2009 Peregrine Project

Since 1996, Project Peregrine has been intensively monitoring the breeding population of Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus) within the Ontario side of the Lake Superior Basin, and northwestern Ontario. In 2009, there were 48 peregrine falcon territories identified, the highest number of territories recorded to date. There were 37 territorial pairs, and 11 single birds on territory. The breeding success of the 37 territorial pairs consisted of 33 breeding pairs, 27 pairs hatched young, and at least 65 young were assumed to have fledged. The number of chicks assumed to have fledged would be higher, but a number of the nesting sites were not visited a second time to confirm breeding success. Also, there were a number of nesting sites from previous years that were not visited in 2009. Three new sites were confirmed in 2009: Macdiarmid, Orient Bay, Lake Nipigon; Quarry Island, Rossport; and at Agawa Rock Pictographs, Lake Superior P.P.

Eleven nest sites were accessed by the banding team and 30 chicks (17 males, and 13 females) were banded. Banding activities were initiated on June 21 and concluded on July 3. Nine of the 30 chicks that were banded had blow fly (Calliphoridae spp.) maggot infestation in their ears. A total of 434 peregrine falcon chicks have now been banded at cliff nest sites since 1996.

When the banding team is at the nest site to band the chicks, prey remains are collected from the nest ledge. Thirty-four prey items were identified from 20 species of bird. New species identified in 2009 were Pine Grosbeak, Veery, and Swainson’s Thrush.

Project Peregrine is indebted to the many volunteers, Pukaskwa National Park and OMNR staff who took time to survey known cliff sites, and new cliff sites for peregrine activity in 2009. With a large number of territories to monitor each year, their time and efforts are greatly appreciated. To the climbers Frank Pianka, Leo Tardiff, Rod Swatton and Paul Tan, who make up the banding team, a special thank you for your expertise and over 200 hours of donated time. Your continued interest in this project is also greatly appreciated.

Funding received by Project Peregrine to continue the monitoring and banding of peregrine falcons was provided by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) Community Fisheries/Wildlife Involvement Program, OMNR Species at Risk Stewardship Fund, OMNR Thunder Bay District, and Pukaskwa National Park.