Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Peregrine Banding - Toronto Sheraton Centre

 Peregrine Falcons Rhea Mae and Tiago have nested at the Toronto Sheraton Centre Hotel for the past 7 years and have returned again this year to the hustle and bustle of the downtown core to raise their young. This year's eyases were banded by the MNR and the Canadian Peregrine Fundation on Wed May the 23rd. There were four chicks  Marlee a 595g male, Journey an 850g female , Cosmo the runt at 535g male and finally Fef a 815g female. The sex of the young are determined by weight and you can see that the females weigh a lot more than the males.

 Two bands are installed one on each leg, one from the Canadian Wildlife Services the other from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services from south of the border. A temporary piece of  tape, a different color for each chick is applied over the US tag which allows the fledge watchers an easy way to identify each bird and keep track as they leave the nest usually 40days after hatching. Fledge watch starts this week 04-Jun-2012.

 I've attended this event twice now and this year was special as I was able to see the chicks being extracted from the nest. A small access panel located at one of the 43rd floor ledge allows the MNR biologist to snatch the chicks from their protective parents. The technician had to use a broom with one hand to hold back mom, while using the other to collect the better than handful sized bundles of beaks and claws. I managed to shoot over the shoulder of the MNR tech and watched through the Hotel's mechanical room window as the parents circle looking for their family. I was told that this is the only site that allows the chicks to be banded without a tech being left behind to distract the parents. The banding is rather quick and the stress on the young is controlled by spraying water into their mouths, which happens to be the only water they consume for the rest of the life.

I must thank the Canadian Peregrine Foundation and the Sheraton Centre Hotel for allowing us access and for their hospitality to witness this very special event. I recommend this event to anyone who is interested in birds or nature, and I hope to witness Rhea Mae and Tiago's young being banded again next year...

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