The Canadian Peregrine Foundation

Regular features of Talon Tales:

Click here for sample article

Articles printed to date:

November 2001 - CPF's year in review; Fall 2001 raptor migration report;
Introduction the Student's Guide to Owls
August 2001
-Baillie Birdathon 2001

November 2000 - CPF's year in review; Fall 2000 raptor migration report
August 2000 - Ontario peregrine survey 2000
May 2000 - The 2000 peregrine falcon survey 

November 1999 - The status of peregrine falcons in Ontario, 1999
August 1999 - Partners and supporters '99; Osprey Watch '99
May 1999 - Osprey Watch '99; Baillie Birdathon 1999
February 1999 - News from Mountsberg; Osprey Camera Project

November 1998 - News from the Wild Bird Clinic

The article below is an example of a Special Report, from the August 2000 issue of Talon Tales.

Ontario Peregrine Survey 2000
by Ted Armstrong

Although attempts are made to monitor the status of Ontario’s peregrine falcon population every year, a more concerted effort is being made in 2000 as part of the national survey, which is conducted every five years as part of the National Peregrine Falcon Recovery Plan. The survey has been going very well. Reports have come in from across the province, with concentrations of nesting reports from southern and northwestern Ontario and many new sites being reported. Volunteers are again intensively monitoring most urban sites, and reports of possible and confirmed peregrine territories have been received from volunteers across the province.

Based upon some earlier experience in Lake Superior (which itself drew upon experience from the Labrador coastline), helicopters have been shown to be an effective way to search extensive areas of cliff habitat to document active peregrine habitat. A helicopter survey was conducted along much of the Ontario shore of Lake Superior, the entire shoreline of Lake Nipigon, the Killarney/Sudbury and Temagami area, the Bruce Peninsula, and Algonquin Park. Many organizations, corporations, and individual volunteers have contributed their time, effort, and resources to the survey.

Overall results have been very encouraging. The 1998 and 1999 surveys suggested a minimum of 32-33 occupied territories (the highest ever recorded since the recovery program began). As of July 13th 2000, a total of 50 nesting territories had been confirmed, with an additional four possible but unconfirmed territories. This is the highest number of territories that has been confirmed in Ontario in any year, and is significantly higher than any previous year’s total. This count includes 29 confirmed nesting attempts, an additional 11 confirmed territorial pairs, and an additional 10 confirmed occupied territories.

Most nest sites that have been active in recent years have again been occupied this year. In addition, new nests have been located in every part of the province. A summary of the results to date:

Southern Ontario - 12 confirmed sites, including 8 nesting attempts (two in Toronto, and one each at London, Etobicoke, Hamilton, Ottawa, Mississauga, and Bruce Peninsula), one additional territorial pair (on the north shore of Lake Erie), and three additional occupied territories. The pair on the Bruce Peninsula was just the second cliff nest in southern Ontario since the population recovery began, and the only one this year.

Northeastern Ontario - 8 confirmed sites including 5 nesting attempts and an additional three territorial pairs. One of the documented nests was farther north than any previously recorded in the province.

Northwestern Ontario - 30 confirmed sites including 16 nesting attempts, an additional 7 territorial pairs, and an additional 7 occupied territories. This total included 12 new sites in the Lake Superior basin. While the majority of sites continue to be within the immediate Lake Superior basin, nests are also being recorded further inland, though no sites have yet been confirmed on Lake Nipigon.

Ontario is also providing peregrine habitat to at least two additional nesting pairs, who have chosen to nest in our neighbouring jurisdictions (Niagara Falls, New York; Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan).

Breeding - the 24 observed nests with young at or near banding age (approximately three weeks or older) contained a total of 64 young - an average of 2.7 young per nest. As in past years, efforts were made to band as many as possible, particularly in southern and northwestern Ontario. A total of 43 young has been banded to date (16 in the south; 27 in the north).

Anyone who has observed a peregrine falcon during the breeding season (March through August) is encouraged to report the sighting, as we expect that there may still be additional nesting sites that have not yet been documented. The interest, support, and reports of all those who have participated in the survey to date are appreciated. A further update will be provided when the final results have been compiled.


A CAUTIONARY NOTE - by CPF Director Mark Nash

While the numbers reported by the survey sound promising, we view the results with caution. Because of its large scope, there are significant limitations on such a project in terms of time and expenses. As a result, many of the birds reported, especially in Northern Ontario, were seen a handful of times at best, and bands could not be seen/read on most. Without positive identification of individual birds, it is impossible to be confident about the status of the population. We have already learned through Project Track-’em that year-old peregrine falcons roam considerably, especially early in the summer, and thus it is easily possible that individuals could be recorded two or three or more times at different locations over the course of the survey. We hope that the numbers presented are in fact an accurate reflection of Ontario’s current peregrine population, but in the absence of further evidence, we fear that the recovery may not yet be as strong as the results suggest.


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