By Mary Anne McDougall

McKeever and Judson have been attentive parents to the three chicks hatched between April 26-28, bringing prey, feeding them, and fiercely defending the nest. Although four eggs were laid only three were viable.

On May 15, an experienced climber descended from the roof of the Sheraton Hotel down into the nest ledge on the 18th floor high above King Street as McKeever loudly protested, flying by the ledge to protect her chicks from what she perceived as a predator. The three chicks and the remaining egg were gently placed in a special basket and carefully lifted to volunteers to be weighed, sexed, their well- being recorded and of course given names. The unhatched egg was sent for analysis.

All three chicks were determined to be female by their weight as female peregrine chicks are heavier than males. They were found to be in good health and with full crops, meaning they were well fed. Two aluminum bands were applied to each of the chicks – one black band identifies a Canadian produced falcon, and the other is a silver-coloured band issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife to identify any peregrine hatched in North America. At this time, a temporary, coloured band was also applied so that the chicks can be identified by our volunteers once they begin the fledging period.

In keeping with previous years our three chicks were given Hamilton related names before being safely returned to the nest. This year they have been called after Hamilton neighbourhoods – Blakeley, Stinson and Westdale.

The Hamilton Community Peregrine Project has been monitoring this nest since 1995. This year through a generous donation from Hanwha Vision we have been able to replace Camera Two with a new high-tech camera. We would also like to acknowledge and thank Cameron Kroetch for enabling a Ward 2 Community Grant to cover the additional equipment and work needed for the installation.

Volunteers along with two paid coordinators will begin a “feet on the street” watch on May 28th this year. During the next four weeks (until June 24th) the chicks will be monitored as they take their initial flights. Signing up for two hours shifts from 7am to 9pm and using binoculars and radios to communicate, volunteers will keep a close eye on our three juvenile peregrines. Feeding, flights, attempts at hunting and their whereabouts will be documented during this time. Downtown busy streets and surrounding buildings can be dangerous to a newly fledged falcon before they build the strength needed to maneuver safely around this urban setting. Last year Falconwatch attended three rescues enabling the safe return to the nest of all three chicks. Peregrine Falcons are listed as a “species of concern” and our efforts to ensure the successful fledging of Hamilton’s chicks are important for their continued survival.

Please consider volunteering and/or donating to help us continue this important work. Visit us at to find out more and to view the latest images from our amazing webcam.