Ken's Comments Archive 2000

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They/we are back ....... for another year!!! Begun 3 years ago, "Ken's Comments" is devoted to keeping our viewers up-to-date on the successes and setbacks of our peregrine family atop Regina's City Hall. Ken Holliday CFP, CLU, CH.F.C., one of the original people who spearheaded this project beginning in 1985, has been, and continues to have a keen interest in this project. The falcons are banded at 20-25 days with a band displaying a universal identifier and the phone number and address of the central registry in the USA. In this way, the birds can be tracked. This is useful if the bird is ill, injured, lost, or killed. This has resulted in a few 'strange' phone calls as to where our wandering friends are and how they are doing. The entries you see here are from such phone calls, and from Ken's watchful eye trained on the falcon family on the top of Regina City Hall. You'll be surprised at what you see here!

If you have any questions regarding our falcon family, or falcons in general, Ken will attempt to answer them. Ken also has a "Falcon Watch" e-mail group where his new comments can be sent to you. Please direct any requests, questions, comments or inquiries to Ken Holliday.

Confused this year as to where Ken is and why he isn't as chatty as usual in his comments? Skip down to the webmaster's note to get the explanation for our delayed start and rather sporadic Ken's Comments this year. ........ Annette

Oct. 20/2000 - The female of this years hatch that was nearly killed with poison and had to be rushed to the Vet College in Saskatoon has recovered! Below is an email from Dr. Oliphant - received this morning. There was also a call I had from the wildlife officials yesterday saying their investigation has found the poison is not in Avitrol after all and the culprit who put it out is not - I repeat "NOT" the exterminators. It is found as an active ingredient in "floridan" and that, they do not use, but it is available to farmers and gardeners. There is no way of finding the source at this time. Avitrol is still a very lethal chemical to peregrines when used to control pigeons and the pigeons are fed on by peregrines.

The good news is - our 3rd chick of this years 4 chicks is now on her way south for the winter as far as I know now!

Subject: Re: Regina female
To: Ken Holliday
Hi Ken! Just thought I would let you and John Triffo know that the posoined female from the Regina nest has made a full recovery. Caught 5 ducks and a snipe so far. Will be released tomorrow after removing jesses and rebanding with the same bands. Lynn

.......... Ken

Oct. 19/2000 - I received this from the Canadian Peregrine Falcon Project in Ontario regarding their tracking program .......... Ken

The Canadian Peregrine Foundation's Project ‘TRACK-EM UPDATE': 2000 - 2001 I'm very happy to announce that we have finally got "Project Track-Em 2000" well under way with 5 of the 8 transmitters deployed this year.

In 1999, The Canadian Peregrine Foundation with the support, guidance, and sponsorship of many, satellite tagged four - first year hatch juvenile peregrines from our hack release sites in Richmond Hill and Guelph Ontario. Both a first for Ontario and Canada. First year hatch/ juvenile peregrines, and hacked birds at that! Anatum subs

With three of the four tagged birds migrating to south and central America this past winter, and returning to Ontario this spring, we are to say the least very happy with current events. Much to the delight of both the CPF and the Richmond Hill community, a fourth bird (named ‘Rouge') has become quite territorial and chose to stay and winter in and around the Richmond Hill / Markham / Scarborough area. We hope that he will find a mate next spring and raise a family.

Two of our three south American travelers, named "Lincoln", and "Eco" have been spotted and observed throughout the spring and summer in and around Southern Ontario. Sadly, their transmitters fell silent last Nov/Dec., while in the south. As you can imagine, we were very excited to learn that they were being seen and observed back in southern Ontario this spring/summer. "Nate", our third traveler, who also migrated to, and wintered in Colombia - South America, was still ‘transmitting' and ‘talking', when he was captured several weeks ago after terrorizing the wildlife control officers at Toronto's Pearson Airport. His transmitter was removed, and I happy to say, he has been re-tagged and re-released only just today (Oct 17th) from the Richmond Hill Town Hall roof where he was originally hacked / released last year! We are all very happy to see ‘Nate' flying free once again.

In addition to Nate, we have several other ‘urban', and ‘natural wild' first year juvenile peregrines that have been tagged and released in this years 2000-2001 Project Track-Em.

‘Pinnacle', a first year hatch (female) juvenile from the Baldwin Mills eyrie - in Quebec Canada. ‘Adelaide', a first year hatch (female) juvenile from the down town Toronto (urban) nest ‘Magellan', a first year hatch (male/tiercel) juvenile from the Etobicoke (urban) nest ‘Mary Ann', a first year hatch (female) juvenile from Rochester New York (urban) nest USA And of course ‘Nate', a little male that has so far beat the odds, and survived his first full year and full round trip migration. A little peregrine that has touched the hearts and minds of millions over the past year.

