Ken's Comments Archive 1999

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They/we are back ....... for another year!!! Begun 2 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!

New features - Last year we introduced a new feature. 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" group, and his new comments can be sent by e-mail to you. Contact Ken if you would like his comments by mail. Please direct any questions, comments or inquiries to Ken Holliday.

June 30/99 - Male Peregrine falcon in Regina identified.
Thanks to hours of watching by John Triffo - we now know the male has a black band on his leg (signifies he was hatched in the wild by free parents). The bank numbers are stamped on the band, "32" that is a 3 over the 2 vertically.

We do not yet know where he came from and will let you all know when we can. .......... Ken

June 30/99 - More falcons!
I just had a call from P. Thompson - Saskatchewan Cooperative Falcon Project. The city of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan has a family of Peregrines on the CPR bldg. Mr.Thompson is going to be there July 2nd to band those chicks. The female there has been identified by the Conservation Officer of the area - she has a black band on her leg (hatched on the wild). Band numbers are "H9"

A report also of some of our Regina chicks in the Edmonton, Alberta area A report of a hack site north of Edmonton that was hit by lighting and the chicks in it died - parents ok though. They may renest. .......... Ken

June 28/99 - The video feed broke down this weekend and Leigh is out of the city. I do not know what to do to fix it. As soon as I get Leigh on the phone I will try to fix it. .......... Ken

June 15/99 2:16 pm - I visited the hack box this afternoon to determine if the 5th egg had hatched - and am very happy to report that it has - WE NOW HAVE 5 HEALTHY CHICKS IN THE REGINA HACK BOX!! I was also able to identify the female. She is "8B3", the same female we have had since 1991. I reached my hand in to gather some egg shells for testing (we want to keep track of DDT levels). The female stabbed my arm with her talons - not enough to hurt me but enough that I did not reach the egg shell and I did let her have her way and left things alone. She immediately resettled over her brood.

The male was not seen but he has been very attentive so we assume he was off hunting. We still need him identified, and will keep watching with the telescope when time permits. .......... Ken

June 14/99 - We have babies!!! There is at least some eggs hatched this morning. I was away for the weekend and do not know when they hatched. I would appreciate anyone who saw chicks earlier than this morning - PLEASE E-MAIL ME

Staff at city hall just phoned me. They say there are 4 babies, I will have to check and see if we have 4 or 5, and if only 4, what happened to the 5th egg. 4 is great, 5 would be a big bonus. .......... Ken

June 9/99 - Yes, I am back and we still have 5 eggs and all is 100% ok so far. Thanks to John Triffo, we now have a partial ID on the parents, male - black band - right leg, aluminum band left leg - no numbers (yet) female - red band - best guess would be "8B3", the same female as prior years but it maybe not as she usually quits with 3 or 4 eggs and has never had 5.

The monitor in the lobby of city hall is working and is real time live full motion. You are invited to view it during all hours that city hall is open.

We were unable to arrange candling of the eggs but we are expecting chicks to hatch anytime now. .......... Ken

June 9/99 - I apologize. I have been dealing with a death in the family (my father-in-law), and have not had time to devote to keeping you updated with our family of falcons. I did get reasurance from Leigh yesterday that there were no hatchings and that Ken is back soon. We should be hearing from him in the next few days. .......... Annette

May 25/99 - The clock on the video was just corrected to show the right day. There is a display in the foyer of city hall with falcon pictures, info about the project, etc. There will also be a live video monitor in the city hall display as soon as the electricity is run to the TV, (later today we assume).We have a photo of a display from other years.

You are invited to come by and watch it in live full motion, - it is a great stop for school classes on a field trip. .......... Ken

Ken's gone!! This will be the last "Ken's Comments" written by Ken for the next 2 weeks. Having guided all of his clients through tax season, Ken is off for a well deserved vacation. We will do our best to keep you informed in his absence. ........ Annette

May 20,99 - This is late breaking news! - There are now 5 eggs ! We thought 4, but a physical count by maintenance staff at city hall this morning confirmed the 5th is there. We are not at all sure when it arrived. The usual thing is the Peregrine will lay an egg every other day until her clutch of eggs is complete and then start incubation. They very rarely lay any later. The best guess is that it was laid a day or 2 after we knew we had 4. This may mean it will hatch late. I have spoke to Paddy Thompson, the fellow in charge of the Sask Cooperative Falcon Project from Saskatoon. That is where the breeding facility is and the college of Veterinary medicine at the U. of S. (University of Saskatchewan). Paddy will drive to Regina about June 1, and candle the eggs. This will tell us the development stage of each chick in its egg shell. I am taking a vacation, May 26- June 7, I will be away........... Ken

