John Millar and Chris Phinney teamed up with the Hamilton Naturalist Club and the Ministry of Natural Resources to band some baby peregrine falcons nesting in Hamilton. Via the live web cam we have watched four eggs hatch over the last few weeks. Two of the young birds failed to make it till banding time and unfortunatly died last week.
Upon walking out onto the roof of the hotel we were greated or rather warned off by the parents dive bombing and squacking at us. We set up all of the safety gear at 10:00am. By 11:00 John was over the edge and Chris belayed him down to the nest. All was going to plan until one of the chicks jumped up onto the ledge and looked like it was going to jump off. This would have been a disaster as it was certainly too young to fly. The second chick was scooped up by John and sent to the MNR officials who banded and examined her. Unfortunatly the chick has an infection and cannot be released back into the nest, so she is off to Guelph for a some care.
Officials decided that the other chick might fall if we tried to get retrieve it, so John came off the ledge and we went into the hotel to watch live from the lounge. After about 45 mins she finally hopped back down into the nest and promptly hid in a corner. At this point we had to come up with a new plan. John suggested that one end of the nest be blocked and he would try to come down right on top of the little guys hidding spot.
Back up to the roof and John was over the edge again. This time he was able to corner the chick and safely scoop her into the transport bag. The chick was rushed down to the MNR biologist, examined, banded and plopped back into the nest. A very nerve wracking day for John who was afraid that the chick might fall off the ledge. Both mom and dad kept us busy by constantly diving at our heads. Quite a few close calls for me too as I belayed John from above.
Web Cam captures from the Hamilton Community Peregrine Project web site.