Sept. 1/2000 - A friend of mine and I watched 8B3 (adult female) and 65 (adult male) flying noisily about on territory yesterday. (Aug 31) 65 was "e-chipping" loudly and chasing 8B3. They were flipping over grabbing at each other's talons in near courtship display fashion. I suspect this is a sign of "False Spring". Daylight duration before the Autumnal Equinox is similar to daylight duration after the Vernal Equinox. Falcon reproduction is closely linked to "photoperiodism", so out-of-season courtship in the fall is exciting behavior to watch for.

I haven't seen the two surviving male and female immature birds for several days. The young tercel (male) disappeared four days before the young female. 65 seemed to vanish with them, while 8B3 rested and relaxed on territory. She watched complacently as two fledgling kestrels, a male and a female, chased each other playfully about for three days over the downtown territory. These small falcons actually sat on the Sasktel microwave tower with 65 one afternoon. They watched as the adult tercel peregrine took food to the nearby SGI sign where the immature female peregrine was perched and sqwaking.

65's return yesterday was thrilling to behold as 8B3 flew about and cavorted like a two year old! This was the first time I've seen 65 have 'fun' in bold and daring style with the larger female. He appeared completely, and understandably, intimidated throughout the nesting period. More later .....jrt

August 24/2000 - I talked to Dr. Parker of the University of Saskatchewan - vet clinic. She has identified the chemical found in the peregrine as "Carbamate". This ingredient is found in things used for control of birds and insects, and is very lethal. Dr. Parker said the falcon had only had a very small dose, likely just ate part of one bird. I passed this information on the Wildlife officer in Regina who said he would follow up with exterminators.

I suspect that this chemical is a creator of a "Circle of death"; that is, it kills one species (maybe the intended species) who, while dead or dying, is fed on by another - that also dies and is fed on by another, and so on - and on - and on! In these situations the chemical does not lose its strength with each passing and thus retains the power to kill.

At least we now know what we are up against. .......... Ken

August 20/2000 - Friday evening, while driving down Broad Street with a friend, I saw a peregrine diving repeatedly at something on the northeast corner of the Sears Building at Broad St. and 4th Ave. I grabbed my binoculars and took a look to see an adult missing approximately half of her flight feathers from one wing, and approximately a third of her flight feathers from the other.

I got out and went closer to the building on foot. The falcon perched prominently near the northeast corner. I was unable to see any leg bands on her, but my view wasn't optimal. I did see an extensive rosy wash over her entire front, and she was heavily marked with distinct dark edgings to her front body feathers. She was very different looking from our two resident adults. I found the downtown adults on Saturday and they were both in good feather condition, so this confirmed that we have an extra peregrine in town.

I wonder if she was in a fight with another resident female, perhaps our own. I have several photographs and detailed notes of two adult female Kestrels fighting each other. The dominant bird seized the other and took her to the ground where she wrestled her into helplessness and then proceeded to strip her of more than half of all her tail feathers, which I later collected and photographed as well.

I have made several observations over the years which indicate the seriousness of territorial battles between falcons. I suspect an immature Prairie Falcon was killed several years ago by Regina's resident Peregrines of the day. The attacks the young bird suffered were relentless as it was being pounded ground ward and ultimately out of view. The Peregrines reappeared about twenty minutes later from the same area where they went out of sight.

Still, the cause of the missing feathers from the wings of our extra bird can only be guessed at. I will try to find her again if she should stay in the area. Til later .......... jrt

August 18/2000 - A few days ago we had to send a very sick peregrine to the Vet lab in Saskatoon at the U of S. The bird was on death's door. We also sent some other dead birds- one being a merlin falcon that died under strange conditions. We and the Provincial Government Wildlife officers also received other dead birds of prey where death events indicated poison.

Here is an e-mail on the condition of that sick peregrine and cause of sickness. This is not the first year we have had a problem with use of Avitrol to control pigeons. .......... Ken

Date: Fri, 18 Aug 2000 00:43:32 EDT
Subject: Re: 1R status.

You can pass on the initial good news to Ken as well. You guys did a fabulous job of getting her up here as quickly as you did....and none too soon. When I saw her in the box as she arrived I didn't give her any chance of making it through the night. She was very weak, and puking up some awful stuff. The Vet. (Dr. Parker) treated her right away for Avitol poisoning because that was our best guess. She responded almost immediatly. The rest is history. Her toxicology results were positive for Carbamate toxicity which is indicative of an Avitrol like substance. They cannot identify the specific carbamate at anytime. She also had some kind of small lession on her right eye. I suspect the fluids you gave her, Jon, started the flushing process in the nick of time.

I am happy to report that Lynn O. took her home yesterday and she is doing fine with confidence that she will make a full recovery. He is going to keep her for a while to treat the scratch on her eye and make sure there was no secondary muscle damage and see that she can fly. She is very mellow which either means she is a typical peregrine after a little handling or she is still a bit sick. Time will tell shortly.

I will keep you posted on her progress, but at this stage all looks well. P.T."

