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ON THEIR OWN NOW

Jump Up and Blue Foot, 21 June 2007

July 20, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike signs off: It is in years like this that we come to truly understand the purpose of Falconwatch. Without the dedication of volunteers, Jump Up likely would not have survived her excursion into the King Street parking garage. Without intervention on banding day, Blue Foot would have succumbed to her infection. Instead, Falconwatch 2007 resulted in two healthy and feisty young falcons. Everyone should be proud.

My last official watch shift ended with Jump Up and Blue Foot zipping east along King Street, chasing each other and making a commotion. If you want to find them in the next little while, try the antenna of the Fairclough building. It seems to be their latest goal and I have yet to see them attain it.

Thank you to everyone with whom I had the pleasure of working this year. I look forward to many more years of success at the Hamilton nest site!

Anyone interested in volunteering to help keep an eye on the birds next year can contact us by email at: falcons@hamiltonnature.org

July 13, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: This morning Blue Foot was sitting on the Fairclough building minding her own business when an American Kestrel decided it did not want the falcon there. The Kestrel dived at Blue Foot for several minutes, zipping over her head. Looking bored, Blue Foot finally had enough and flew away. The Kestrel, however, stayed on the Fairclough antenna for half an hour, ready for a fight. None of the Peregrines bothered it.

July 12, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: Each year at the beginning of the season, falconwatchers spend hours sitting and staring, waiting to see a chick show itself on the nest ledge. The same is true at the end of the Falconwatch. The birds become harder and harder to find, and we spend more time waiting for something to happen. Although it is sad to see Jump Up and Blue Foot less and less, it is also a wonderful thing because it means that they are healthy and doing exactly what they should be! Patience is often rewarded when two dark forms suddenly streak across the sky, screaming and chasing each other, letting the whole world know that they are alive and well. It will soon be time to leave Jump Up and Blue Foot to take care of themselves, and watchers to await next year's brood.

July 10, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: Some people were afraid that Blue Foot would not be accepted upon her return from Guelph. On the contrary, she and Jump Up are a close knit pair. Although they are getting older, the youngsters are still very closely bonded. They stayed close together all through Monday evening, moving from one building to the next and chasing each other along rooftops, with plenty of beak and talon touching.

July 9, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: Jump Up and Blue Foot are continuing to do well. On Sunday evening Blue Foot scared up a large flock of pigeons in Gore Park. We often see the youngsters carrying prey, but we have been unable to determine whether they are taking the food from the parents or hunting for themselves. Although Jump Up spends more time relaxing than her sister, she is quite capable of moving into action when she wants to, often diving through downtown or soaring high above the Stelco tower.We will continue to keep you updated for a few more days.

July 8, 2007 – Falconwatch Lead Monitor Audrey Gamble reports for Coordinator Kelly Pike: After the unusual start to our season what pure joy it is to watch Blue foot and Jump Up develop so beautifully and display such strong sibling bonding (and rivalry!). Thanks to all of you who have been in touch with us over the season with questions, suggestions, concerns and good wishes.

On Saturday morning the girls were flying well and making strong landings. Both were on the Fairclough building where we had a nice close view and where Jump Up took a food drop from an adult. Possession is nine tenths... and the Queen of Mantle put on a terrific display of ownership and dominance over breakfast. As always Blue Foot wheedled her way into her sister's graces and wrestled part of the meal away. They spent a long while playing around on Fairclough. Never one to sit idle, Blue Foot headed off for adventure at the home of our local American Kestrel family and landed high in a tree at Whitehern. There's no better way to find out how many birds live in a city block than to drop a Peregrine into their tree. The neighbourhood song birds buzzed and swarmed around until Blue Foot relocated. She visited several interesting perches before we left the girls for the day. When we rejoined them in the evening Blue foot entertained with stellar soaring, swooping and hunting while her night owl sister perched on BDC outwaiting the daylight. At one point Blue Foot screamed by in tandem with Madame X. When the dust settled on the Scarfone Hawkins building Blue Foot was mantling (every bit as well as her big sister does) a sizable meal while Madame X watched over her from a perch on an aerial. As dark fell Blue Foot was still enjoying the fruits of her labour, and right on schedule at 21:20 Jump Up zoomed out of view.

