Grey-Bruce Peregrine Recovery Team
Both Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus anatum) were purchased by a coalition of local conservationist groups called the Grey-Bruce Peregrine Recovery Team and were placed in a hack box (constructed by volunteers) on top the grain elevator on Friday, June 8, 2001.
(Photo by Craig Todd, OMNR)
The two falcons, 28 and 29 days old, were then fed quail daily while they did their time in the box. Both falcons were released from their "home" on Tuesday, June 26th, with the smaller of the two taking his first flight and the larger just taking it easy. Fat Albert finally made his maiden flight a few days later, on the 28th.
The first bad news for everbody was Russell's disappearance overnight on Friday/Saturday June 30/July 1. Evidence found at the scene indicated that Russell had been attacked and killed by an owl. Very sad news after only such a short time out of the hack box! Albert kept improving his flying skills - chasing gulls and generally fooling around the area of the inner harbour and the grain elevator. He actually vanished from sight for a few days before returning on July 19th. He had been overnighting atop the cement silo on the east side of the harbour but after his four day disappearing act he, for some good reason only he knew, started roosting overnight at a spot on a ledge around the corner from the rear north-east grain silo. "A very bad spot," I thought to myself when I saw him there. And, sadly, it did turn out to be a very bad location to hide.
(Photo by Willie Waterton)
Al's Swim and Death
Al went for a swim around 8:30 p.m. on Monday, July 23, 2001. He was atop the convergence of the upside down V tubes when it appeared he had dropped his dinner. He floated straight down to the ground below to get his food, then he hopped and ran around a bit, then with his meal in his right talon he went over the side of the dock, next thing I knew he was swimming alonside the dock towards the shore. He climbed up and over the old wooden pilings himself and then climbed up the wire over the stone dock. He then sat and with a towel provided by Bert Armstrong, he was carefully covered and transported back to the grain elevator, where he was released. He then ran away from the volunteers watching him and waited until his wings had dried sufficiently for him to fly again. He then flew atop the rear south-east silo and waited, letting his wings dry in the breeze. He then flew south-west around the elevator and came to rest on his new roost around the corner from the rear north-east silo. This is where he remained the night and where he was found dead the next day. "Fat" Albert was killed by probably an owl sometime early on Tuesday, July 24, 2001. A very unfortunate ending to a very promising experiment, but as some say, "There's always next year!"
(Photo by George Peck)
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