August 17/2000 - This afternoon, late lunch, I found all four of our surviving peregrines (2 adults & 2 immatures). 8B3 (adult female) was relaxing on the south wall of City Hall, perhaps warming up in the intermittent sunshine after a very cool, drizzly morning. I hope she isn't feeling ill. She looks understandably, though uncharacteristically, tired

65 (adult male) soared high over the city in wide circles. Way below him, the two young birds were doing the same, but they were steadily gaining altitude as well. I was thrilled to see how much more mature and masterful they have become since the last time I saw them doing gyres. 65 went around and around without a single flap of his wings. The young birds gave every appearance of trying to emulate his grace and form, but the young female was determined in other ways as well.

She eventually matched then exceeded 65's altitude, and then she dove upon him and sent him reeling through the sky in a wide, diving arch with high speed twists and turns in an earnest effort to escape.

Ultimately, the two birds folded their wings and fell into a synchronized, tightly spaced, dancing dive. They briefly grabbed at each other's talons then broke apart with 65 speeding sideways, but level, out of the female's grasp, and the female pulled up with terrific velocity to shoot skyward like a rocket. She started to dive up and down repeatedly as if she had just discovered a brand new "G-Force" sensation to experience again and again. (Of course, I can only guess at falcon sensations during such observations.)

The young tercel (male), not to be left out of any fun, immediately began to chase his sibling sister. Much to his surprise, however, the young female quickly turned the chase around and had him fleeing as artfully as he could. He managed to do a few nifty moves this way and that, and then chase her some more, but he could not match her power and speed. In one dive, he was chasing her, but she flared in air brake, watched him sizzle on by, then charged in after him. To escape, the young male did something I've only ever seen once before by a young and tragically daring hack tercel many years ago. It was a complete, high speed barrel roll in a shallow dive. Even the young female seemed to twist herself into a dead stall with wide, astonished eyes, as if to say "WOW!" at the same time that I said "WOW". I'm quite sure we both said "WOW" together.

8B3, however, only rested throughout all of this, with both eyes closed. I lost site of 65 until the young male dove down to perch below him on the south SGI sign. Apparently the adult male was a little bit tired out as well. The young female, though, just wanted to go, go, go . . . and that's exactly what she did. Around and around and around she went, went, went, driving all the other birds in town (including pigeons and peregrines) absolutely crazy. She also made me dizzy so I decided that it was time to get back to work.

Indeed, soaring and chasing and diving are the newly mastered skills displayed by our young peregrines today. As for 1T (young female), she is discovering the superior traits of her gender and it seems to thrill her to ecstasy (there I go with all that anthropomorphic speculation again). Good for her! Her superior traits, however, are prerequisite to overcoming extreme trials (very few females live long enough to celebrate their first birthday) and crucial to managing tremendous future responsibilities (as I have already mentioned, 8B3 looks uncharacteristically tired today). Til later .... jrt

August 17/2000 - Yesterday, Aug 16, I watched our two surviving young falcons chase each other about and around the high mirror windows of the SGI Building. As scary as it was to see them disappear behind walls of mirrors, then wait pensively to see if they would both soon reappear alive and well, it was also thrilling to witness how advanced they have become as highly skilled and daring aerialists.

8B3 (the adult female) finally seems more able to relax lately, though she still looks feather-worn, over-worked, and valiantly vigilant. (Two days ago she had to let a large Swainson's Hawk know that the downtown area is still strictly off-limits.) Tirelessly and tenaciously, she has reared yet another vigorous brood. Its been another arduous, fulfilling season of long days, hot sun, harsh wind, torrential rain, human intrusion and demanding infants.

Occasionally, 65 (the adult male) sits at the entrance of the now empty City Hall nest box and stares blankly inside for a few hours. He always looks perfectly groomed, taking every opportunity to roost in a prominent place of comfort. His devotion to feather care and rest is always meticulous, but highly strategic. Should his performance as a hunter and provider be halted or hindered for whatever reason, breeding will fail. Til later ........... jrt

August 16/2000 - John's message of the 13th set off alarm bells for some readers as John's reference to "two surviving falcons" caused some to worry that the other female who was sent to Saskatoon for recovery did not survive. John was making reference to the two young chicks who survived and remain in the city. Regarding the young falcon that we had sent to Saskatoon's Veterinary College about the 8th of August - she is doing great! She is standing, a bit teetery, but looking bright. She will be held by Paddy Thompson for at least a month when he will fly her and exercise her, making sure her strength is not compromised. She also has a bad scratch on one eye, but it is very treatable. They (Veterinary Small Animal Clinic - University of Saskatchewan) expect a full recovery from that too. They have not determined what the poison was yet and if they ever do, they will let us know. They are working on that.

