Ken's Comments Archive 1997

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This page is devoted to keeping our viewers up-to-date on the successes and setbacks of our peregrine family. Ken Holliday, one of the original people who spearheaded this project beginning in 1985 has maintained a keen interest in this project. The falcons were 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!


July 25/97 - Camera shut down today! I just called the telephone company to have the phone line disconnected today. That is the line that is used for the live camera feed to the internet page. The single chick survived and fledged(flew). He has been seen several times in the downtown area, and all is well. I expect normal migration dates at the end of August...Ken


July 17/97 - Peregrine Update - Very seldom is the single young falcon seen on the camera as he sits outside on the platform and practices flaping his wings. Any day now he will take his first flight and if he is true to pattern, he will hang around city hall and downtown, but will not likely re-enter the hack box. I expect we will shut down the camera, leaving this internet site in place for next year.

Request to all who read this... I want to conduct a survey to see who is interested in this sort of thing, and to see if it is worthwhile to continue. I would appreciate if you would send me an email message Ken@Holliday.com. The following information would be helpful....
  1. How often do you view?
  2. What links do you feel we are wasting time maintaining?
  3. What links do you feel we should maintain?
  4. What can we do to improve this site? Thank you. I will keep you posted after first flight. ...Ken



    July 17/97 - Kestrel Help - The Kestral falcon was returned July 16. It was well fed before it was released. This will give it at least 3 days to find more food or its parents. Good luck to it!...Ken


    July 14/97 - Kestrel Help - I have made arrangements for return the falcon's return to the same farm yard where it came from either tonight or tomorrow .

    This is a perfect example of why we should not pick up what appears to be abandoned wildlife. In most cases, it does them more harm than good. ...Ken


    July 14/97 - Kestrel Help - I called the head of the Vet College Raptor Center at the University of Saskatchewan, Dr. Oliphant, for his personal recommendation. He is also a falconer and a renowned authority on birds of prey. Dr Oliphant said that any Kestrel family will feed it if they have young of the same age. If the falcon is released within 1/2 mile of them, they will hear each others calls, come together, and the parents will feed it. There is also very likely more in the same area and any family will do...Ken


    July 11/97 - Kestrel Help - I have my name listed with local authorities as a resource person to call if they have a falcon that needs attention such as care and feeding of injured or orphaned. I received a call to pickup a falcon from people near Craven, Sask. They reported that they had picked up a young ? on the ground. It was being harassed by other birds and seemed abandoned. I did receive it - a male Kestrel falcon - with a few tufts of down yet. I am somewhat reluctant to turn it free as I think it may not survive unless I release it to the care of other Kestrels. That could be a problem . I do believe it's parents would have looked after it had it been left alone & I will ensure it goes back to the same place it was picked up.... Ken


    July 11/97 - Today we (P. Thompson - Saskatchewan Cooperative Falcon Project & myself) placed I.D. bands on our survivor chick - he received a black band as that indicates he is the offspring of free and wild parents - hatched and raised by natural parents. Red bands are used to identify birds raised in breeding facilities and released to the wild.

    We were both interviewed by one of our local TV stations (STV Television) and they also attended the banding - the event ran as a news event at supper time and at 10:30 PM. Thank you to STV for the coverage - public awareness of the program is vital to it's success... Ken


    July 8/97 - I just came from CKTV Television studio where I was interviewed about the Regina Peregrine Falcon Project. The interest is certainly growing since we announced that we had lost a male adult and 2 of 3 supposedly healthy chicks. It is to be aired July 9/97 on CKCK Television channel 2&6 in Regina - 11:00 a.m. .... Ken


    July 3/97 - I have had email from as far away as Calif, - people asking where are they - did they fly away, die or what? I was able to view the video tape and it seems the chicks were sick on Thursday 28th June. Either starved or diseased. The male is not around and he may have had an accident or - disease - is my best guess. We had confirmed cases of "Newcastles disease" in pigeons earlier in the year and are still finding birds we suspect have the disease. If he died and could not hunt - the female will be a very opportunistic hunter - taking sick and weak pigeons and making the babies and her sick. I started a supplemental feeding program on Monday June 30. We are feeding 2 quail a day to them. The quail are captive bred from the raptor center in Saskatoon. They will be a completely chemical free and disease free food source, and will contain all the calcium(bones) and other minerals they need so much as the chick grows. .