July 6, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: Thursday was fairly quiet for our two youngsters. Both sat out and enjoyed the morning thunderstorm, then spent the rest of the day relaxing with the exception of a few dives at pigeons and gulls. Jump Up and Blue Foot are beginning to venture further from their nest site and are becoming harder to keep track ofso we have ended dawn to dusk coverage of the Peregrines. We are confident in their abilities to take care of themselves now, but don't worry, there will still be people around to monitor them during times of busiest activity. Thanks to all those who helped out over the last few weeks. We will continue to keep you updated. Anyone interested in volunteering to help keep an eye on the birds next year can contact us by email at: falcons@hamiltonnature.org

July 5, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: It is getting to the point where falconwatchers are worrying less about the safety of Jump Up and Blue Foot. This is the best time, when we get to relax a bit and enjoy the aerobatics of the young Peregrines, and they are not disappointing us. The birds made several flights Wednesday morning, then were fairly quiet during the rainy period. Around 18:00 Blue Foot dive bombed a remote control helicopter in Jackson Square Plaza. She stooped after it several times below the tree line, coming within feet of her target, before heading back to higher ground. This girl knows she was born to hunt! Jump Up’s flights have been strong, if not as spectacular.

July 4, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: Like other Peregrines, Jump Up and Blue Foot are very curious. They like to inspect wires, pieces of material and anything else that is shiny, flashy, or moves in the wind. The youngsters are always finding something to get themselves into! Both are flying well, although Jump Up is still behind her sister. Early Tuesday afternoon Blue Foot took a thermal so high she was almost out of sight, then came roaring back down in a classic Peregrine stoop. They are also getting more aggressive. Around 20:00 an adult brought food to the Stelco building to pluck. Blue Foot roared over from the Sheraton roof, knocked the adult from Stelco and proceeded to eat the stolen food. Jump Up protested with loud screeching and was fed shortly afterwards.

July 3, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: Monday was another busy day for Jump Up and Blue Foot. In the morning they were seen talon touching and even chasing a starling. They often fly close together, sometimes chasing the adults. The youngsters - 'chicks' doesn't seem right any more - are still being fed by Madame X and Surge, but we expect the adults to start teaching them to hunt for themselves any minute now.

July 2, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: Once Peregrine Falcon chicks begin to fly, it is amazing how quickly they progress. Blue Foot and Jump Up are both able to make long flights and gain high altitudes, soaring way above us. Often it is difficult to tell the chicks apart from their parents. Our two continue to stay close to each other. Today they spent much of their time on the Fairclough building; in the evening they could be seen playing, attacking pipes and jumping on each other. Soon they will begin learning to hunt, a whole new thrill for falconwatchers.

July 1, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: Happy Canada Day everyone! For the first time since her adventurous trip into the Jackson Square parking garage ten days ago, Jump Up has taken to the air. Around 08:10 Saturday morning she made a strong flight and landed on the Standard Life building. This seemed to build her confidence and she and her sister made several flights during the day. At 15:15 Blue Foot flew south and disappeared from view. We were resigned to waiting for her return after vigorously searching the rooftops and ledges all over the downtown area. She returned at 18:30 to join Jump Up, then perched on the Fairclough building. A short while later an adult brought food to Standard Life and both chicks flew over for dinner. A tug of war ensued, followed by all three birds tumbling from the edge. After several flybys they all regained height and returned to Standard Life to feed. Later Surge could be seen playing with the chicks, encouraging them to chase after him. A great day! !

June 30, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: Blue Foot kept us very busy Friday - she is a great flier! By 11:15 she had flown from the Sheraton to the Fairclough building and then WAY UP to the top of the Stelco tower where she remained for the afternoon. In the evening she made numerous flights, often flying so far east and west that we could hardly see her. At first her landings were shaky, but they quickly improved with each flight. At 21:15 we thought the night was winding down, but Blue Foot had other ideas. She flew from the Sheraton, hit the face of Standard Life and tumbled down out of our view. With our hearts racing we chased after her. Moments later she reappeared on the Thompson building, flapping and clearly no worse for wear. She then made her way back to the Sheraton to roost with her sister for the night. Jump Up continues to bide her time on the roof of the Sheraton, but we expect great things from her when the time is right.