I did an interview on radio CJME as a follow up and thank you for the ride to Saskatoon for our sick falcon. .......... Ken

August 13/2000 - From John Triffo: "Our two surviving young peregrines (and their parents) are doing fine. I watched them flying in large, high circles yesterday afternoon. 8B3 (adult female) joined them and gave them lessons in soaring and gliding. She was able to ascend and gyre effortlessly, without flapping her wings and wasting any energy at all. The young birds seemed to try to emulate her grace (or perhaps they were only trying to catch up to her to beg and demand to be fed) but they still need to practice. Sailing the high breezes without flapping will help them conserve energy during their first passage (migration)."

"The young birds are also learning how to hover above and perch upon antennas on top of various buildings. A steady breeze made conditions just right for this sort of activity which is highly entertaining to observe. Til later, jrt"

August 8/2000 - later This has been a trying few days for the project. We have just sent the first dead falcon and a very sick falcon to the small animal clinic at the University of Saskatchewan Veternary college. We hope to determine the cause of death and cure the sick one.

Personally, I want to thank the people who responded to my call for help in transporting the birds with the help of CJME 1300 radio!! CJME was very quick to broadcast our need for a free ride for our sick bird. The phone calls came in within minutes! It is gratifying to find so many who care as we do about our threatened birds.

It is my guess that they are the victims of poison. I say this after my phone call on friday last week. A teacher called me for an explanation of what he saw. He observed a Merlin flying very erratically and then dropping dead from the sky. I said "Sounds like maybe poison." He said "Oh no, what have we done?". He went on to explain that the school had a pigeon problem so they had called the school board who called an exterminator. He had put out grain with a chemical on it to make the pigeons sick and thus cause them to not feed in that location, or to kill the pigeons. Unfortunately what happens is sick and weak birds are easy prey for the merlins, peregrines, hawks and owls. The chemical increases its concentration in each move up the food chain. 1 part per million on grain becomes 100 parts per million in a pigeon. That becomes 1000 parts per million in a Merlin or peregrine feeding on 2 or 3 sick birds. There is no way of knowing how many 100's of song birds eat that grain and also die. Certainly more than the predators would have eaten in a whole summer!. This is called a circle of death.

I must compliment the teacher who, when he learned of the problem they may have created, said he would call the school board and try to get the grain cleaned up. He also said that the pigeons disappeared 2-3 days after Merlins started to visit the school. The Merlins came just a couple of days after the poison was put out. This sounds to me like the predator merlin had moved in to take advantage of the abundance of sick and dying birds. I sincerely hope I am wrong! ... or that the poison can be collected and the circle of death stopped. .......... Ken

August 8/2000 - This from John Triffo: "Today I went downtown for lunch in Victoria Park and I was happy to see young tercel "1 over P" chasing about with young female "1 over T". They were flying quite skillfully around the top of west Twin Tower in a gusty breeze. The mirror windows of the tower sometimes made it look like four birds were chasing about instead of two, so I watched with mixed feelings of elation and dread."

"Later, I watched the young female circle and soar in the high gusts above the city. She was mastering the skills she will soon need on her first attempt at passage (migration). As I write these words, however, our third surviving young peregrine (female 1 over R) is due to arrive at the Small Animal Clinic at the U of S Department of Veterinary Anatomy in Saskatoon. She is extremely ill and her chance of survival is uncertain at best. She is unable to stand up and it took me two days to stabilize her condition. Her first night was frightfully difficult as she was unable to keep her left eye from closing and her head from drooping sideways. The cause of her condition is currently unknown."

"Along with 1 over R, I've sent the frozen remains of tercel 9/5 (see "Ken'S Comments" - July 31), and the frozen remains of a merlin. The merlin was observed flying erratically before falling dead to the ground. Several dead passerines (song birds) have been recently collected in north Regina, and many gulls have been reported dead in the north east. Toxicological tests will be performed to look for pesticides such as Avitrol or diseases such as avian botulism."

"A special note of appreciation goes to Ken Holliday for finding and coordinating transportation of the birds to Saskatoon on a moment's notice. Special thanks go to Don White for going out of his way to pick up, drive, and deliver the birds. Til later ...jrt"

August 4/2000 - This interesting observation from John Triffo.

Two days prior to the death of 9/5, Liz (my wife) and I made two very foreboding observations. A young tercel chased 8B3 (adult female) to the top of one of the Twin Towers. 8B3 perched on the top corner and the tercel, looking very confused, bumped against one of the building's mirror windows. On another occasion we saw 8B3 perched on a peculiar ledge on Trianon. She was looking intently downward at something we were unable to see. The last time I saw such a scene, years ago, a young bird was indeed dead and within view of the mother.

With these observations plaguing my mind, I've been hoping to count 5 peregrines since 9/5 died on July 31. I managed to see them all at the same time yesterday afternoon (~6pm, Thurs, Aug 03, 2000). There's no guessing with 3 young and 2 adults in view, but when the young tercel joined the two young females, I was happy to distinguish them by there relative differences in size and proportion.

