Ken's Comments - 2002


[ Archive Comments - 2001 ]
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They/we are back ....... for another year!!! Begun 6 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.

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 directly to your e-mail. Please direct any requests, questions, comments or inquiries to Ken Holliday.




June 16/2002 - Just an update ...... 8B3 has never been found. Paddy Thompson told me he has had birds die from heart attack while incubating eggs, and they have recorded incidents of birds dying in flight from heart attack. It is a common death in older birds. 8B3 is such a bird, Paddy said, and it would have to be something like that. It is very unlikely she is alive. It is also very unlikely she had a flying accident, she is too experienced for that. She may have been a poison accident but also unlikely or others would also be affected too.

Now some rather encouraging news. Staff from City Hall called me today to say they think maybe there were 2 birds around City Hall today. They have not seen the male for a few days but today they saw 1 for sure and maybe 2. They were replacing bulbs on the roof aerial towers and were also doing installation work for the fireworks display from City Hall June 26- and - they were buzzed by the falcon(s). The fellow on the ladder on the roof said if had stuck out his hand, it would have been hit ... they were that close to him. My hope is the male is back with a new mate. It is too late in the season for them to nest but they may well defend the territory and return another year. We can only hope. .......... Ken




June 10/2002 - 2002 will be a very very bad year!

The eggs from the Regina Peregrine site that were sent to Saskatoon show no signs of embryos as of Friday the 7th. They would definitely show now if there was to be any.

Saskatoon has birds in back as does Moose Jaw. - according to Paddy Thompson, Coordinator of Falcon Projects for Saskatchewan, they have not been able to find any nest sites in either location, certainly not in the usual places and the birds are not incubating as they normally should be. They also report that Prairie Falcons confirmed nesting are also vastly reduced this year. The guess is the very cold spring has been to blame. The hope in Regina for this year is - gone. Next year we hope the male that is still here, still perches on the SGI sign, south side of the SGI building finds a new female and brings her to the territory.

The camera is still live although we have been experiencing power surges or something and the computer that sends the picture to the web site keeps locking up. A newer better one and a battery back up are needed before next season. .......... Ken




May 28/2002 - Here is the message from Paddy Thompson received May 27 re the eggs, as you will see - 2 are a loss and 2 are maybe. Time will tell .......... Ken

There are two eggs cracked. They may have been frozen causing the crack, but we can't tell. There is little to no development of the embyos in the other two that we can see. This may be good because if the female had not started incubating the embyos may still be viable IF they weren't frozen. They are in the incubator now so we will have to wait about 10 days to see if any development occurs. Keep you posted. ..... Paddy Thompson




May 26/2002 - If you have been trying to watch the web site, we apologize for the poor service. There has not been much to see though. One last hope for chicks this year is that the male will attract a female, persuade her to use the nest box and DO IT SOON.

We removed the chicken eggs - as we are told that the new female would not like to lay her eggs there if there were already some. The computer that sends the pictures to the internet page needs replacement, and a battery back up due to the power surges. If we do get another batch of eggs this year - we will see what we can put together.

Watch for news on the eggs sent to Saskatoon, give it a week or so .......... Ken




Webmaster note: As if this story needs more drama .... In the evening of May 22, the City of Regina was hit by a freak snow storm. This is highly unusual for this time of year, but the weather, like in most of the country, has been unpredictable in the prairies. This is what my back yard looked like on that evening.

If you check Ken's Comments further down, you will see that this is one day before we reported that something was amiss. The snow disappeared quickly, by noon the following day, but we were concerned about the eggs having got too cold.

Ken indicated that the site is so protected that they may have been ok, or the sand they are in was warm enough to keep them viable. We will have to await the results from Paddy in Saskatoon to see how they faired out on this count too. ........ Annette




May 24/2002 - We are happy to report that a ride to Saskatoon for the eggs has been arranged. They will be candled there, if there is any hope of saving them - that is the place to do it. They will be incubated and hatched is possible.

What happens here in Regina Now?

We wait and see what happens.

If the male, who is still here, attracts a female, he may want her in the same nest box. If the female we had comes back - she may incubate the chicken eggs we put in the nest box. If she is not back incubating by Monday morning, we will remove the eggs. The hope is that a new female will want to lay eggs in there. She won't be as likely to do so if there are already eggs. She would lay them in another location.

We know we have one bird coming and going this morning. It has been seen on the monitor at city hall that is not part of the internet system. The internet system and the web page are now back up and running again. .......... Ken




May 23/2002 - The Regina nest box has not been visited by the female to incubate the eggs for some days now as far as we can tell. The Internet site has been inoperative for 2 or 3 days. The donated computer quit completely and has to be replaced. This meant we were unable to monitor the nest site as we would have liked.

Result is we are not sure, but have reason to believe, that the female has not been back for some days now.

If she started to incubate the eggs and then left after the embryos started to grow, they will die as the eggs were allowed to cool. If she never incubated them long enough, they can be artificially incubated in Saskatoon and this is what we will try to do.

I have taken their 4 eggs, giving them 2 brown chicken eggs. They will not know the difference. If they come back and start to incubate these or lay more, we will give them their eggs or chicks after we hatch them. If they do not come back- we have to assume either she died in an accident or fight, - or-- she has decided to move to another location. The move to another location has happened before.

