Project Peregrine – 2015 Annual Report

Since 1996, Project Peregrine has been undertaking the monitoring of Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus) within the Ontario portion of the Lake Superior Basin, and in northwestern Ontario. With support from Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry staff at District Offices at Thunder Bay, Nipigon, Wawa, Sault Ste. Marie, and Atikokan, and assistance from staff at Pukaskwa National Park, more than 100 peregrine falcon territories have now been identified. Two new sites were added in 2014.
In 2014, winter conditions persisted well into spring (just like in 2013) with many inland lakes not becoming ice free until early June. Peregrines were being observed back on territories by early April, but based on the age of the chicks that were banded nesting did not take place until the first part of May. Chicks were once again like in 2013, approximately 2 weeks later than normal. This was the first year that a helicopter survey was not undertaken, and therefore many on the known territories were not surveyed. Nest sites that were surveyed were ones that could be accessed easily by vehicle, foot, or by boat.
There were 32 active peregrine falcon territories confirmed in 2014. The 32 territories represented 24 territorial pairs and 8 occupied territories. Of the 24 territorial pairs, 10 pairs were confirmed to have fledged 15 chicks (chick over 24 days), 4 pairs were identified as nesting pairs, and breeding success was not confirmed for 10 pairs.
Peregrine chicks were banded at six nest sites, and a total of 16 chicks (10 males, 6 females) were banded. Banding was initiated on June 28, approximately 2 weeks later than usual, and ended on July 2. Only two of the sixteen banded chicks had blow fly (Calliphoridae spp.) maggot infestation in their ears. Project Peregrine has now banded 547 chicks (all at cliff sites) since 1996.
The success of Project Peregrine can be attributed to the many hours that volunteers, Pukaskwa National Park, and OMNR staff invest in surveying cliff sites. All their efforts are greatly appreciated. To the banding team climbers: Frank Pianka, Rod Swatton, and Terry Prodanyk, a special thank you for your expertise and many hours of donated time. Your continued interest in this project is also greatly appreciated.