As females are larger slower to develop, and considerably more accident prone than males, and after many years of tercels coming to town without any females, it's great to see our young females flying so cautiously about and doing so well. On the other hand, our surviving and increasingly absent young tercel likes to go out and explore a lot. I suspect the 3 young birds will soon be ready to disperse in good health and with invaluable experience gained by the remarkably faithful attendance of 8B3 and reclining 6 over 5 (adult male).

For me, the behavior demonstrated by Regina's 2000 Peregrine Falcon family has been uniquely educational. This is the first time I've been able to observe so much of the fascinating interaction and bonding of a classic family unit. What I've learned so far is that there must be a bewildering and staggering amount yet to be learned. ...Til later ...jrt for .......... Ken

July 31/2000 - We lost one of our chicks. This sad note in from John Triffo today. : "Immature (Tercel?) Aluminum International Band #816-82354, Black Band: 9 over Solid Line over 5 died late yesterday or early today at Sask Tel Building - 1855 Lorne Street in downtown Regina. Cause of fatality is unknown, although the building is mirror windowed." ........ Annette for .......... Ken

July 27/2000 - All 4 have successfully flown and are now away from the hack box camera view. We doubt they will be back in view so will discontinue the camera any day now. We had 2 that ended on the street and were put back into the hackbox for a 2nd try. The Wildlife branch of the Government of Saskatchewan (Canada) and the Humane Society provided helping in rescue and holding for us. THANKS GUYS! APPRECIATE THE HELP.

We have heard from many viewers, all over the world and some have provided some real observance benefits for us. (We would love to but can not watch 24 hours a day every day). We plan on keeping site active throughout the year, adding to the photo galleries, and the videos. We may try for a 2nd camera next year, outside looking across the hack box entrance. There is no building or place to install a camera that looks into the box. .......... Ken

Webmaster note: We are planning on testing through the year, so if you check back, you may find the camera running this year in the off season. We will be testing new software. If all goes well with some experimental work on our connection, we may run a camera showing downtown Regina from the Hack box through the year. This will allow us some time to test out several ideas before our friends (hopefully) return next year. ........ Annette

July 19/2000 - Today July 19,2000 one of the chicks took his first flight. He ended up on the ground by the apartment building next to city hall. He then managed a short flight to a tree nearby. John Triffo was called, caught it and with the help of Leigh, it was returned to the hack box for his second flight. Their second flight or 3rd is usually very uneventful as they get much better each time. They will all be flying in a few days I am sure! .......... Ken

Webmaster note: I thought people may be confused by the signs of daylight in our new view overlooking the city with the time stamp showing that it was 20:59:00 or so when the camera stops. This is not in error. Sunset is currently at 9:11 PM (21:11:00) in the evening here in Regina. In Saskatchewan, we get long twilight hours so that at 10:00 PM, there are still signs of twilight in the sky. Our summer nights are very long and summer-time activity carries on late at night with the stretching of our daylight hours. ........ Annette

July 5/2000 - The Regina Peregrine Falcon Project volunteer staff put the leg band identification on the 4 chicks in Regina. We found there are 2 males and 2 females. They have been identified with the leg bands as follows:

All 4 are healthy , the female 1 over t has a small odditty - she has about 80% webbed toe on her left leg on the 2 outside toes only. It is nothing to prevent her from a normal life in our opinion.

The camera in our hack box was moved to give a view of the perch where they will soon be practice wing flapping. The inside view is no longer provided. If we had another video camera we would consider setting up for next year with 2 cameras. The camera has to be able to withstand continuous "on" and provide auto focus. Maybe someone out there (or some company) would care to make a donation?? Email me if interested.

The event was well attended by the media and several play schools as well as adults who took time from their job or where otherwise available. Regina Peregrine falcon project seems to be a success so far this year. .......... Ken

June 29/2000 - I just received an email from Patrick Thompson from Saskatoon, the person who does the banding of the falcons. Here is his news - good and bad!

"It appears Regina is the lone shining star when it comes to Saskatchewan peregrines this year. The Moose Jaw pair to our knowledge never did nest again in the City probably due to the alterations to the nest ledge over the winter. The Saskatoon pair has failed. I was up to the ledge last week with banding bag in hand and no chicks. Four eggs scattered around in the scrape. The female is on site and aggressive, but no male showed up the entire time I was up there. Perhaps he disappeared sometime during incubation. I plan to recover the eggs this week and see what stage they were at. ..... P.T. "

I am indeed sorry to hear the Saskatoon birds did not raise any chicks this year. It makes our Regina birds all the more valuable and their success so much more important. .......... Ken

June 28/2000 - We are glad to announce that the Regina Peregrine falcons are to be on public display July 5,2000. Come and see them for yourself!. bring the kids! Be at Regina City Hall - 9:30 a.m. in the room to your right as you come in the front door of city hall.

The chicks will be about 25 days old then. We will be placing identification bands on their legs and will be checking to see what condition they are in as well as determine if they are male or female. The hack box where they live is not accessible to the public but we will remove them from the hack box on the 16th floor and bring them to the ground floor meeting room for all to see.

