left afterwards to keep watch from the Stelco tower.


Wednesday, June 3, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea report: Arrived at 5am to overcast sky, nice sunrise colors beneath the clouds. At 5:45am dark clouds with lightning rolled in from the west. About 15 minutes of intense downpour with lightning and thunder. At first, Lily and the chicks took shelter down in the lower part of the ledge. Griffin hopped up and flapped a bit as the storm eased up. Whitehern was flapping a little too, down in the scrape. The chicks enjoy the rain. It helps loosen and wash away their white chick feathers. At 7:30am Whitehern joins her brother on the ledge. Both looking very soggy, and exercise their wings a bit (photos). Lots of calling.

Five minutes later Lily arrives with the first meal of the morning (photo). Feeding goes more quickly now, with the chicks able to take full-size bites. At 7:53am Lily takes another catch from Ossie and finishes dressing it on the next ledge over from the nest. She hops over to the nest ledge and feeds most of it to Whitehern, with the rest given to Griffin.

Lily flies from the ledge at 8:50am, to the sign on the east side of Homewood Suites, and Ossie soon joins her. The overhang of the roof, combined with the generally south-westerly wind, offers shelter from the rain, in a spot where they can still keep watch on the nest. They both remain there until shortly after 10am. The weather turns sunny, so it's time to hunt again.

10:40am Lily and Ossie are back at the nest with another meal. Lily feeds the chicks, and Ossie sits on the Sheraton sign "t". above the west end of the nest. As the day grows warmer, the chicks settle down, and there is only minimal flapping throughout the afternoon. The quiet is interrupted by a quick meal around 1:30pm. This is the last feeding until 7pm. Lily is now starting to leave behind the remnants of meals, and the chicks are seen picking at them at different times between feedings. Could this be another lesson for the kids? Teach them not to waste food that might become scarce? The more we watch, the more we learn.


Tuesday, June 2, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea report: We hear and see Lily first in the early morning. Her calling can be heard over the chicks. The "T" of the Sheraton is her favourite early morning perch. Numerous feedings occurred throughout the morning. We observed Ossie on top of Homewood Suites, dressing one of his catches. When Ossie is preparing a meal, pushy Lily will call out to him repeatedly, and fly over to him making him fly away with the meal before he is finished dressing it. No patience for Lily. Ordinarily, Ossie lands at the nest with the prepared meal, and Lily takes it from him and feeds the chicks. At 8:35 she must have gotten really impatient (or caught a meal herself), because she shows up at the nest with a fresh undressed catch. She proceeds to remove feathers right there in front of the chicks (photo). It's possible that this was intentional. A lesson for Griffin and Whitehern, showing them what they need to do when they eventually start catching their own food.

An hour after that feeding, Ossie asserts himself by chasing off a crow over the David Braley parking lot. Later in the morning, Whitehern spent some time up on the ledge. The first time we've seen her spend more than a few moments up there. The afternoon started off quietly, with occasional flapping from Griffin. Around 3:00pm, Lily came to the ledge with food, to which the chicks responded very vocally. Around 5:30pm, Lily partook in her favourite activity: divebombing a gull. Right after, she landed on the nest ledge. Ossie came by a few minutes later with food, which Lily quickly grabbed and fed to the chicks. As usual, Ossie left shortly after dropping off the food. The remainder of the evening was quiet, with only a little more flapping from Griffin.


Monday, June 1, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinators Nathan and Chelsea report: Another cool morning and a beautiful sunrise seen. The chicks were quite vocal this morning. Griffin was observed walking along the ledge and flapping his wings. Lily appeared with a meal around 5:50am. Fifteen minutes later she flew off, quickly prepared another meal that had been caught by Ossie, and returned it to the nest. Lily then spent a couple of hours sitting with the chicks. Later in the morning she had a brief confrontation with a gull, chasing it off.

The chicks were fed again just after 11am (left photo). For most of the afternoon, the chicks were very quiet. Griffin spent much of his time up on the ledge, occasionally flapping (right photo). His sister still prefers to spend her time down on the gravel. Just before 6:00pm Lily brought the chicks some food. There was a bit of flapping from both chicks throughout the evening. All in all the evening was quiet.


