By Mary Anne McDougall

After a dramatic start to the year, our new peregrine falcons, McKeever and Judson, settled in and on 27 March amidst a spring snowfall, it was apparent that McKeever was sitting on an egg. Typically, peregrines will lay 3-4 pink to brownish mottled eggs, hatching in 33-35 days. Once the chicks have reached about 40 days of age, they have lost their white fluffy down, developed their flight feathers and after days of exercising their wings and “helicoptering” along the ledge, they are ready to take to the air.

City dwelling peregrines face challenges when taking their first flights. They must be strong enough to fly to another high structure or return to the nest ledge. They can come down to ground or in some cases land on a lower building unable to fly back up. Mirrored and glassed high-rises also present dangerous obstacles for these newly fledged falcons. The peregrine falcon has also recently been voted the City Bird for Hamilton by the Bird Friendly Hamilton Burlington team after an online poll.

The Sheraton Hotel site has been monitored by coordinators and volunteers each year since a pair of falcons were first confirmed nesting on a ledge on the south facing 18th floor of the hotel in 1995. You can follow developments at the nest site with live camera feed at http://falcons.hamiltonnature.org

Volunteers and Donations Needed

Falconwatch volunteers monitor the falcon chicks beginning around mid June, signing up for two hours shifts from dawn to dusk for approximately one month. An orientation meeting will be announced once we are sure we have viable chicks in the nest. No experience is required, and volunteers work with trained, paid coordinators. If you are interested in volunteering or donating, please contact falcons@charlesgregory.ca

Shift change at the nest with McKeever seemingly talking to Judson in the scrape