The Canadian Peregrine Foundation

Project Document-'em

The cameras which the Canadian Peregrine Foundation has installed overlooking urban peregrine falcon nests offer us a unique opportunity to document the behaviour of this endangered species.  The activity we observe on the nests is documented in three ways.

Video recording

At each site, there is at least one VCR which can be used to tape activities on the nest at any time.  Site coordinators are responsible for judging when and what to record.  As a general rule, we run the tape when there is activity at the nest, and turn it off during periods when the birds are absent or resting.

At the end of the season, we review all of the tapes that have been recored, and select the most interesting scenes to compile a highlight video.   In 1998 we produced a 42-minute documentary on the Etobicoke peregrines, called "Life on the Ledge", which was edited down from over 80 hours of raw footage (see the Gift Shop for information on how to request a copy of "Life on the Ledge").   In 1999, we assembled video segments from several sites to create an entertaining and educational video about urban peregrines called "Operation Comeback".

While the majority of the footage recorded is not used in our final productions, it is still of great value.  These tapes offer some of the best documentation available of peregrine behaviour, and all are archived for future reference.

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The cover of our 1998 video
"Life on the Ledge"

Observational notes:

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A sample of the notes taken at the Etobicoke site. 

In addition to videotaping nest ledge activities, site coordinators take extensive written notes about the behavoiur of the peregrines - adults and chicks alike.  Most of these notes document what is being observed by the nest camera, but supplementary information from outside observations is also included.  This becomes especially important once the chicks begin to fly.

We have already accumulated a large volume of written documentation about urban peregrine behaviour.  In 2002 we will continue to collect data and expand our base of knowledge.  We hope to be able to apply this information to a formal study of the nature of the urban peregrine.

Internet broadcast:

Through our website, we are able to carry out the third component of Project Document'-em, namely the live broadcast of video snapshots from our cameras.  In 1999 we had cameras on the peregrine nests in Etobicoke, Hamilton, and Ottawa, as well as the Guelph and Richmond Hill release sites, and the osprey nest at Mountsberg.  The Etobicoke, Hamilton, and Ottawa cameras have remained active throughout the 2000 and 2001 nesting seasons.  The Etobicoke camera is active throughout the year; the others are expected to be reactivated early in the 2002 nesting season.  Additional cameras may be added as finances and access permit.

In each case, a snapshot is automatically taken every 60 seconds, and uploaded to the website.  If you are watching one of the webcam pages, it should automatically refresh when a new image is available.  We have been asked by many people to have the image refresh more frequently, but the volume of traffic makes it impossible to transmit the images more quickly (without an extremely costly upgrade of equipment, which we cannot afford).  To access the live image pages, go to the Webcam Menu and select the location you would like to view.

We are looking for sponsors to help us with Project Document'-em.  Please contact us if you can help, or know of someone who might be able to.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about Project Document-'em, please e-mail us.

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