Sunday, May 31, 2020 - Falcon Watch Coordinator Sara reports: The second day of the watch dawned cool and clear. The chicks were fed a meal at 6:13am and another at 8:19am. Lily was spotted divebombing a gull and a couple of hours later, she made alarm calls when a vulture was in the vicinity - either alerting a threat or teaching her young what could potentially be a threat. The chicks were seen often on the ledge. I could see many white feathers floating up in the air, as they continued the process of shedding their white colouring. Both chicks were seen flapping, and strengthening their wings, periodically throughout the day.

Twice today, I spotted one of the chicks slowly creeping up on Lily and nipping at her! The first time it happened, the chick hopped up to Lily, bumped her and Lily backed away. It looked like the chick had nipped at her and Lily appeared visibly annoyed. The second time it happened (around 14:00), the chick walked up to Lily, nipped at her and Lily flew from the ledge. I'm thinking someone might be feeling hangry.

A parent brought a meal to the nest at 19:03, and it appears that it was grabbed by (or maybe given to) Griffin. Lily took off, and Griffin carried the meal along the nest ledge (left photo) and then took it down onto the gravel. He is seen to pick at it, on and off, for the next 20 minutes or so. This may be Lily's first attempt to introduce the chicks to the idea of dealing with a meal on their own, rather than having it torn into tiny pieces for them. Ossie and Lily returned to the nest at 19:53 with another meal (right photo) and Lily fed them this time.


Saturday, May 30, 2020 - A limited form of Falcon Watch began today in downtown Hamilton. Due to Covid-19 restrictions we are unable to have a formal volunteer Falconwatch this year. We have, however, been able to hire coordinators and will bring you their daily reports. For the health and safety of our coordinators we ask that people not come downtown to watch the birds. The best way you can help this year is to let our coordinators work alone, in safety. Thank you!

Today (Saturday), Griffin spent a lot of time on the ledge, and was seen flapping (strengthening) his wings several times in the morning and later in the afternoon. Whitehern also ventured onto the ledge a couple of times. Shortly after 12 noon an adult was seen nearby, chasing, swooping, and finally swoop diving a bald eagle, who quickly left the area! A similar chase took place later in the afternoon with both adults being very vocal and driving away another very large bird. The chicks were well fed, as usual.

As the days grow warmer, both chicks will spend a lot of their time hiding out from the hot summer sun (also sometimes from our camera) and they will spend long hours laying quite still. So if you look at the camera images and don't see a bird, or they don't move, please rest assured there is no cause for concern. Falcons are just being falcons!


Saturday, May 23, 2020 - There is no doubting that Lily and Ossie are superb peregrine parents, keeping Griffin and Whitehern well fed. The chicks have pretty much reached their full body size, and now the white chick down is starting to give way to their juvenile brown flight feathers. Whitehern gave watchers a tiny scare yesterday (May 22) when she jumped up onto the nest ledge in pursuit of a meal. A performance that, fortunately, has not been repeated since. But it won't be long before both chicks are exercising their wings and building strength for those critical first flights!

This photo nicely captures a trait of Peregrine Falcons (and several other species of raptors) called sexual dimorphism. The femal Peregrine is typically about 40% larger and heavier than her male counterpart. Compare the size of their beaks. It is quite obvious that it is Griffin in the foreground. This is not a difference due to age. They were hatched within 12 hours of each other.


Saturday, May 16, 2020 - Banding went smoothly today, with our two chicks being in good health, and quite vocal about the whole process. The first chick banded was a male, weighing 517 grams, and was given the name Griffin (left photo). The second was determined to be female, based on the weight of 720 grams. Her name is Whitehern (right photo). Both were named for museums in the city of Hamilton. Click either photo to enlarge.

As a special treat, here are two short videos of Griffin and Whitehern being banded.


Saturday, May 16, 2020 - As you may have noticed on the webcam, a climber descended the front of the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel today, just after noon, and gathered up our two chicks, who were brought inside for banding. The chicks were returned to the nest after about half an hour. We will update with their names and photos soon.


Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - Hamilton Falconwatch would like to say a big THANK YOU to Colin Watson at the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel for helping us get Camera #2 once more operating. With the hotel closed right now, this is very much appreciated. The wider view will allow us to watch as Ossie brings meals to Lily (picture at left), who then feeds the chicks. At this point it seems certain that the third egg, spotted in a few photos last week, will not be hatching. This is not a concern. In the wild there is often one or two eggs that do not hatch.