Once the youngsters have left the nest the adult peregrines do some maintenance. The image at left shows both Madame X and Surge in the ledge at 14:00 yesterday. Madame X was moving some of the gravel around.

June 29, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: At 12:10 Thursday afternoon Blue Foot lifted off from the Sheraton roof, flew west to the Standard Life building, then back toward the Sheraton, trying to gain height and reach the roof. Not quite successful the first or second time, she then made a strong flight over the Thompson building where she landed in the shallow water pan of the air conditioning system!!! After a minute or two of getting her bearings she hopped up onto an nearby beam and started exploring.

At 17:30 Blue Foot decided it was time to leave the Thompson building. She made a nice circle over King Street and the school board parking lot, then steamed for the Sheraton roof where Jump Up was waiting. This is impressive since the Thompson roof is six or seven stories lower and Blue Foot had to gain significant height to reach her destination. Her landing was less than graceful, but she made it nonetheless. Hopefully Blue Foot's antics will convince Jump Up that it is time for her to also start flying! Blue Foot has certainly had some experiences! Jump Up spent most of the day on the upper ledge of the Sheraton and on the arm of the camera mount, looking around and testing her wings. The two chicks spent the evening playfully chasing each other around the Sheraton roof ledge.

June 28, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: A quiet Wednesday ended with an exciting evening. Just before dark Blue Foot hopped and flapped her way west and stood on the camera arm facing the nest ledge. She stayed there for a while, flapping and getting air under her feet, with Falconwatchers on the edge of their seats thinking she might make a leap into the nest. Instead Blue Foot was distracted away from the camera when the adults delivered food. Where will falconwatchers find Blue Foot and Jump Up tomorrow?

June 27, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: It has been nearly a week since Jump Up took her first flight, and she seems reluctant to try again! She spent half of the day sitting precariously on the ledge, peering down at the city below. The two chicks appear to have re-bonded nicely, often sitting side by side and beak touching. They even share food when it arrives, although not very amicably!  We expect to see both of them flying very soon.

We have been asked exactly where the birds are spending their time. They are on the uppermost parapet or ledge of the main Sheraton Hamilton Hotel structure. This ledge is at the top of a three foot wall that rises above the gravel roof and runs just below the base of our TV camera. Its corner, near the camera, is about 10 feet above and 10 feet away from the nest ledge. Unfortunately the camera is on a fixed mount, so cannot be moved to pick up the birds.

June 26, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: Monday was the first time we got to see Jump Up and Blue Foot being fed together. The first food drop arrived at 07:30 and was gobbled greedily by Jump Up alone. About half an hour later Surge brought another large meal that was taken to the ledge to be cleaned by Madame X. Blue Foot, having not eaten any of the previous delivery, kicked her mother off the ledge and began eating the still feathered food. After she ate for a while Jump Up joined in to get a share. The heat of the afternoon kept the chicks laying low, but they were up and about again in the evening. A bedtime snack brought in around 21:15 was grudgingly shared and they waited on the ledge for more.

June 25, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: After Blue Foot was released on the roof yesterday, she immediately began to explore. She flapped and hopped and quickly covered much of the roof. Several times she visited the corner where Jump Up was tucked away. It took Blue Foot only a few hours to make her way to the upper ledge of the roof, where she proceeded to spend much time looking down at Jump Up. She seemed very comfortable sitting up on the ledge surveying her surroundings; it was as though she had never left. Around 19:30 Jump Up finally emerged from hiding and joined Blue Foot on the ledge. Blue Foot seemed very happy to see her sister, and followed her so closely along the ledge that Blue Foot's foot could often been seen covering Jump Up's tail. There was even some beak touching. At last report the two chicks were sitting side by side on the ledge. The parents were hanging about but had not brought food to the youngsters. Today should be interesting!

Blue Foot just released on the Sheraton roof, 14:00, Sunday, 24 June 2007

June 24, 2007 Part 2 – At 14:00 today Blue Foot was returned to the roof of the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel to join her sister. A log was brought from the care facility to give her something familiar. When the box cover was opened Blue Foot pushed her way out and immediately hopped up on the log. Both parents were flying noisily overhead. As soon as the volunteers cleared the roof Madame X landed on the TV camera to take a good look. While all this was going on Jump Up watched from the corner. At last report Blue Foot is very active and Jump Up is not quite sure what's happening. More news tomorrow.

