Hamilton Falconwatch News

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Saturday, May 15, 2021 - It has been a week since we should have seen our first chick, and it appears that Lily has accepted the fact that these eggs are not going to hatch. As the week progressed, she spent less and less time on the nest, and in the last 24 hours she hasn't been on the eggs more than a few minutes. She has also been seen poking around the far end of the nest ledge, which is typical behavior for after nesting season.

But, it is also typical behavior for before nesting season, and there is a small ray of hope. She has been allowing Judson to come closer (left photo), and he might just be eager enough to convince her to try for a second clutch. Lily has not attempted one before, but there is always a first for everything. We will watch to see if Judson starts courting her, and bringing her meals.

But things are not (yet) smooth sailing for the falcons in Hamilton. In the past week we have observed another adult in the area, spending most of its time on the BDC building, a block away from the Sheraton nest site. We have not been able to get a close enough look at this bird, so we cannot tell if it is Ossie, healing up from a previous battle, and still willing to try again, or if in fact this is a new female that was previously paired up with Judson. There were reports, in the week before Judson's appearance, of another peregrine pair being sighted first in west Hamilton, then up near Ancaster. We don't know if that pair moved on, or they came here.

The three of them were seen once circling the BDC building and calling to each other, but no battles have been seen. And there was one report of a fourth peregrine, seen flying away from the downtown core. So, while we may not have any chicks this year, the skies over Hamilton are going to be interesting for a while yet! If you are downtown, keep an eye on the skies. If you see anything of note, please report it to our facebook group.


Saturday, May 8, 2021 - With mere days or even hours to go before Hamilton chicks hatch, a new adult peregrine has appeared on the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel. Shortly after 9am, while Lily was brooding her eggs, this adult landed on the second ledge, and appeared to settle in, with no apparent reaction from Lily. We were able to observe his bands, and begin the process of identification.

Afternoon update: We have now identified this bird as a male named Judson, fledged in 2018 from the Richardson Complex in Buffalo, New York. And in a delightful turn of events, one of his parents is Felker who fledged from Hamilton in 2012! So the prodigal (grand)son of Madame X and Surge returns!

Later on in the day, Judson landed on the main nest ledge once, again without too much reaction from Lily. From this, we deduce that Ossie may have lost a territorial battle and been driven off. Always a bit sad to see one of our falcons go, but this is the way of nature. Lily will soon adjust to this new situation, and hopefully by the time the chicks are little eating machines, Judson will be hunting for them, just as Ossie would have.


Friday, April 30, 2021 - In Hamilton it is an average of 38 days from the time the first egg is laid until they start to hatch. So, as we draw closer to May 7, we will begin to watch closely, and hopefully, for signs of little beaks, which will be visible when Lily and Ossie start bringing meals.


Wednesday, April 21, 2021 - With two weeks to go until we can expect to see hatching chicks, Lily is bravely enduring the usual April weather. A week ago she was absolutely soaked by torrential rains (left photo) while keeping her eggs warm and dry. Last night, she stayed nestled down on top of them as cold temperatures and a late April snow descended. Ossie arrived just before 9 am this morning (right photo), and took over brooding while Lily flew off to get a meal and dry off. With luck, this will be the last cold weather we see this year.


Monday, April 5, 2021 - Based on the falcon's brooding behavior, observed over the past five days, we were fairly sure we had at least one egg. But it's still good to see one! Falcons turn their eggs frequently, and when this happens, they move them about a bit. This afternoon, Ossie moved an egg into view. How many more might there be, and how many will hatch? We'll know in a month.


Wednesday, March 31, 2021 - As late as 3 o'clock this morning, Lily could be seen still checking out the far corner of the nest ledge. But then, around 4:30, she made her decision, and settled down in the near corner, and stayed there for the next three hours, despite a bit of rain. Only coming out when Ossie brought her a meal at 7:15. She spent most of the rest of the day in that corner, leading falcon watchers to believe that the first egg of the 2021 season has been laid. Of course, she's so deep into that corner, we have no chance of seeing it yet. But we'll keep the camera focused there, hoping to catch a glimpse soon. The clock is now officially ticking, and in about a month we can start watching for fluffy white chicks to appear.


Wednesday, March 24, 2021 - Every year, as nesting season approaches, we watch Ossie and Lily have this "discussion" in body language, where he seems to be trying to convince her that the far end of the nest ledge is the better location for the scrape. Today, we caught sight of Lily digging around in that scrape at the far end. Could she be seriously considering his idea? How long will it be until she makes her decision? Keep an eye on that camera! Eggs should be coming soon!


Wednesday, March 17, 2021 -
Cheeky - adjective - Definition:
← This pigeon.

Seriously? Does it not know that Ossie is currently bringing Lily lots of food in preparation for egg-laying? This time last year we had our first egg. Judging by the activity around the nest, we won't be waiting much longer to see this year's first egg. You, dear pigeon, are living very dangerously.


We wanted to express our appreciation to all the people who remembered us over the winter holiday season and made a gift to FalconWatch. As well as everyone else who donated throughout the year. Those donations enabled us to hire our coordinators at a time when we could not ask for any volunteers, and that meant that Griffin was rescued and received vital care when he had his mishap in June. Your donations quite literally saved a falcon. So, THANK YOU!


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

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 2020, the pair hatched two chicks. One of them had to be rescued after a collision with a building, and spent several weeks recovering at the Owl Foundation (to whom we are extremely grateful). This chick disappeared a few days after being returned to the nest. At first we feared the worst, but we eventually received word that this chick had been seen hopping along a cliff top near Lake Ontario. So our 2020 season ended on a high note, with both chicks having fledged successfully.

With the Covid-19 pandemic stretching into its second year, we strongly expect that, just as we did last year, once again we will not be able to accept the help of volunteer on-street watchers during the nesting season. In this case, your kind financial assistance makes all the difference, as this pays for our coordinators, who keep our chicks safe.

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-seventh 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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