May 18/99 - I have been advised that the date on the clock showing the Peregrine incubating the eggs is wrong - by one day. Leigh says he will fix it. Sorry for any confusion this may be causing - but it is live and not a day late. .......... Ken

May 16/99 - Photo Album - You can find a series of still photos that have been taken over the years at the various hack sites, and a description of each photo at It is a link found here or on the left side of the live camera photo frame .......... Ken

Recently a series of pictures from our photo album have been shown in the center frame of the opening page. The photo site that Ken is referring to above are those same pictures, but with descriptions added. In the off-season, these pictures will continue to be displayed in our "center-fold". ........ Annette

May 14/99 - We have it up and running! - You get a new still picture every minute, the live video is to follow. Mother falcon is incubating her eggs, Dad is on guard outside - somewhere. He has been spotted on the higher ledge, NE corner of the building but is only visible with binoculars. Call me if any questions. .......... Ken

May 12/99 - 4 eggs - and incubating! - Friday May 7, Leigh (Calnek of UNIBASE Telecom) saw 4 eggs in the hack box on the monitor at City Hall. He was attempting to start the live internet pictures and ran into minor complications. There were definitely 4 eggs to be seen in the picture and they will now be incubating the eggs - making the expected hatch date approximately June 8.

For those not in Regina (Saskatchewan, Canada) - the weather here is "Wet snow and rain today, and similar forecast for 2-3 days". This is far from the day time highs of 14 - 22 degree highs we had been experiencing for the past 3 weeks. This will have little adverse effect on the falcons as the hack box roof provides protection, and it is deep enough that the rain will not reach into them.

We will advise everyone as soon as the live pictures are on the net. Any questions - just email me or contact by any method here. .......... Ken

May 7/99 - Thursday May 6 - 3 eggs for the Regina falcons - so far. Four is as many as we ever expect. Neither the female nor the male have been identified yet, but hopefully as soon as we turn on the internet signal someone will be lucky enough to see and capture the picture with a leg band when the birds come and go from the hack box. We hope to do that today, as SaskTel was to make the connection and turn our line on yesterday............ Ken


May 5/99 - .... and now there are 3! - Ken is swamped at work, but did take the time to call and tell me that there is now 3 eggs in the hack box. We have had up to 4 in other years, and considering the survival rate, we will be happy to see another. When we started our internet service for the falcons two years ago, our falcon family were fortunate enough to have had 4 eggs. Only one falcon chick survived. It's a waiting game. For Ken.......... Annette

May 3/99 - 2 eggs - A quick check of the TV monitor by staff at city hall tells us there are now 2 eggs. There may be more soon as an adult was in the Hack Box on the eggs when first observed. She left screaming when disturbed by entry into the area where her nest box is. Hopefully she does not drop her egg while flying - disturbance at this time in their cycle is extremely risky and it certainly was not anticipated or planned. We will try to ensure there are no more disturbances until the eggs are all laid and incubation is well advanced or even all hatched!

Internet update - Telephone line is ordered from SaskTel. All they have to do is flip a switch but it seems to take a week to 10 days to get that done. When that is completed, we will able to broadcast live. .......... Ken

April 30/99 - I am happy to report that we have our first egg for this year. This is according to the staff at City Hall (Maintenance) who work in the boiler room where the monitor screen is set up to view the camera signal. There was no egg last night and this morning there is one.

We plan to turn the video signal on to the Internet Monday if all goes well. (SaskTel hooks up our phone line, and hopefully no unforeseen computer problems)

It is reasonable to expect 3 or 4 eggs, laid over 6 to 8 days, then the incubation starts - 30-33 days. .......... Ken

April 30,99 - I have been falling down with keeping everyone up to do date - my apologies are offered. I have been busy and have not had time to check out the hack box for eggs, will try to do so today. The camera is not up yet, maybe next week. I did do a quick check on the way to work this morning and did not see any falcons in the usual spots but that is no concern as I would think the female could be inside the hack box and the male out on a lookout perch. More when I know more. .......... Ken