    We plan on banding the one chick about July 11. Wish us luck from here on in.....Ken


    June 29/97 - 9:23PM - Bad news! - We only have one left. I just spoke to Leigh (Calnek) who was up to the nest site and restarted the computer. He and a City Of Regina building maintenance fellow checked the hack box monitor and only saw 1 chick. They then checked the hack box to verify. Leigh has been video taping the falcons as well as having the computer running. He has yet to edit the tapes so he will drop them off at my work place tomorrow morning and I will try to find time to view them (hours and hours). I hope to find what is taking the chicks. We have not seen the male for a few days so that when the female is off hunting, could something be taking them - like an owl or crow? More when we know anything - if we ever do.

    This is unfortunate but not unexpected, the Regina hack and release project has had unprecedented success over the years and the law of averages was bound to catch us sooner than later. This is small consolation to all but it does help to remember the average ....Ken


    June 20/97 - Noon - I checked the hack site using a different camera in same housing. (I would not actually disturb the falcons unless necessary). This camera is a video camera connected to a TV monitor and gives us a good picture as it has a wider field. The 4th chick was smaller and weak. I have not seen it for some time. My guess is that the chick did not survive.

    Mother nature believes in survival of the fittest. We did learn a lot and in future years this experience will be valuable. I will be more knowledgeable and will either start the hatch sooner or retain the chick for artificial hatching and feeding ...Ken


    June 14/97 - 9:00 AM - I checked the hack site to see what happened with the egg that was only partially hatched last night. It is fully hatched and very much alive Without touching it and disturbing all 4 plus the mother - it is pretty near impossible to tell much. I see movement, squirming, squawking, and it is bunched in with the other 3. There is a difference in size, this one is smaller.

    Everything turned out excellent - and without the Internet hookup - I never have known the egg was kicked out - rejected, as the mother had become focused on movement- now she accepts it with the rest. Technology saved the day!! ....Ken


    June 13/97 - Noon - I have been watching the picture for 2 days and I am sure they are hatched. One egg is pushed off to the side. It should have hatched with the others 2 days ago. It likely is infertile.

    I went to the hack site to retrieve the unhatched egg and shells so that testing can be done for DDT residue. I saw 3 chicks - look all ok. I brought the egg to my office, carried in my hand. In the office my secretary held it and said she heard a peep!

    Now we know the problem. This egg is slow to hatch, not infertile. When the mother has movement from chicks she becomes focused on that movement and kicks out anything that is not moving. She will not accept it back unhatched - but will if hatching has started. I talked to experts with a lot of Peregrine experience in Saskatoon. They suggested that I take it to Dr. Paul James from the Wildlife Branch at Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management in Regina. He is able to start the hatching by helping it out of the shell.

    I did take it to him. He opened the egg and broke the membrane, leaving the chick to complete the process as he feared hurting the chick if he forced it. Dr James said that it could take awhile - it is ok in the shell for 2 days as it is.

    The egg was put back in the hack site with the chicks and closely watched for signs of what mother would do. In a matter of less than 2 minutes she was rolling it under her breast with the other chicks. I checked again at 5:00 PM (3 hours). It is still alive, still half in the shell. I will check in the morning.

    This is certainly history for us! Without the monitor and the Internet, we would never have known it was pushed off to the side. It would have simply died in the egg. It needed warmth it was not getting. It needed help. I just hope we were not too late. ....Ken


    June 12/97 - Noon - I SEE CHICKS! - I can't tell the number but will be watching. If anyone sees them all clearly, save the picture (right click on the image with your mouse) and email me. ....Ken


    May 8/97 - I see we have 4 eggs today! Must have been hatched last night. Incubation should be starting today or tomorrow. 4 eggs is the normal number. It is very very seldom that there is more. All is normal.....Ken


    May 7/97 - I think the incubation has started - just 3 eggs was all I saw last time - so likely that is all....Ken


    May 6/97 - Egg #3 is here. The parents will be spending more time in the hack box where we can see them. Incubation will start when she has laid all she is going to - as of 10:55 AM she is not incubating- just keeping the eggs well attended.

    How to tell the 2 birds apart: Female has a red leg band - male has a black leg band. We have not been able to read the numbers yet on the black band. The female is 8B3. The female is 1/3 to 1/2 again larger than the male.... Ken


    May 3/97 - Egg # 2 has finally arrived!. The cold weather we had yesterday and the day before may be slowing the egg production. Usually this female (past years) has laid an egg every other day. These two came 3 days apart, but as of 9:30 this morning there are 2. All is well....Ken

    For those interested . The Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Sask. meets today, May 3. I am a board member and welcome inquiries about our activities. We are a registered charity. This past week I received and held a Kestrel falcon for a few days. He had injured himself somehow. He was picked up by our local humane society. I held it in a special cage, examined him, fed him and turned him over to our local wildlife conservation officers. They will give him to a falconer who specializes in kestrels. This gentleman will eventually release the bird if possible. If release is not possible he can keep the bird for breeding purposes. The conservation office also had a Merlin turned in this week which appears to be the victim of a traffic fatality....Ken


    April 29/97 - We have an egg! The normal thing is for the parents to guard the eggs until a full clutch is laid. Then they start incubation - this way all hatch close together. A normal clutch is 3 or 4 eggs. 8B3 is the female (her band numbers) and we expect her to lay an egg every other day. Things are happening on schedule so far.... Ken


    April 23/97 - No eggs yet - I talked to the breeding facility coordinator in Saskatoon, P. Thompson to find out if the time is too soon or too late to have eggs. He said the cold weather we have had set them back, even the birds in the barn there quit and he expects no action for 2-3 weeks. Mother nature making sure the eggs do not freeze is a possible explanation - I was concerned that maybe they had chosen a new site, but he says not to worry yet. I checked their known roosts this morning and sure enough - they were both outside, therefore they are not incubating anywhere else.

    The web server "UNIBASE Telecom" is storing a picture every minute. You may want to look at them at : http://falcon.unibase.com/~falcon/archive. The pictures are edited and only the ones with birds in them are kept. If the file names you see are not broken into sections , they have not been checked yet, and if you find one, it will be luck. Try the older files.... Ken


    April 19/97 - Newcastles update - Last night I had a call from our conservation officer, Rick. He reports the pigeon that was sent to the Veterinary lab in Saskatoon did have "Newcastle's Disease". This is a terrible thing if it gets into the falcon or water bird population. It spreads by the air, and by dust. According to information that I found on the net, it will transfer to humans and cause a mild sniffle, running nose and cold like symptoms. The Veterinary College will accept no pigeons, and suggests we wash often. The chances of transfer to a farmer's chickens are real as the pigeons flock around the feed mills where the farmers bus their feed from. It would be easy to transfer by the dust. Dogs and cats picked up at the humane society destined for a farm could have it if the humane society accepts sick pigeons - therefore to be safe, when found sick these prolific birds should be promptly euthanised and incinerated.

    The peregrines seem to frequent the hack box often but no eggs yet. ... Ken


    April 14/97 - I have been watching the pictures and about noon Apr. 14, the female was in Hack box. She was observed making scrathing motions in the sand floor. I assume she is making the scrape where she will eventually lay some eggs. How many will she lay? 3-4 hopefully! .... Ken


    April 12/97 - Leigh & I were at the hack box to adjust the camera angle this morning. I was fortunate to have the female land on her perch and I was able to read the band numbers. "8B3" are the numbers on the band. The color of the band is red which tells us she was hatched in captivity, black bands are used for birds hatched in the wild. This is the same female as we have had for a few years. The male was flying around, and we did not stay to try and read his band. We will try to catch him sometime on camera and read it on the monitor.

    Predictions: I also heard very distinct mating calls. There will be eggs in about a week - maybe sooner.... Ken


    April 11/97 - This morning I made a point of checking on my way to work. I saw 2 peregrines on the city hall. They were on separate perches. I was unable to tell if they are male & female. My assumption is that they are familiar to the location and likely one or both of the mated pair from prior years....Ken


    April 10/97 - Update! Big big news!!! We have a peregrine sitting on the south east corner of City Hall this AM. Just flew in as I came to my office. I looked out the window and saw it land! Now we need it's mate. Things are progressing 100%. .... Ken


    April 8/97 - The full software and camera combinations are working 100%. We almost have the pages of narrative and links designed. We should have it all ready for public release in 7-10days Mostly we need the birds to return.

    Newcastle disease scare - several dozen sick pigeons are turned in to the Humane society in the past 2 weeks, some sent to Vet College pathology lab in Saskatoon for analysis. The symptoms seem to tell us it could be Newcastles disease, a very contagious disease that could spread to shore and song and water and prey birds, including the peregrines. Culture results will not be available for a week yet. keep your fingers crossed!.....Ken


    Mar 20/97 - A call from St. Louis, Missouri - One of the chick hatched and banded in Regina in 1996 ran into a building there, she was not killed, only injured. She was held over by a falconer and was released Mar 10,1997. The report was taken by P. Thompson. who says the falcon should do just fine!....Ken


    [ Ken's Comments - 2001 ]


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