Hamilton Falconwatch News

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

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

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

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


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


Saturday, May 19, 2018 – Helicopters passing by in the distance are a regular event at the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel, but a helicopter circling low right overhead the former Stelco building on the afternoon of May 16 was definitely new to the city and to the Peregrines. In the image at left Lily can be seen looking up at the interloper, but the chicks weren’t paying much attention. Stopping the exercise really wasn’t necessary, but we sincerely thank the Canadian Armed Forces for their concern that the Peregrines would be bothered by the noise and activity. The chicks also benefited from the close attention of all four major media outlets in town - CBC Hamilton, CHCH TV, CHML Radio and the Hamilton Spectator.

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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

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

In 2017, the pair produced several eggs, but sadly, none hatched. There was no evident reason for this failure, as temperatures were not particularly low during brooding. We will have to watch and see how things proceed this year.

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

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

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

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

Thank you to all our visitors and supporters for your ongoing encouragement.

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

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