Tuesday, April 28, 2020 - Shortly after 8am this morning, Lily left the nest, and as Ossie came in to replace her, a beautiful white head poked up above the edge of the ledge (first photo). A few minutes later Lily returned with the first meal, and during feeding it became obvious that she was feeding a second chick. At 12:30, more food was brought to the nest, and we got a clear look at both chicks (second photo). Judging by the dry white down on the chicks, it seems likely that the first hatching occurred sometime overnight. Will there be more? With this year's brooding conditions having been optimal, we can't see why not. Hatching can occur over a span of several days. So we will be watching feedings closely, to see how many heads poke out in the days to come!


Monday, April 27, 2020 - Now is the time to keep a close watch on the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel nest as the time approaches for hatching. We have been seeing reports of hatching at other nests in the golden horseshoe, and these birds started laying their eggs just a few days earlier than Lily. So, it seems quite reasonable to expect that they hatched a few days earlier too, and ours are next!


Thursday, April 9, 2020 - Lily and Ossie are now well into the task of incubating their eggs. They began steady incubation around March 25th. That means a week of laying, so the chances are good that they have laid an average size clutch of 4 eggs. But we won't know for sure until hatching time. The pair have been very good at hiding them from our view. We caught one glimpse on March 26th that shows two eggs (photo at left).

Unlike last year, our early spring has not been interrupted by any harsh weather, and the temperatures have stayed consistently warm. This gives falcon watchers strong hopes that we will see a nest full of chicks this year. With luck, they will start appearing around the last days of April.


Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - Well, there will be no guessing games about whether we have eggs this year! This morning, at 9:40, Ossie did us all a favor and rolled a freshly laid egg into view, for us to admire (photo at left).

Judging by Lily's behavior in recent days, we are fairly sure this is her first one for the year. This is further confirmed by the length of time she is spending off the egg. This is typical falcon behavior. Keeping the first egg(s) cool slows their development, so that all the eggs, even though laid over the course of a week, will hatch within a few days of each other.


Monday, March 2, 2020 - Falcon instincts run deep. As the days lengthen, Lily and Ossie know, just as we do, that warmer days are on their way. So Ossie is beginning to 'court' Lily, bringing her meals (photo at left). This helps Lily gain the extra body weight for the soon-to-come task of producing eggs, as well as satisfying Lily's instincts that Ossie needs to be a good provider for her when she cannot take time away from incubating eggs to go hunting.

Yes, Ossie will take brief turns sitting on the eggs. But Lily prefers the greater coverage that her larger body provides for the eggs. Had you noticed that Lily is larger than Ossie? This is called sexual dimorphism. Female raptors are noticeably larger than their mates, so their bodies have room for the eggs they produce. We are looking forward to seeing what Lily produces this year! We should see the first egg towards the end of March.


Thursday, January 2, 2020 - Lily and Ossie paid a visit to the ledge this afternoon. They have been doing so quite regularly all winter. As soon as the weather warms up in March, we hope to see a new clutch of eggs.


Hamilton's resident adult pair, Lily and Ossie, are celebrating the fifth anniversary of their arrival in Hamilton, and will begin their sixth nesting season on the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel very soon.

Lily was banded in 2010 at the Grand Haven Board of Light & Power plant, in Michigan, and Ossie fledged from the Osler Hospital in Etobicoke in 2012.

In 2019, Lily laid several eggs, but sadly, none of them hatched. This is not the first time eggs have failed for the pair, and while we don't know for certain, we are guessing that cold weather was partly to blame. The pair's most recent successful clutch was the year before, when three chicks fledged from the nest.

We will once again be looking for volunteers to help us with the on-street watch during the critical period when chicks are making their first flights, in June. Perhaps you will join us this year?

Many bird species exhibit a trait called 'site fidelity'. If at least one of a pair that used a nest site in the previous year returns, and if there have been no significant physical changes to disturb either the nest itself or the birds generally, they will use the same nest site year after year. Peregrine Falcons are known for site fidelity. This will be the twenty-sixth year the same nest site on the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel has been used.

To read FalconWatch Reports from previous years, click on the History button above.

Thank you to all our visitors and supporters for your ongoing 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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