The peregrine falcons are no longer "Endangered" due to the results of multiple releases in many locations like the Regina release program. This has brought them back from near extinction and Regina is extremely proud of their small part in this success story. The Peregrine is now listed as "threatened" by the World Wildlife Fund. The peregrine and many other birds of prey were brought to near extinction due to the side effects of DDT which was used to control insects and is now banned in Canada & USA but is still in use in other parts of the Peregrine range (South America, Mexico etc).

There will be lots of photo opportunity - so bring your camera!. This is a one and only opportunity for the year!!! See you there. Send/call in question and comments to Ken Holliday - 1-306-543-3009 or email .......... Ken

June 16/2000 - If you have been following the little guys, you will have noticed that they were spending quite a bit of time alone on Wednesday. I, as well as some other readers, were concerned about the chicks, and also if the parents were all right. The mystery is solved. Work was being done on the same floor as the hack box, and the Mom had some concerns. All is well though, and as John Triffo reports, the chicks will increasingly be left alone. He writes me: " Anyway, all is quite well and soon the chicks will be left more and more to themselves. I am quite surprised, every year, however, how fast the chicks are developing. Look how how big they already are!" He is right. Our Mom is having more and more difficulty keeping them under her.

All this lead to a new feature. Please try out our new "Observe and Chat" feature. You can watch the family, and chat with others around the world who are doing the same thing. Enjoy! Annette for .......... Ken

June 12/2000 - Had lunch with 8B3 today. All is well with 4 healthy chicks, each receiving small morsels of blackbirds from mom, via reclining 6 over 5 of course.

Did not attempt to retrieve more eggshells, though several fragments are still in the box. Will watch for future oportunities in this regard. 8B3 is very well behaved and authoritative even though workers have been busy on the cooling tower - and she caught me spying on her once! It was too close for my comfort, so I'm out of there for a while. Til later ... jrt (John Triffo) for .......... Ken

June 11/2000 - John, Leigh and I went to the hack box this afternoon. We thank the City Hall staff for their great cooperation in giving us access to the building on a regular basis, but particularly on this Sunday afternoon when City Hall is closed. John Triffo is a patient man, and said that he would wait for the female to leave the hack box on her own before trying to check out the egg. He reported that at other times, he has seen her very distressed by disruptions and did not want to upset her.

We have monitors set up in a room next to the hack box so we could watch what was happening next door, and act accordingly. We waited patiently, and she exited about an hour after we got there. John hurried next door, unlatched the back access door, and scooped up an egg shell that we could see just in front of the camera. The female was outside the door, and was protesting - knowing something was up. John did a quick chick count before he closed the door, and noted that he saw 4 chicks! He could see the egg that is back against the far wall, but could see that it was really an empty egg shell. John had an mere 30 seconds or so before our female returned to the hack box. We watched her, and she seemed very comfortable - we were glad to see that we had not stressed her.

We have decided that the egg that we could see along the back is not experiencing problems now. Whether it ever was is up to speculation. Either it was just a shell that looked intact, or it was tossed out, but hatched on it's own. The shell is really a half shell, and so we are thinking that that would have been more apparent on Anne's photos. We have reexamined the photos that Anne sent, and agree that it looks like an intact egg, but will never know. Whatever the explanation, our Mom drew a full house of 4 chicks - the same number of eggs she laid. Ken will be thrilled when he returns, or hopefully, he has found access to the net on his travels and is checking on us. Annette for.......... Ken

June 10/2000 Evening - Thanks to Anne from South Australia who sent us some photos of the chicks. Her captures of the chicks alerted me to something that I had not seen on any of the captures I had. If you look carefully at the back of the box of this photo that Anne sent, I believe you can see an egg that our Mom has discarded. This has happened in other years. In those instances, it was noticed on our monitor, Ken carefully removed the egg, and it was either aided in cracking the egg, or hatched by incubation in Saskatoon at the University. Since the egg was not noticed till this evening, nothing can be done about it tonight. I will contact Leigh, and see if there is anything we can do about it, but I suspect we are too late as the egg has been out of the nest most of the day judging by the time stamp on Anne's capture.

I captured this photo at about supper time our time. I believe I can see 3 hatchelings feeding in this shot. I have also turned several sequential shots into an animated gif. ... Annette for .......... Ken

June 10/2000 - I lucked out today. I got a shot of the chick/s today as the Mom moved out of the way for a minute. I can't tell from the picture how many there are, but have at least verified one pair of eye. You can do this too. Right click on the image, and click "save as" or something similar, and save to your hard drive. Send it if you have a good one that identifies how many chicks there are. ... Annette for .......... Ken

June 9/2000 - Ruth Holmberg in Manitoba was the first to alert us as to some possible babies yesterday afternoon. Ken always says you will see the shells in the scape when the babies are hatching, and it certainly looks like an egg shell in the foreground. Great call, Ruth! Now, to count the babies. We have 4 eggs, and hopefully, we will have four successful hatchelings. .......... Ken

June 5/2000 - Noticed anything different lately? - or then again I should be asking if you noticed anything not being different. An e-mail from Carol at University of Calgary alerted us to a problem of the picture not always changing. The female doesn't move much, and so it took quite a bit of time to convince everyone involved that indeed the picture was not changing. I had jokingly begun to circulate the theory of the stuffed bird - based on the theory some have that there never was a landing on the moon - just a huge production on a sound stage somewhere in California.