April 23/99 - Now we have 2 only - at least that is all we could find last evening. The pair were seen on the Regina City Hall. There is a male and a female based on size alone. The female was perched on the hack box light or perch and calling to the male who came and went - circled and circled the City Hall building, chirping to her as he went. This evening I decided to take along a representative from one of last year's sponsors (Marc Prymack of Canada Life Group Dept) and he was fortunate to see some flying skills being demonstrated as well as the courtship ritual. With the great weather last night just before sunset and the blue sky as a background it was special! We will look for eggs soon!! .......... Ken

April 21/99 - This evening as I was on my way home from work, I drove by Regina City Hall where the hack box is located. I spotted a peregrine on the lights that they love to use as a perch. I decided to take some video footage and was attempting to get a steady shot when my target flew off, screaming!. I soon saw why. It was joined by another falcon, and then ANOTHER!! THAT'S RIGHT 3 AT ONCE CIRCLED THE CITY HALL AND FLEW OFF! My guess is - one is going to have to leave the territory.

Another bit of news - today the folks who claim to have a peregrine roost on their balcony on the H. A. Roberts Plaza Apartment building brought me video footage taken April 14/99 10:54 PM (according to the date stamp on their film). This footage was taken from their living room, through 2 panes of glass (which could use a spring cleaning ;-)).... but, it definitely is an adult peregrine they took a picture of. We will try to make a decent video clip and make it available on the web site some day.

The camera monitor is not set up yet, we are waiting to be sure they lay eggs in the usual spot. .......... Ken

April 15/99 - I reported the sighting of a falcon on City hall a few days ago, and since then I had not seen it at all - until today. Today I saw one on the top bar of the SGI sign on the SGI (Saskatchewan Government Insurance) building. This faces south and was a favorite perch in prior years as it allows the falcons to see the Hack Box site, watch for invaders such as crows and defend their territory without necessarily giving away its location to every passing predator bird.This is a good sign!

Also, I had a VCR tape delivered to me last year which was taken by people who live in the H. A. Roberts Plaza apartment tower. This tape clearly showed a Peregrine sitting on their balcony. This would also be a good lookout location for a male to watch the hack site. They just phoned me to say they had a visitor last night - a Peregrine was roosting on their balcony at 10:00 PM and still there at 12:00 when they quit watching. This also is great news!! .......... Ken

Apr 9/99 - I have made a point of searching yesterday and this morning for our falcon, and have not seen it again. You will recall I said it could be on its way through. I will keep looking and welcome any email reports of downtown Regina sightings. .......... Ken

Apr 7/99 - 4:00 PM - Leigh just left my office, called from his cell and advised he thought he saw a falcon on city hall. I went to investigate, and with my telescope confirmed it is in fact a Peregrine. My guess is that it is the same female as last year. It could be any of a number of things, - a Tundra Subspecies bird just passing through on its migration to the Tundra, a new bird looking for a territory, a bird on its way to a territory in Saskatoon, Calgary or Edmonton or .....? All would naturally gravitate to the best perch sites in the city - which happens to be the light fixtures around city hall. Lets hope it is one of ours back. It is definitely an adult with a very cream colored chest. It's too large for a male. I got a 5 second video clip of poor quality, no ID bands were seen.

For you Regina citizens, keep your eyes open for it again. It will perch on these sites: SGI building sign - south side, TD bank building signs - inside the "D", The micro-wave Sask Tel tower railings - 12th and Lorne, Ramada (DELTA) hotel roof edge, CIBC head office sign and roof edge, apartment tower buildings, balconies and railings. It definitely will not be seen on old poplar trees, evergreen trees, street lights, house or garage roofs. A falcon displaying this behavior may be a Merlin, but definitely not a Peregrine. Great to see one in town! .......... Ken

Apr 5/99 - Today, Leigh Calnek (Internet Service Provider for UNIBASE Telecom) and I discussed when to expect the falcons back. We also discussed when we should expect to have the internet live cam up and running. Our best guess is that it will be in 2-3 weeks.

Last Saturday Leigh and I did spring cleaning at the hack site which involved removal of last year's sand and debris and putting clean sand in the box. Peregrine Falcons make a 'scrape' in the sand to lay eggs when they are not tree nesting. We also painted the inside of the hack box (water based latex - non toxic) and installed the camera with housing. We are hoping the paint job will affect the lighting inside the hack box and make for better pictures. The Internet hookup is done from another room inside. The video feed is working from the camera mounted outside the hack box, so that there will be no disturbance at the hack box site. .......... Ken

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