June 24, 2007 Part 1 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: Jump Up didn't on Saturday. She was back on the roof at dawn and stayed there relaxing in the shadows during the hot part of the day, only beetling out to explore once the cool of the evening fell. She ate twice during the evening - while she doesn't yet use her wings to fly she sure knows how to mantle a meal. Jump Up snatched food from Surge and bolted away, draping her wings around it and giving him the evil eye over her shoulder. No chance he was going to change his mind and take it back from that girl. The adults gave her some closeup daytime flying demonstrations and in the evening Surge swooped around over her with food before he delivered her bedtime snack. Jump Up was more adventurous and curious on the rooftop surfaces after dinner but didn't make the jump up to the upper roof ledge before we left. We were really hoping to see how graceful (or not!) the procedure is. Looks like we'll have to wait until tomorrow.

June 23, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: Friday was mostly quiet.  Jump Up spent the day hanging out on the Sheraton roof, occasionally walking out into the center part away from the wall. It seems that after her first experience with flying she may be a little reluctant to fly again! Then at 21:20 PM Jump Up finally did. For the first time since being released on the roof Thursday afternoon she jumped from the roof surface, popped up on the south ledge of the Sheraton above King St. and made her way towards the camera. She paced back and forth for about half an hour and eyed the camera arm longingly, but never quite got up the nerve to make that jump. By 22:00 it seemed she had decided to sleep on the decision and we bid her goodnight. She was a pretty sight on the ledge silhouetted against the night sky with the stars shining in the background. I bet the morning crew won't find her where we left her!

June 22, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: After returning to the Sheraton roof yesterday afternoon Jump Up spent most of her time tucked into a corner in the shade while volunteers waited anxiously for her to be visited by her parents.  Just before dark both adults came in with food and encouragement and all three could be seen sitting together - a nice family reunion! In the pictures above Jump-Up is at left during the examination. We also had a look at Blue Foot, whose feet are starting to go grey. She is doing very well, as you can see at right, but is not quite as fully developed as her sister. We expect to see her back very soon. Can't wait to see what Friday has in store!

June 21, 2007 Part 2 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: What a day! At 05:45 this morning Jump Up took her first flight, visiting the former Stelco Building briefly before landing a short distance away on the roof of the Thompson Building right next to the Sheraton Hotel. She was watched closely from our viewing station on the 24th floor of the Stelco Building and from ground level. By 08:15 she had come off the roof of the Thompson building, dropped down first to the Jackson Square Plaza Level, then to the ramp leading to the underground parking lot and then about 30m INTO the garage! At that point Falconwatch volunteers took her in hand. (This is why volunteers are needed!) Jump Up was taken for a medical check which she passed with flying colours, then brought back to Hamilton and returned to the Sheraton roof at 14:15 this afternoon. Volunters are watching carefully.
June 21, 2007 Part 1– Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: Jump Up was quiet during most of the day, but was active in the early morning and late evening hours. This was good considering 20 visitors came to see her at the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club Wednesday Night Walk. Madame X delivered a couple of very large food items, giving only part to Jump Up before taking the rest away for herself, likely trying to entice the chick out of the nest. The visitors got a real treat when Madame X zoomed right overhead on a chase and a few minutes later brought food to a madly flapping and very noisy Jump Up. The image at left, taken at 05:49 Wednesday, shows her helicoptering over the ledge. It won’t be long now.
Blue Foot is coming along well as can be seen in this picture (courtesy OMNR), taken on June 14. We expect to see her back soon, but the exact date will be determined by her development. She has to look pretty much like her sister does now before she’s ready for release.

June 20, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: What a great Tuesday for Falconwatchers! Jump Up took advantage of the wind currents and spent lots of time flapping on the edge of the ledge, often lifting both feet into the air. In the image at left, taken around 06:40, both feet are just off the surface. She also loved rain, and flapped and danced on the ledge for a good portion of the afternoon thunderstorm. The parents are staying close by and are tempting Jump Up to fly by cruising low in front of her. The adults also spent time chasing gulls several times during the morning.

