New Digs for Mother’s Day

For Mother’s Day, Joli got a new nestbox.

A little of this site’s background first. When Cowboy (Hart’s predecessor) and Joli chose the Logan site in 2013 it was a surprise – the site is oddly configured and closer to the Radisson territory than the Radisson pair usually allow without the adults coming to blows in the spring. We have had sites occupied for only for one in the past, so knew we needed to wait and see if the site would a) be successful and b) the pair would return to nest again the following year. While we waited for answers to both of these questions, we needed to do something to help protect any eggs Joli might lay from being damaged, so once we had figured out where they were making nestscrapes (on concrete in this case), we installed a temporary nest-tray (we call them tuppernests) to keep the eggs/chicks above any pooling water as well as to protecting them from rolling. And then we waited. Didn’t have to wait long to find out that Joli and Cowboy didn’t have any objections to our renovations when they promptly laid three eggs in a perfect scrape in the tuppernest. That year the site was successful – all three eggs hatched and the three male chicks (Butch, Sundance & Carver) fledged without incident. The following year, Joli returned but Cowboy didn’t and we hadn’t had any “unattached” males hanging out so we were surprised when Joli suddenly had a gentleman caller. Even more surprised when it turned out to be young Hart – only 18 months old and looking to replace the veteran Cowboy at the Logan site. Most of our males are a bit older when they have their first successful nest. Hart didn’t wait and he and Joli successfully raised and fledged four chicks – two males (Will & Pip) and two females (Squeak & Tory) – in their first year together. So now Logan was a nestsite that had an albeit short history of success and which, so far, wasn’t experiencing a great deal of overt aggression from the Radisson pair. That is when we proposed replacing our temporary tuppernest with a larger, more permanent (without actually being permanent) nest-tray.

There are two sides to every nestsite, one side is how it works for the peregrines, the other side is how the building works with peregrines in residence and there were still concerns about co-existing with the peregrines at this site. Now this isn’t unusual, building management take the responsibility of hosting the peregrines seriously. They don’t want anything to happen to the birds but they do have things they have to do to maintain their buildings so it always takes time for everyone – people and peregrines – to feel comfortable with each other. Last year we heard that some unavoidable maintenance was required and that we would need to move the tuppernest. The building would do all it could to schedule it outside of the nesting season and so we left the tuppernest in place and we scoped out a couple of alternate nestsites just in case. This spring, the maintenance was still in the planning stages but we were able to design a nest-tray that is both more permanent, easy to remove when the work begins and equally easy to return when the work is done. Initially we wanted to install it before Hart and Joli started nesting, but this spring had more than its fair share of nestsite shenanigans and bad weather at the wrong time. In fact, Joli has had a much worse time with bad weather than either the Radisson or the West Winnipeg nests this spring. So much so that poor Hart was completely buried on Earth Day as he incubated their three eggs during a snow storm. Then it rained and was cooler and we had no intention of disturbing them.

This week it was dry and warmer and we knew we could get in/out in minutes so that’s what we did and now Joli (and Hart) and their 4 eggs have a nice new custom-designed nest-tray – one that will keep the eggs/chicks safe and give both of the adults more room to be comfortable during incubation and brooding. And it is very easy for us to remove when maintenance work begins later this year or next year. Took us less than 10 minutes to install the new nest-tray and a second camera to view the nest up-close. Joli was back on the eggs before we’d even left the rooftop. Checked the camera recordings when I got home and both she and Hart have settled into the new nest-tray without any hesitation. And she does look so much more comfortable now, or maybe I just hope she is.

photo courtesy of T Maconachie photo courtesy of T Maconachie