Well it was a very busy week last week assisting in the fledge watch of our young Falcons at the Etobicoke nest site. Most mornings I was awake by 5am, at the site before 6am, spend 4 hours or so watching the birds, and then head home to recharge before starting work.
It was a pretty good watch this year. Only one of the birds, Ferris, got into enough trouble and needed rescuing. Everyone else stayed high up and has not hit anything. Let's hope it stays that way.
I did miss some action, which is par for the course when I can't be there from sun up to sun down. But those stories are not mine to tell.
I did find myself one evening hopping out of the truck and seconds later was dashing out into Bloor Street, escorting Mel as he took a low flight across the street. Traffic was well off and while I could not run along side this speedy bird, I hoped my presence in the street would slow any traffic heading towards us from either direction. And if Mel could not get any height, that I could be there to pick him up before he could possibly make a dash out into the street. He did get enough height to land on the concourse above Bloor, about one story up from the sidewalk, and that is where he spent the night. Next morning he was gone. He fledged on Friday June 19th and by Monday, he had found his way back up to the top of the nest building and on the ledge at that!
Not sure how long he could legally "park" himself there. LoL! No Peregrines allowed! *groan*
Close up of Mel.
Ferris took first flight on Sunday June 21st. He explored the area late in the afternoon and little by little came lower and lower to the ground. It seems he picked a better spot to spend the night. *wink wink*
Monday morning he was still in the same spot.
This shot gives you a better idea on how low he is to street level and how close he is to Bloor Street with passing traffic. I'm directly across the street from him, watching, waiting, growing roots under my shoes, collecting road dust as the hours passed us by.
P is for Peregrine!
About 2.5 hours later Ferris took flight. He jetted south, right over my head and the line of low buildings behind me. He did a circle and tried to get height, heading back to the nest tower. A smart move, realizing this was not possible, he turned again, headed south across the street, over my head again, over the buildings and had a time out in the neighbourhood somewhere. Bruce, Roger and myself searched for him without a sighting. So many trees he could have gone into and no birds were alarm calling to his presence. I remember last year with Skyla, she took a beating from Crows and Robins in a tree out front of someone's house all afternoon.
Anyways, a couple more hours of watching, occasional search for Ferris, and I had to leave to get ready for work.
A few more hours passed when Bruce spotted Ferris coming out from the neighbourhood, flying across Bloor, trying to get the height and once again not being successful. He did a bit of "Peregrine Ping Pong" as I call it, hitting the buildings as he struggled with what he was trying to achieve. And once again, being smart about things, backing out of this idea and now looking for a safe place to land again. Unfortunately his energy was quite spent. He missed a roof top, the Bell building to be exact, by about 4 feet. He caught the wall and tried to climb up but he dropped to the ground, less than 10 feet from where Bruce stood. Bruce quickly gathered him up, set him in a carrier and tucked him away in the ESL security area to rest the remainder of the day away. Ferris was released on the roof top after dark and got another chance at this flying thing the next day.
Ninja took his first flight on June 22nd, some point during the search for Ferris, Ninja snuck out. The most amazing thing happened that he found his way home, back on the nest ledge later that night. I've never seen or heard of such a thing in my 5 years of helping watch this site!
The week got blurry as the days passed, fatigue catching up with me.
Glider was the last to take flight and I cannot remember the exact day he did. Thursday June 25th I am thinking right now. He did stay high and mostly out of sight. To this day, he's still up there, doing great.
A cam shot on the 25th, Ferris first thing in the morning. Amazing to me that they are making it back on to that nest ledge so early in the days of flight.
Look up, way up, and you can see the nest ledge, right below the top of the building. Can you see the cameras up there?
I arrived later in the morning on the 26th. I only saw mom, O'Connor, high up on the nest building, and she was screaming her head off to something in the east. What? No idea. I did not see any of the kids, nor did I see dad Lucky. I gave Tracy an update of this after spending 30 or so minutes looking around. I said I had to run some errands and would return in about an hour. As I got back to the site, I discover Tracy is now on scene. She had spotted a couple of the kids by this time, we did a search of the perimeter and found another. Great seeing them but now to get some tape colors. Tracy picked off Mel (white) and Ferris (yellow) but this third bird was in such an angle that we could not see his legs. Time for me there was limited, I had to leave for work soon. Tracy walked me back to my truck so we could talk about the birds and things some more. As we get to my truck, out come some of the young Falcons. The next 10 minutes, so high in the sky, was the reward of doing this watch. The kids were playing! It was Mel and Ferris! What a sight to behold! What sounds they made as they chased each other up there.
After I left, Tracy managed to get all 4 of the young birds, positively ID them by tape color and all was good.
The watch is done. Nothing we can do now other than spot checks and if a bird ever gets into trouble, there are enough people in the area who know who to call. One of our fellow watchers, Kathy, works in the building, so she is there 5 days a week.
I can't believe it is over. There was such a build up from their hatches early in May to this watch. The anticipation, the excitement, the stress... and now it's done until next year.
This certainly was one of the better watches in my time. While we stress about the birds there was no real stress this time. Nobody got hurt. And nobody died.
Wow! 11 months to go until this all ramps up again.
Lastly, curious people from social media stop in at the site. One or two a year come looking for me. I'm assuming it's people from the birding pages where I share the updates and am always seeking extra eyes to the skies. If I am not there, they ask if I am around, never say who they are and end up leaving. Introduce yourself and it would be nice to know who is coming out. Perhaps communicate with me about my times at the watch and we can coordinate a meeting time. Don't be shy you guys. :)
As always, I thank you all for stopping in. Back again soon with some great news!