If you have wanted to visit Falconwatch but have not yet had the opportunity to do so, TODAY'S THE DAY! The Hamilton Naturalists’ Club Wednesday Night Walk makes its annual visit at 6:30PM this evening. Volunteers will be available to explain what is happening and help visitors see the birds. Everyone is welcome. Directions: From Highway 403 take the Main Street East(bound) exit and follow Main Street approximately 2km downtown to Bay Street, then turn left and go half a block. There is a large Municipal parking lot on the south west corner of Bay and King Streets (bring change for park and display machines). The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board parking lot is located directly across Bay Street.

June 19, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: Monday was another fairly quiet day. At 14:40 Jump Up was flapping and squawking at Madame X, who was flying overhead. Madame X landed on the ledge to join her in the nest but Jump Up, seeing that mother had no food, chose to ignore her and went straight under the nest ledge to sleep. The parents made up for it by feeding her several times after 19:30. Jump Up is exercising her wings often; in the image at left the blurring is due to quickly moving wings, not a shaking camera.

June 18, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: The dawn-to-dusk Falconwatch officially started yesterday. You may see volunteers in the Sheraton area with orange vests and walkie-talkies in hand, ready to follow Jump Up on her first flight. The heat kept the birds laying low for most of the day, although several times Jump Up got very excited, flapping her wings and squawking at her parents (mostly for food). The adults often work together, with Surge bringing in some delicacy and Madame X feeding it to Jump Up. At last word Blue Foot was still doing well and we hope to see her back later this week.

June 17, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: Jump Up is spending more and more time flapping her wings, as seen (left) at 06:59 today. Her white down is disappearing quickly and she is beginning to look more like Madame X. Watchers next expect to see her running and hopping along the ledge with her wings open. That first flight could be any day now!

June 16, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: Friday was quiet. Jump Up was again on the ledge at dawn. She had an early morning wing workout, followed by breakfast at 07:50, then an afternoon nap. She spent the later part of the day sitting on the ledge surveying her surroundings until she received dinner at 20:25. It's hard to believe that she is still a chick when you see that big wingspan! Seeing a chick resting on the ledge is unusual. Veteran Falconwatchers think this is simply because there is only one bird in the nest; we are used to three or four chicks at a time, when there normally isn’t room to sprawl as Jump Up is doing (left, at 20:50 Thursday evening).

June 15, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: The temperature was cooler yesterday, with a nice breeze, so Jump Up spent more time on the ledge than in the last few days.  Both adults visited at 07:12 (left). She spent the morning exercising her wings, then after a relatively brief nap returned to the ledge by mid-afternoon to give us an impressive display, flapping on the edge of the ledge close to the camera. Each day she shows more strength than the day before.

June 14, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: There is nothing wrong with Jump Up's appetite. On Wednesday food arrived at around 09:50. She was left to eat the meal herself, which took 20 minutes.  According to the webcam, this was already the second feeding of the day. In the evening she received substantial portions of food at 20:20 (above) and 20:55, and was fed by Madame X both times. Jump Up continues to spend early mornings and late evenings sitting on the ledge.  Although she still has lots of white down, there is less and less each day and she is coming along nicely!

June 13, 2007 – Falconwatch Coordinator Kelly Pike reports: Jump Up was already on the ledge at dawn yesterday and stayed there for several hours. Breakfast came around 10:40 when Madame X dropped a large chunk of food on the ledge and left. Jump Up, very hungry and eager, wasted no time dragging it into the nest and devouring it on her own. It took half an hour to finish. The rest of the day was spent laying low and trying to stay cool, with the parents taking turns keeping Jump Up company in the nest. Later Madame X decided to feed her dinner, rather than having her feed herself; this feeding lasted only a few minutes. The day ended as it began, with Jump Up sitting on the ledge. A report last evening tells us that Blue Foot is doing very well and has gained weight. The image at left was taken at 06:04 today.

June 12, 2007 - It's hard to believe that the bird in the image at left (taken at 06:15 this morning) is the same fluffy, white chick seen at banding just one week ago today. Even experienced Falconwatchers are always amazed at how fast the birds' first brown feathers replace the natal down once the process starts. Jump Up seems to be coming along nicely, jumping up to and down from the ledge, exercising her wings and letting the folks know she would like to be fed. Blue Foot continues to do well also, and we hope to see her back at the Sheraton next week.

Falconwatch 2007 officially starts today. Coordinator Kelly Pike will be on site or close by throughout the day and evening.

June 10, 2007 - Friday's dramatic weather didn't affect Jump Up's appetite. She fed heartily Friday night and several times on Saturday, and again at dawn this morning when room service - aka Madame X - arrived with breakfast at 06:03. As can be seen from the picture at left Jump Up ate with gusto. Note how much her feathers have darkened since Tuesday.

Blue Foot continues to receive medication for her infection and is reported to be doing very well. She is being cared for by professionals who stress the importance of maintaining her wild nature while delivering the treatment she needs. Many thanks to Dr. Taylor and his associates at OVC in Guelph.

June 7, 2007 - UPDATE: HCPP Lead Monitor Audrey Gamble writes: “Thanks to everyone who contacted us about the chicks. When two disappeared from view last week we contacted authorities and monitored the nest closely. It appeared they had died of an unknown cause. At banding Tuesday both surviving chicks were found to have a respiratory tract infection. Ministry of Natural Resources biologists advised that other peregrine nests had similar cases this spring, and a chick in Port Colborne had died from it. The infection is caused by a naturally occurring organism common to pigeons. Nature often sees cycles when conditions come together to allow an infection to flourish. There was no evidence of the missing chicks at banding, so we cannot be 100% sure why they did not make it. Peregrines are known to remove perished young from the nest.

One of the treats for HCPP is to give the chicks names that will go on their official banding record. Special names had been selected for the 2007 brood but under the circumstances we postponed naming. With the way things unfolded, however, the girls seem to have suggested their own names, so we decided to call them ‘Blue Foot’ and ‘Jump Up’. (Thanks to all who sent terrific name suggestions.) We are keeping a close eye on Jump Up. Judging by the picture (above, left) from yesterday afternoon it may not be long before she jumps up again. This morning’s image (left) shows how much Jump Up’s colour has changed just since Tuesday. We hope the best for Blue Foot in Guelph and hope to return her to the nest soon. We will pass along information as it becomes available.>

You can see a video of Tuesday's banding at the link below (video will display in new window).

Hamilton Spectator Banding Video

June 6, 2007 - UPDATE: While Madame X was sitting close by on the upper ledge the chick in the nest popped its head out of the near corner around 5:13 this morning. The chick at OVC in Guelph was doing well when left there yesterday. During the banding Falconwatchers were able to confirm that this year's male adult is again Surge.

June 5, 2007 - Part 2 - This has not been a 'normal' Peregrine banding! Climber John Millar had no trouble getting the first chick into the container, but when the second one jumped up on the ledge - and looked as though it wanted to keep going - it was decided to leave it alone for the moment. The first bird, shown at left, was weighed (854g - a female), banded and examined. She has a microbial infection which could cause trouble, so she is on her way to the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph for further checks. Note her blue feet. Normally chicks' feet change to yellow in the first few weeks, but one of last year's chicks had blue feet when she fledged, a month after banding.

When the second chick came down off the ledge John made a second descent. The bird cooperated this time and was whisked upstairs for its debut. It too is a female (936g). Because she is in better shape than the first bird it was decided to put her back in the nest for the adults to look after. Check out the BIG yellow feet! In the picture at left you can see the bander attaching the metal band on her right leg.

These birds are tough, but keep your fingers crossed!

June 5, 2007 - Part 1 - If around 10:30-11:00 this morning you see a pair of feet in the webcam picture, don't worry! Today a climber will descend from the roof of the Sheraton to the nest ledge. After the chicks are placed in a container they will be raised up and brought inside the hotel. They will be checked over by biologists, weighed, banded and named, then returned to the nest. In the picture above, taken at 16:24 yesterday afternoon, it looks as though Madame X is filling the two chicks in on what is going to happen today.

June 3, 2007 - Thanks to the Falconwatchers who have written to us about the birds in the last few days. We are concerned too. Two of the chicks are doing well, as can be seen from the image at left taken at 05:44 today, but we have been unable to determine the status of the other two. We are in touch with the authorities on this situation. Banding will take place on Tuesday, June 5 and we will know more then.

June 1, 2007 - At some point in time every parent realizes that their offspring are really getting big. This may have happened to Madame X at 06:47 today as she was feeding these two chicks without having to bend down too much. The dark colour on the lower back of the left chick is another indication of growth - these are feathers replacing the white natal down. We will get a really close look at the chicks when they are banded next Tuesday, June 5.

May 29, 2007 - What do the chicks see when they look at the camera? Often it's Mom. Here's Madame X perched on the webcam keeping an eye on things.

May 28, 2007 - Remember when the chicks were just little balls of white fluff? That was only 20 days ago. Look at them now! This image was captured at 06:58 today. It won't be long before they'll be wanting to get up on the ledge!

May 26, 2007 - Here's an image taken at 06:10 this morning of Madame X feeding the four chicks. When she started this feeding the older (and bigger) chicks pushed up front but after a while the smaller ones got their share too.

How do we know the adult is Madame X? The size and shape of the dark triangular mark on the side of her face tells us. The same mark on the male is long and narrow.

May 25, 2007 - In this image, captured at 07:09 this morning, it almost looks as though the chicks are saying, "Now what will we do today?" As they get more active the camera will be moved back to show more of the ledge so we can all see the action (or lack of it - they are sometimes pretty boring).

May 24, 2007 - This is where the chicks live, the Hamilton Sheraton Hotel. The nest ledge is right under the 'n' of the 'Sheraton' sign and has been used by Peregrines every year since 1995. In addition to a TV monitor in the hotel lobby showing the chicks, Sheraton guests can see the live webcam pictures via Channel 62 on their room TVs!

May 23, 2007 - Does the male Peregrine feed the chicks? He sure does! This picture was captured at 08:30 this morning.

Why is Madame X leaving the chicks alone for such long intervals? She isn't. At 9:00PM Monday night she was sitting on top of the television camera watching over them. She will do this more and more as the youngsters get bigger.

May 21, 2007 - At 06:15 this morning Madame X left to get some food for the chicks, returning just 12 minutes later. The height of the youngsters clearly shows they are being well looked after. Victoria Day promises to be sunny and a bit cool. With that and lots to eat, what more could a young Peregrine ask for?

May 20, 2007 - At 05:50 this morning Madame X left to stretch her wings, presenting us with this image of the chicks. Another nice sunny day coming up kids!

May 19, 2007 - Falconwatchers often comment on how fast the chicks grow. Compare today's picture (taken at 14:24 Friday afternoon, May 18) with the one immediately below and you can see how true this is. Viewers can also see the size difference betweeen the older and younger chicks in this image.

May 18, 2007 - Imagine having to feed four hungry kids dinner at the same time! Last evening at 18:15, and again only 25 minutes later, one of the adults brought food to the chicks. As they get older - and bigger - there will be less room in the nest ledge for Mom and the youngsters will be visible more often. So far they are staying very close together in a fluffy ball but it won’t be long before they start moving separately.

May 17, 2007 - This image was taken at 18:53 last evening. The chicks had been visible for quite a while and then Surge (we still think) came in with some food, giving us a chance to see the whole family together. Hail! Hail! The gang's all here!

May 16, 2007 - As far as we know Madame X kept the youngsters safe and dry during last night's thunderstorms and rain. Thanks to the students of Ms. Bingham's third grade class at St. George-German School for letting us know about the picture at left. They were watching the webcam last Friday (May 11) and saw the fourth chick emerge from the shell around 2:18PM.

May 15, 2007 - At 15:00 yesterday afternoon Madame X and the four chicks took in a little sun. Although the picture is a bit blurry because of high winds moving the camera, falconwatchers can see that the first chick is taller than the other three. A special Hi! to the students of Ms. Stretton's Grade Two class at Ancaster Meadow School, particularly those who have written poems about Peregrine Falcons.

May 14, 2007 - At 6:40 this morning Madame X stepped away for a few seconds and gave us this neat view of the four youngsters. Falconwatchers are hitching up their collective belts for another season.