This was due to a new male coming to the territory, driving off the resident male, and then moving the female to site for himself. That time they picked a ledge on Old City Hall, or the Old Post Office as some call it. It is now where Globe theatre is as well as the Plains Historical Museum. That year they laid 2 clutches of eggs. We took the first clutch when she abandoned them, incubated and raised those chicks and released them to the wild. Her 2nd batch of eggs were exposed and in a driving hail storm. They were lost as they were hatching.

Right now I need a ride to Saskatoon for these eggs, tomorrow will do fine. If anyone is going, Please email me or phone.

We also need to find the female. We ask the people with downtown office's - to look around the sky, look at building tops, ledges, roofs, and especially the taller office towers. .......... Ken




May 16/2002 - I received this message regarding the peregrine which was injured and subsequently put down.

Ken, I just got the confirmation of the cause of death for the falcon that you found in Regina on August 10, 2001. It had band number 7L. Death was as a result of not being able to feed properly due to a lesion in the crop most likely caused by Trichomonas gallinae, a protozoan parasite. This parasite is apparently often picked up from pigeons. Now you know! .......... Ken




May 14/2002 - EGGS!! We (that is the Regina Peregrines) have 3 for sure and I think we saw 4 today. She keeps moving them around. It is normal to have 4 - laying 1 every other day. After the last egg is laid, in a day or 2 or 3, she will start to incubate the eggs. This is a 32 day process when the eggs that are fertile will hatch.

It is only 34-38 days after that the young fly, are full grown, and never return to the nest box. They do hang around the general area and the parents bring them food wherever their awkward first flights take them ... except when they end up at ground level. The parents will not come down to ground. We try and watch, catch them, return them to the nest box so they can fly again (usually the second time) and they are able to fly much better.

At the age of 20 days approximately, we place ID bands on their legs. This is while they still can't fly, and have not gained full strength in their talons or beak. This is sometimes a public event where we bring the babies down to the lobby of city hall or the meeting room on ground floor. It is a great opportunity for kids and parents to see, touch and hear them up close. The only time in many kids lifetime that they will ever have this chance.

Watch for news on this as the days pass. .......... Ken




May 13/2002 - Sunday May 12, about 9:30 am I received a call from a concerned farmer who lives near Kronau, Sask. He had an injured bird in possession. He had seen it hoping in the stubble of the field next to a road, caught it, and was holding it in a blanket. He had taken it to his father, a large animal vet who does not treat birds. I retrieved this bird - an adult peregrine falcon. It was fresh wound. It needed more help than I could give. I decided to send it to a falconer(Patrick Thompson) in Saskatoon and have him relay it to the Vet college in Saskatoon. I knew Patrick and the college would be able to help if anyone could. I did not do extensive an examination - wishing to save it unnecessary trauma.

I called the Husky house and had truckers there polled to see if anyone was going to Saskatoon immediately. Within 1 hour it was on it's way.

It was received by Patrick Thompson who advises me that the entire wing was a complete loss and he had to put the bird down. It was a female, not banded, and not in breeding state. This, he could tell by examination and experience. He also said she was in great shape otherwise. Patrick will send some of her feathers of to the Canadian Wildlife Service for DNA testing and maybe determine where she came from. She was definitely not our female who has been seen several times since.

This is both a good news and bad news event - Good that we even have wild unbanded birds as this proves that the artificial breeding and releases have generated breeding birds for the wild that we are not aware of. Good as she was in such fine condition. Bad news though is that she had to die at all. The best guess is she het a wire while chasing another bird. It could have been a telephone, or power wire. It could have been a barbed wire fence or an electric fence for cattle, or a guy wire for a tower or ?. Thanks to those who helped to transport this bird! the public's concern and eagerness to help is sure good to see! .......... Ken




May 10, 2002 - As of today - we have 2 eggs. The female still has not been identified for sure. If anyone sees her in the box and can read the band number on her leg (the red band) please capture that picture and e-mail me that you have it. We would be eternally grateful .......... Ken




May 07/2002 - OUR INTERNET CAMERA IS LIVE! Today the link was made from the camera in the nest box at city hall to our internet web site. You will be able to see the Peregrines come and go, the female (unidentified as yet) laying eggs, incubating the eggs, hatching, feeding and watch them grow from day to day.

Access cable has installed a high speed line which may be used for live video. Right now you get frequently new stills - every few seconds a new picture

WE HAVE ONE EGG NOW! The norm is for them to lay one egg every other day, a total of 3 or 4, and then start to incubate ... so do not be concerned when you see no birds on the eggs yet.

I have seen the male watching his nest from the top of the SGI sign on the south side of the SGI office tower. This assures us the pair are here and in breeding mode.

Thanks to Access Cable for the installation and service. Thanks to Unibase for the computer and installation of the equipment. Thanks to Annette Bristol - Webwiz for the internet page updates! .......... Ken


Webmaster note: We are awaiting the install of a cable modem that is required before we can send out pictures. We are working on getting things going, but need the installer to add this equipment first. Please bear with us. ........ Annette




April 13/2002 - I am 90% sure that this bird has a red band on her leg. Try as I might, I cannot be sure. I took a picture today at about 1 pm. .......... Ken




April 12/2002 - Noon

I observed one and maybe two Peregrines flying around Regina City Hall. I estimate from size and coloration that one is our regular female, "8B3". If so, this is indeed very good news as she is living much longer than the known average for a wild bird. This will be her 14th year.

The internet live cameras are in place but the web site does not carry the hack box pictures yet. We hope to have this running in about 10 days.

For more detail, you are welcome to call or email me. .......... Ken





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