Well, no, it wasn't a fake bird with feathers tarred on. The software that has been working flawlessly for 3 years decided to give us some problems this year. It would work when we checked it, but in true Peter's Principal fashion, quit some time after we left it fully convinced it was working. The bird was moving on the screen (although not much as she was and is still focused on keeping her eggs warm), but it was not translated to the net.

Admittedly, we are still baffled as to why it is not working as before, but have come up with a solution that seems to be working. The bird is moving, although it is just slight movements of her head at times. Putting it on a slide show, I could easily see that each frame was different.

So, thanks Carol for the heads-up on that one. Hopefully all goes smoothly for the hatching. As I was watching today, I clearly saw the 4 eggs, and so we have no hatchelings yet. Ken had advised us that it should be any day now. Keep watching, and let us know if you see the first chick. .... Annette ... for Ken

Carol, I tried to reply to you personally, but all of my e-mails were rejected by your server as "junk mail". You may want to check that out as there must be other non-junk mail that is being rejected. Thanks again for your help, Carol. ........ Annette

May 31/2000 - The chicks should hatch about June 1-5. There are 4 eggs. The parents are identified, female "8b3" is the same female we have had since the first year we had nesting birds in Regina. The male is "65" with the 6 laying on its side. This is a real success story as you have seen from previous comments. The chicks will be banded about the end of June. I am away June 1-26 but the fellow who is in charge in my absence, Jon Triffo, will be doing additions to the Ken's Comment area so check it out regularly.

We are working on full motion video live and it should be active in a week or so - just in time to watch the parents feed the young and maybe even catch the hatching .......... Ken

May 23/2000 - Jon Triffo, whom you have seen helping us with Ken's Comments this year, sends the following information, and stunning picture. Tercel: Black Band - #reclining 6 over 5; F&W Band #816-82343. Wild Hatched: Saskatoon - 1996. Rehabilitated, flown, released: Pat Thompson - Aug-Sep, 1996. (injured or bruised wing) Current: Regina City Hall nest box sire. (4 eggs laid by Female: Red Band - 8B3). May 05/2000. Photo Copyright - Jon R. Triffo.

Watch for more of Jon's pictures. He has consented to having us display some of his wildlife photography. We will be opening his gallery very soon. .......... Annette for Ken

May 17/2000 - And Tracy writes again: "Ken, Never fails, always forget something. I read on the Regina site that 8B3 is 12 years old this year - I checked our band records and 8B3 was released in Winnipeg in 1990 not 1988. She was bred at the Raptor Research Centre at McGill University in Quebec and hack-released from the Mary Speechly Residence on the University of Manitoba Fort Garry Campus... Tracy Maconachie, Project Coordinator Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project (Manitoba) .......... Ken

May 17/2000 - The following is a portion of an email received today from Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project (Manitoba). I thought others might like to know where our birds come from. It reads:

"Thought you might want possible point-of-origins for a couple of the birds you mentioned in 1999. You may already have this information. Regina - male - black band - 3 over 2 - if this the new CWS bands with the numbers vertical with a line between them, then it is our bird - aluminium band # 816-81852 - wild hatched in 1997 at the McKenzie Seeds Building, Brandon. Moose Jaw - female - black band - H over 9 - again if it is a CWS band, its our bird again - aluminium band # 1807-14207 - wild hatched in 1997 at the McKenzie Seeds Building in Brandon - sister of your 1999 Regina male. Regina - red 8B3 - found a note in a long-abandoned file, that this female's name is "Stella". Have no idea who named her or why. But she does seem to be a "star" in Regina!! Thanks for all your help, look forward to talking with you soon...Tracy Maconachie, Project Coordinator Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project (Manitoba)" .......... Ken

May 15/2000 - John Triffo writes Ken: "I have an update for you. Yesterday at about 7:30pm, 8B3 came out of the nest box and stared wildly eastward. She launched off and flew directly to the roof of the Canada Life Building and tried to strike a bird. Several pigeons flew up so I assumed she was hunting. However, she began diving at something and then flew vigorously behind the twin towers. I heard a lot of female versions of "e-chipping" and squawking and 65 came racing in from the west as well. Suddenly three peregrines were in view. 8B3 charged after a younger female that appeared to be extremely distraught and confused. She grabbed the younger bird's chest and they fell for about ten or twenty feet before she let go. The young bird screamed helplessly and fought to get away. I thought 8b3 was going to kill her, but she backed off then chased her out of the territory. The young bird was last seen heading south west in a great hurry to get out of town. 65 followed the action with great interest, but did not get involved. I left for home as 8B3 sat on the microwave tower, lurching forward in 'yarak' and appearing impressively roused for battle. This was Sunday, May 14, 2000.

