Young peregrine falcons have returned to Windsor's Ambassador Bridge

·2 min read
A fledgling falcon rests on a beam at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ont., on July 18, 2022. (Mike Evans/CBC - image credit)
A fledgling falcon rests on a beam at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ont., on July 18, 2022. (Mike Evans/CBC - image credit)

A familiar kind of bird is back at the Ambassador Bridge: two young peregrine falcons have been spotted on a beam on the international crossing.

And it's the first time in at least two years that the species-at-risk has nested there.

Bob Hall-Brooks, a volunteer with the Canadian Peregrine Foundation, says the birds are known to nest under the bridge. But they haven't done so in the last couple of years amid construction. Now they're back.

"We were lucky enough just the other night to hear the young calling under the bridge over here," Hall-Brooks said.

"They've just moved their nest into one of the beams of the bridge and are still nesting at this site."

The group banded its last falcon at the bridge about two years ago, Hall-Brooks said. Once they are able to, the group will try to band the young falcons.

Banding the birds gives them an identity, Hall-Brooks said.

Mike Evans/CBC
Mike Evans/CBC

"Once they have an identity, then we can actually name them," he said. "We've already picked a couple of names for these two, but can't officially give them to them until we actually put the bands on the bird."

The Canadian Peregrine Foundation is a group dedicated to restoring falcon population levels.

Nearly wiped out in the 1960s, the species has rebounded and peregrines are now classified as at risk in Ontario.

In recent months, four baby peregrines were banded in Hamilton through the foundation. Hall-Brooks said one of Hamilton's female falcons was originally from the Ambassador Bridge group.

Mike Evans/CBC
Mike Evans/CBC

Hall-Brooks said he thinks the Windsor falcons will take flight within a week.

"We think they're getting close," he said. "They're starting to exhibit the flapping behaviour, which is sort of like they're strengthening their wings, getting ready to take off."

Hall-Brooks says he thinks a male and a female are currently nesting on the bridge, but cannot confirm that until they are in-hand.

Peregrine falcons typically nest on ledges, according to Hall-Brooks. Parents are actively involved in the nesting process and taking care of their young. Both male and female parents take turns to hunt for food and bring it back to the nest.

Once young falcons fledge, or take their first flight, their parents will accompany them in that process as well.

Mike Evans/CBC
Mike Evans/CBC

"That will progress until probably around the beginning of September, when the young are showing that they can look after themselves, at which point they will be driven off the home territory," said Hall-Brooks.

The Ambassador Bridge is not the only place in Windsor that peregrine falcons have been known to nest.

"More recently, we're finding that they nest on tall buildings in cities here," said Hall-Brooks.

"We also found a nest a couple of years ago over at Hiram Walkers on their grain elevators."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting