Ken's Comments Archive 1998

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They/we are back ....... for another year!!! Begun last year, "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 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!

NEW FEATURE - This year we are introducing a new feature. If you have any questions regarding our falcon family, or falcons in general, Ken will attempt to answer them. Please direct any questions or comments to Ken Holliday.




July 22/98 - Good news - Bad News !! BAD ...... This is an interesting week - we lost one of this years chicks!. It was found alive and unable to fly on the roof of the Cornwall Center (downtown Regina, Saskatchewan). I recovered it on Monday, did an examination and found that although it didn't have any visible wounds, it did not have the use of its legs.  I took it to Saskatoon on Tuesday, July 21/98 to the Veterinary College - Universities of Saskatchewan, and to the Peregrine breeding facility there.  It was found to have a broken back, and that means it will never fly correctly, if at all. It would never be able to clean itself, and would have a horrible life even if it could be operated on and rehabilitated . It was therefore put to sleep. 

We do know that we lose 60% of the chicks in the first year - or so I am told by the coordinator of the Saskatchewan Cooperative Falcon project - Mr Paddy Thompson.  This is part of that 60% and one of the very few that I actually get to see, and hear about the demise of.  Others just die in the wild from accidents, starvation and predation.

GOOD.... The others here in Regina are still doing well, and were seen flying around this morning.

I am doing a talk to 8,9 and 10 year olds here in Regina this week at a "Bird Camp" at the local museum. I will be speaking on bird identification of birds of prey. This is grooming kids for future biologists and to waken their respect for wildlife and our environment in general. It is also fun to do.......... Ken


July 17/98 - Injured falcon!! I had a call from a conservation officer in Saskatchewan. He had picked up a disabled Prairie Falcon from somewhere in South West Saskatchewan, unbanded, and given to him in a box. He did not do a complete exam. It was in the hands of a rehab person, and he was told it had a broken leg or something.  It has been flown to the Veterinary College (The Peregrine breeding center) in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for attention. 

I later called the College and the Vet who examined it - unfortunately the leg would be un useable and so would the wing - even if it could be fixed, and they could not fix it. This is not uncommon.  There is no point in release of a bird in other than perfect condition as it will not survive - survival of the fittest is Mother Nature's rule......... Ken


July 16/98 All 3 of our chicks are flying and doing well, moving from building to building etc.

As they will not return to the hack box - the cameras will be removed today or tomorrow. This web page will remain active all year.  We will take all the video tapes (one was done each day for weeks now) and make video clips that are going contain scenes of activity. These will show the growth and change from day to day - week to week.

That is the plan anyway - if anyone here in Regina feels like editing these tapes - email me - thanks. ........ Ken


July 13/98 - 10:00 a.m. - I was just at city hall - and saw one of the female chicks. (I can tell by the size). She was on a 2nd floor roof, having flown earlier and rested there. This roof surrounds city hall and makes a place to land when they first fly.

While I was looking at it from the ground, it flew North East towards the SGI building. It was followed by the adult bird that had been watching from the very top of city hall.  Last seen they were circling the SGI building near the top. There was one or two pieces of down that I could see before it flew.  I also saw another Peregrine (chick, I think) fly in the same direction.

This means we will shut down the cameras soon - maybe today, as they never return to the inside of the hack box after their first flight. Another successful year for Regina Peregrines seems to be coming to a close. Migration will be 1-2 months from now - I assume! ....... Ken


July 2/98 - Electric storm again last night!  It knocked out the computer that transmits pictures. It should be up and running again later this morning.

Last time we visited the hack box - all 3 chicks were doing great!  They will be spending more and more time outside on the perch. They will be exercising their wings out there and unfortunately our cameras are inside the hack box and not moveable. Maybe another year we can find an easy way to cover both areas. I expect the birds to take their first flight and never return to the hack box. That should be this weekend to next weekend - about when they are 32-42  days old. ....... Ken


June 29/98 - Wildlife rehabilitation ("Wildlife Rehabilitation Society Of Saskatchewan" (WRSOS)) is also part of what I do, and this weekend I took possession of a Kestrel Falcon from our local Humane Society.  It is about a week from being fully able to fend for itself and fly. I will feed it and release it when it is ready. It was found on the ground near a local refinery - there is likely a nest of them somewhere nearby.  I know of another nest site in the country near my cottage and I will turn it free there. I know from past experience that it does not matter that it is the same nest, they adopt others of the same species easily. Ideally, it should have been left where it was - but I can not pin point that location.

Our new-found friends' food is quail that was raised as a food source for birds of prey by the falcon project staff in Saskatoon. If you are here in Regina and find "SMALL" (sparrows and smaller) birds that are window crash deaths - you might give me a call. I can be reached in Regina at Holliday and Aikens Financial Planners - 306-584-2544 ...... Ken

Webmaster's note: Ken rescued a Kestral falcon beginning July 11th last year too. That was followed in our 1997 archived "Ken's Comments". Remember to scroll "up" (dated bottom to top) for the updates, and the results of the rescue.


June 29/98 - We are back in operation. Leigh was able to restart everything yesterday at about 5:00 PM. The storm caused a power outage and that meant that all the programs have to be restarted. This is a manual process and the computer is not manned 24 hours a day - as a matter of fact it is only attended about 10 minutes a day and sits in the boiler room of Regina City Hall, a very secure place....... Ken


June 27 & 28/98 - Mother nature did us in!  There was a large electrical storm and UNIBASE got hit! That is our server for the internet. The technical fellow who can fix it is away this weekend, but he will attend to it as soon as he returns. He hopes to be up and running again by Monday. Keep checking!....... Ken


June 26/98 - We are happy to report that the banding went well! - actually could not be better. It was attended by CBC and CTV television news as well as the Leader Post (local Regina newspaper). Due to the ball game tonight, the CBC news aired at 5:00pm and their coverage was good.  I invited my office staff and children to attend. The 2 boys were pretty happy to be able to see and even touch the fluffy chicks.  The female made it well know she was not happy but certainly no problems.  The male makes himself scarce when we are there - he stays away.  Maintenance staff has seen him - or seen 2 adults very briefly at once - so it has to be him. No identification is likely now though.

All 3 are very healthy- 2 males and 1 female chick. Saskatoon reports the same - according to Paddy Thompson who drove down just for the banding - bringing the bands and tools needed. We recorded the process and will make a video clip sometime - which we will post on the web site after the chicks have left...... Ken


June 25/98 - Bird banding process schedule for June 26/98.

We will be banding the birds shortly after 10:00 AM June 26th. The babies have to be removed from the hack box to do this. Paddy Thompson will decide then if he wants to install some dowels to separate the outside perch and thus, the parents from the chicks in the box. It would also ensure the chicks do not jump in fright when we start to remove or return them and would also ensure that the parent(s) will not injure themselves or us defending their chicks.

The problem with the installation is it takes a few minutes and is also a disturbance.

Viewing the banding may be impossible at the time as the camera is a permanent mount to the inside of the box. We will try to exchange or use a different camcorder and feed that signal while we are banding. We will record the process, make a clip of video footage of this and set a new link to this video footage that can be viewed with your real video software plug in.

Wish us luck....... Ken


June 25/98 - 8B3 strikes me!

Yesterday I went to the hack box to clean the glass in front of the camera. (The birds are messing things up as they get bigger). The female (8B3) was not happy to have me putting my hand anywhere near her children. This is the first time she has ever actually hit me! ( I still love her). She only hit me with a wing, and as I only have to put my hand in the box about 6 inches to reach the glass - it is no problem - but - she sure is protective! This means we will have to be careful tomorrow when we band the birds...... Ken

June 17/98 - This morning it is raining, and Mom is trying to keep all 3 of her growing and restless chicks warm. I can not see any problems. The news media has called me about the live video having problems making the connection from the instructions on the link here. I find it works best if you use as location www.unibase.com/falcon.rm and do not use the prn://  in front of it. Both should work but the prn:// seems to cause a problem. We are trying to find a way to correct or improve exposure and color - the inside of the hack box gets pretty white from the bird excrement and this reflects too much light. The blue is too intense and we can not find a correction within the software for this.

As this is all volunteer time, (expertise, software, hardware, and web page management) - we can only say we are doing our best and will keep trying. The main thing is the birds are doing just great!!!....Ken 

June 12/98 - "Real Video" Thanks for waiting, patient wildlife fans. The long wait is over - we have the full motion video working for those with a higher speed connection! (You should have at least a 28.8 modem connection). Go back to the home page. Find the link on the left side for "Live full motion video" which takes you an area of our web site where you can download a free copy of the software "Real Player" and instructions for setup. You can also go to the Real Player site and find and download the free newest version, 5.0. This is really a very simple process and once you have it you never need to do this again. Once you have Real Player, start it, and go to location "www.unibase.com/falcon.rm". When we experience video stream problems -it restarts automatically in less than a minute - just redo the 'go to location "www.unibase.com/falcon.rm"' and all should be operational again. We thank all for waiting patiently while we worked out the bugs. ...... Ken 


June 11/98 - "8B3"  red band - for sure! Today I retrieved the egg that did not hatch and the female stood and watched from the entrance to the hack box. She is looking great! The 3 chicks look healthy, and her band number confirms she is the same female as prior years. One of the maintenance men from city hall - said "I thought so - she is getting used to us washing windows, serving the air conditioners etc, and the crews are not as afraid of her as in years past".  This is both good and bad - the bad part is that she may get too careless, not be afraid enough of humans and get herself into trouble. However, she has done fine for over 7 years so far -so she likely will continue to be fine for a few years yet...... Ken 


June 10/98 - Webmaster's note: For you faithful followers of Ken's Comments, I apologize. Somewhere between Ken's computer, and mine, some of the comments got lost. We realized the problem this evening, and I have updated the wayward comments. Please read past today's postings for extra comments added today. (June 4, 5 and 10th) Once again, we apologize.


June 10/98 - I spoke to "Leigh" of UNIBASE Telecom, our internet service provider, about the questions asked by Pam from Oregon. Leigh was at City Hall working on getting the full motion video to run automatically  and observed on the live TV monitor 3 chicks and 1 egg. This was today.  If the egg is still there tomorrow I guess I will try and retrieve it. We would send it to the U of S Vet Lab where the breeding facilities are, and have them check it for pesticide residue etc. 

The full motion video works sometimes and keeps stopping, requiring manual restart. Leigh is trying to run it from a scheduler so that he controls the stopping and restart.  Thought we had it running for awhile today - but not yet.  It should be going tomorrow or Friday! ..... Ken


June 10/98 - Pam in Portland Oregon writes: "Have all of the eggs hatched? Has the male been around? I saw a time when the female had left, then an adult came back.  At first I thought that it was the female, but this bird stood and stared at the kids. The female usually climbs back on top.  After awhile this adult left and later the female returned and settled herself back on the nest. What do you think? I almost think that it may have been a smaller bird which would make it the male.  But I don't know them that well and she's usually so puffed up.  Here's a picture.  Tell me what you think.

ANSWER - Hi Pam! I think all the eggs have hatched - but can never be sure as I have yet to see the site when no one is on the eggs/chicks. I am not able to see your picture - as I lost my connection while downloading, please resend. You may have been the only one to see them - a male is smaller. I have never been able to ID him. Did you see the leg bands well enough to even tell the color- black or red on one leg and aluminum on other? Sure is great to hear from observers, thanks for the interest. I look forward to receiving the picture. .... Ken


June 5/98 - Today Paddy & I made a presentation to a school in Regina - St Dominic Savio, Grade 3-5.  We talked about birds of pre identification, how the peregrine was effected by DDT and their comeback.  Paddy told them the specie, while still endangered, is making a comeback thanks to projects like this and the others you can link to from here. We showed the information tape from when we had a display in the lobby of the hotel where we released birds and then Paddy brought in "Chipper" his 7 year old male Peregrine who is always a big hit!

I assume the rest of the eggs are or will hatch today if ever. - I am off for the weekend and will be monitoring by internet.....ken


June 4/98 - Today we discovered that only 2 eggs have hatched, and the other eggs are still being incubated. They were laid a few days apart so maybe they will hatch a few apart. Both birds were seen at the hack box yesterday. I have not seen any feeding of the young but assume the parents are doing as in other years and will be feeding as needed.

I watched the CTV news tonight and see that Ottawa has a pair of birds and they have hatched there as well. The live video is getting closer to reality - just a couple more bugs to work out.  It keeps stopping transmission. The computer technical person at "UNIBASE" is working on the problem and hopes to have it fixed this week. will keep you posted. ...... Ken


June 3/98 - Hatching!! - They are hatching - as I watch the internet I see the mother moving around a lot. Then, we have egg shells pushed out from under her. I see 2 or three remains of eggs, so am sure the eggs hatched today.

Live Video - yes, we are working on it. It needs some bugs worked out such as settings which need to be fine tuned. We have had it working periodically and as soon as we get it going properly we will let you all know. ..... Ken


May 23/98 - We are implementing a new feature this year. This is prompted by an inquiry I had this week. One of our regular followers had a question after reading yesterday's Ken's Comments. She asks..... "Why is it that you are not seeing the male?? Is this normal behaviour? Do you think he is abandoning his mate? Do you have concerns that he may be ill like the male that we lost last year?"

ANSWER - He is likely around and I am just not aware of his perch location. I expect he is near enough for him to guard the hack box, and far enough away to not draw attention to it.  This would be normal. Is he abandoning his mate? This would be very very unlikely. They mate for life, but pick up a new mate if the current one dies. They split up for the winter season and reacquaint themselves back at the territory in the spring. I have no reason to think he is ill.  I have no reports of unnatural deaths in birds this year and seeing him once every 2 weeks is just frustrating - not a real concern though.  I would just like to I.D. them. ..... Ken


May 22/98 - Just a note to keep you all up to date - the female is being a dedicated lady! Every time I look, there she is sitting on her eggs. I have looked many times around city hall and seldom see the male.  I had a report of him on an apartment building balcony - 6th floor (H. A. Roberts Plaza) and have seen him on the micro tower platform hand rails. We still expect hatching to be about June 8th.

Myself and Paddy Thompson - the fellow in charge of the breeding barns and Peregrines in Saskatoon - are doing a talk to grades 4-5-6 at a school here next Friday afternoon.  I think the students get most from the question/answer period but we give them a lesson on bird identification, a bit on the food chain and how the problem developed, as well as the past and current status of the project and Peregrines in general. If any other school here or in Saskatoon wants us to come and talk to them - or if you want to talk to schools where we have been - give ether of us a call. I can be reached in Regina at Holliday and Aikens Financial Planners - 306-584-2544 or Paddy in Saskatoon at Brigadier Security 306-665-0401 or you may e-mail me.

If you happen to be watching the birds on camera and see a band on the leg, capture the picture and email it to me. We are trying to do a positive ID on the birds and that is the one best thing to use if we can.  Thanks....... Ken


May 14/98 - Today I had the pleasure of promoting this site on our local TV news broadcast at 6 pm. The coverage was better than I expected. The screens included my interview at ground level city hall, and the monitor screens on the top floor of city hall.

I had a phone call from Toronto. It was a fellow who was very involved here before he moved, John Triffo. He is doing lots of talks and slide shows there and says the people in Toronto are really enjoying seeing the Peregrine pictures he has from Sask.  He says the interest in Toronto of the falcons is very high - and hats off to the coordinator there as he seems to get lots of sponsors and has lots of activities going on. I know the time involved and admire his dedication.

Our 2 peregrines are still unidentified - if anyone is watching them and sees a band, save the picture (right click on the image and save) and email me please  (ken@holliday.com). The four eggs are being incubated and we expect a very normal year....... Ken


May 7/98 -Later in Afternoon The video has been upgraded already, check again if you had a poor picture. Feedback and comments desired.Contact :
Ken Holliday
Coordinator - Regina Peregrine Falcon Release Project
200-2445, 13th Ave,
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada S4P 0W1
1-306-584-2544


May 7/98 - We have 4 eggs and they are in the incubation phase.

I am told by the staff at city hall - maintenance people who can not help but see the monitor, that there were only 2 eggs on Monday, May 4 early morning. The female has been seen on the eggs every time they have looked. Today we were installing the internet and she left them for a few seconds; this is the first time we saw 4.

The camera went live today - BUT - the video quality is poor and will be upgraded later today or tomorrow. You get a new picture every 1 minute at this time. Full motion video is planned for those with the equipment and software to view it.  - more on that later.

32 days of incubation are needed. That makes hatching day about June 6-8/98 ...... Ken


April 26/98 - As of about 6 P.M.,  we have 2 eggs All is progressing as hoped ...... Ken


April 24/98 - Egg # 1 is laid - staff from Regina City Hall today called to say that they were looking at the TV monitor of the inside of our hack box and there is an egg that was not there earlier today! Now we are about as sure as we can be that they will again use the hack box as in years before - the female is true to habit.

What to expect now? It is normal for them to lay 3-4 eggs, one every other day. When the female is done laying eggs she will start the incubation period. This lasts 30 - 32 days. We will try to have the camera live before the end of next week. We will have to go where the hack box is, we don't have to disturb them at all to see what is going on!

We will want to watch for predation by crows or others birds, which is almost impossible with 2 healthy parents on guard. We will want to watch real close for abnormal behavior - as we had last year with the Newcastles disease. ....... Ken


April 22/98 - We have a pair!
Our thanks to an avid peregrine observer who called me this morning to say that there were 2 on the perches at city hall! I immediately left my office and went to observe, and verified the pair - one much smaller than the other which is typically the way it should be. Male peregrines are 1/3 smaller than females. I expect we will see eggs in the hack box in 10 days approximately.  The camera is turned on, the monitor is active, but it is not sending the signal to the internet yet. We will delay that until we are certain there is something to see....... Ken


April 20/98 - Still only one confirmed bird in this city and it appears to be a female. It is definitely a red band on her leg as I have observed it with a spotting telescope I carry with me at all times. I have a report of another bird having been seen here, but the 2 were never seen together. Maybe it was an immature bird or a female or another subspecies we get traveling through (Tundris). We have Anatum here. We are keeping our hopes up!

We have the cameras mounted but will not turn them on to the internet until we have a definite nesting activity. Wish us luck ...... Ken


April 7/98 - We have a peregrine falcon in the city of Regina! I observed one this morning - perched on the hack box perch, or light fixture (same thing) on Regina City Hall - 8:00 a.m. It looked big enough to be a female, - for sure it is a mature bird, I may have seen a black band on the right leg, but it was such a fleeting glance it is impossible to confirm. Tomorrow I will check again and look for a mate.

We do intend to have the camera live as soon as, and if, the bids start to nest. First we need a pair, then we need them to call the hack box home - for another year ....... then we wait and watch. .... Ken





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