I have a note on my desk about an injured peregrine. The caller was not in today so I will try to phone her tomorrow. The note is from Friday when I was out of town." .......... Ken

May 12/2000 - The female is "8B3" red leg band - (red signifies captive bred and released" - released in Brandon Manitoba). She is 12 years old this year - 10 years is normal, 16 is record. The male is a success story in himself. He has a black leg band "65" with the 6 laying on its side. (Black signifies he was a chick of free roaming parents). He was hatched in Saskatoon in 1996. He had a slight injury in one of his first flights and had an injured wing. He was caught and cared for by the program manager, Patrick Thompson. Mr. Thompson fed, sheltered, and exercised him for a month and as a falconer, flew him several times in an attempt to train him to hunt. The bird was released that same year after the months of care. He has not been heard from since and his fate was unknown until this year when he was filmed in the hack box by one of our observers here, "John Triffo".

The pair now have 4 eggs. Incubation started about May 10. Hatching will occur after 32 days of incubation. They will remain in the hack box and be fed by the parents until age 35 days when they normally take their first flight. The parents continue to feed them for a few weeks and train them to hunt also. They migrate to South America, and return - roaming North America for 1 or 2 more years until they are sexual mature and find a mate and a vacant territory.

The internet site is a live video from the hack box while there are birds in the box. The chicks will be given their leg bands and examined in detail before they are able to fly (about the end of June). We will advise the media in advance of this event and will make it a public invited event as we did last year. .......... Ken

You will note that we finally have the camera running, sending out stills every minute. As was explained on my initial note of April 25th, we are a bit behind due to some personal difficulties, but working hard to get this to you this year. We are now ready to watch the parents caring for their eggs and for the first hatcheling. Thanks for your patience ........ Annette

May 7/2000 - Here is another tidbit from John Triffo, sent to me Friday, May 5. I will pass it on to Paddy Thompson in Saskatoon for follow up to find out where "65" came from ...Ken

Hi Ken: I just visited the nest box and identified our resident tercel. He is black banded (left leg)with 6 on its backside (lying down)over 5. I have some excellent Hi8 footage of the tercel with closeups of his bands. There are three eggs today and all is quiet and well. 8B3 was on the eggs for a while, then she went to the microwave tower and 65 came in to tend to the eggs. Til later . . . .......... John Triffo

May 3/2000 7:00 PM- The camera should be active and alive May 9th. We have 2 eggs today and had only one yesterday. The normal clutch is 4, but last year our lady gave us 5 so we can only wait and watch. Yesterday there was a bit of a fight between the resident male and a new comer to the city. They are very territorial and have been known to kill newcomers to a territory if they refuse to leave. Today we see both birds at city hall.

Questions and comments? Phone me (office -1-306-584-2544, home 1-306-543-3009) or email me. ... Ken

May 3/2000 - Yesterday evening, May 02, our resident tercel had a nasty fight with another tercel intruder. I suspect the second male was an unsuspecting and confused immature, perhaps from last year or the year before, visiting the City Hall sight. The resident tercel dove repeatedly at him as he sat on the south east corner of City Hall. Eventually the intruder tried to get away but this incited the resident only further. At the height of hostilities, all three birds were swooping about as 8B3 came in to investigate. She got a little too close to the action once, but then backed off. The three disappeared east for about twenty minutes before one returned chipping and defiant (Resident male?). .......... John Triffo (for Ken)

April 25/2000 - I just had a phone call from Leigh who is hooking up the camera as I write this. He read the band number on the bird in the hack box - 8B3 - our female is back again! He says there is a definite scrape in the sand where she is planning to lay eggs again. The internet hook up will be another week or 2 but it will be done soon as possible........... Ken

April 25/2000 - Webmaster's Note - If you have been following our little peregrine family for the last couple of years, you will know that they have had their ups and downs. We have had years where they had great success, and years where they have had set-backs.

This site is brought to you courtesy the volunteer work of mainly three people - Ken Holliday, Leigh Calnek, and myself, Annette Bristol. Our little family has had it's ups and downs too. In 1997, I lost my 10 year old daughter. In 1999, we mourned the loss of Leigh's first grandchild who died before birth. And this year, we are somewhat behind as Ken is completing his chemotherapy and has yet to regain his strength.

We are expecting Ken to fully recover, but he has had to set his work and projects aside as he temporarily concentrates on his health. This explains our late start for this year. Ken is definitely the one who keeps us on track with this project, and without him to spearhead things, we are admittedly a bit behind schedule.

... and so, please bear with us as we get Ken health back on track, and us back up to speed again. ........ Annette

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