May 13, 2007 - The picture at left shows a proud and happy Madame X and her four new chicks at 2:15 on the afternoon of a beautiful blue-sky Mother's Day. What could be more appropriate! (No - we are not going to name the Eenie, Meenie, Minie and Moe!) Now the fun begins!!

May 11, 2007 - At 07:07 this morning the adults did a food exchange and we were able to see a clear image of THREE CHICKS and the remaining egg. The adults have been taking turns incubating, with regular 'shift changes' which should allow clear views of the chicks and the remaining egg. Three here, one to go - we hope! Stay tuned!

May 9, 2007 - At approximately 12:25 this afternoon the second chick of 2007 emerged. You can actually see it breaking open the shell on our webcam gallery - look at the picture timed 12:26:37 and those captured on either side of that time. The adults have been taking turns incubating, with a couple of 'shift changes' observed. During the afternoon there have been several clear views of both chicks and the two remaining eggs. Two here, two to go we hope! Stay tuned!

May 8, 2007 - Madame X has decided to show us who's boss around here. Never mind our predictions - she's going to have her chicks when SHE wants to. So there! As you can see on our webcam gallery, around 11:50AM today Madame X started twisting and turning. A short time later a bit of white appeared, and at 11:52:44 a little black beak and eyeline were clearly visible. One here, ?? to go! Stay tuned!

May 7, 2007 - Falconwatchers will have noticed that we have moved the camera in a little closer. The eggs should start to hatch pretty soon and we want to get the best view we can. Stay tuned!

May 1, 2007 - May Day and the weather is (a bit) warmer. Madame X continues to incubate the eggs while we continue to wait and hope. Experience from previous years suggests that the eggs will hatch around May 10-12. Keep watching!

April 16, 2007 - And then there were four - eggs that is!! A clear view today confirmed what many observers had been thinking. The cold weather is still keeping Madame X close to the nest but it looks like things willl warm up a bit later this week. Falcon fans will be interested to know that the Falconwatch TV monitor and information signs are now on view in a storefront in Jackson Square Mall. Look for the display in the aisle closest to King Street, on the James St. side of the Sheraton hotel.

April 9, 2007 - This morning we are sure there are three eggs in the scrape and think there may be four. The cold weather is still keeping Madame X close to the nest. It looks like it is going to be a few days before things warm up significantly.

April 7, 2007 - As of today we are sure there are two eggs in the scrape and think there are three. The cold weather is keeping Madame X close to the nest. Let's hope things warm up soon.

April 1, 2007 - This is NOT an April Fool's joke. At approximately 10:40 this morning Madame X laid the first egg of the year. We are watching carefully for more. Stay Tuned!

March 16, 2007 - The Peregrines are back,and so are we, with yet another improvement to our webcam! Thanks to new DSL Lite internet access provided by the Hamilton CommunityNet, our webcam images now refresh three times faster! This will significantly improve our chances of catching a 'special moment', like a glimpse of the first egg or a newly hatched chick, when the adults trade places on the nest.

Spring 2007 - The adult Peregrines spent the winter of 2006-2007 roosting on signs on the CIBC and Standard Life buildings (if you look carefully, you can sometimes see a small white dot atop the Standard Life sign in the webcam picture to the left). They have been active at the Sheraton nest site on and off. We have confirmed that the adult female present this spring is Madame X and are working to confirm that the male is again Surge (the new male that appeared last year).

In 2006 Madame X and Surge hatched three chicks - all female: Albion, Sherman and Webster, named for local waterfalls. All three fledged safely and left the area later in the summer.

Madame X was hatched on a bridge on Pennsylvania Route 309, the Cross-Valley Expressway in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Banded as a hatchling on 7, June 1999 she was known to the falcon watchers in Northeast PA as 'Runaround Sue', a name suggested after she was found running along the expressway guide wall one morning. We are keeping the folks in Pennsylvania posted on Madame X's progress.

Many birds exhibit a trait called 'site fidelity'. If at least one of a pair that used a nest site in the previous year return, 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 over and over again, year after year. Peregrine Falcons are known for site fidelity. This will be Madame X's seventh year in Hamilton and Surge's second, and the thirteenth year the same nest site on the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel has been used.

To read FalconWatch Reports from last year, click on the History button above.

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