Hamilton

Falcon watchers celebrate after 2 more chicks hatched in downtown Hamilton

Lily and Ossie, who have been nesting on a ledge high above downtown at the Sheraton Hotel since 2015, are being kept busy with two new mouths to feed.

New arrivals welcome news after last year's eggs failed

At least two falcon chicks have hatched in their nest high on Hamilton's Sheraton Hotel, and more could be on the way. (Supplied by The Hamilton Community Peregrine Project)

Hamilton has welcomed two new peregrine falcons and more might be on the way.

Lily and Ossie, who have been nesting on a ledge high above downtown at the Sheraton Hotel since 2015, are being kept busy with two new mouths to feed.

"We're just delighted we've got them," said Pat Baker, a senior monitor with Hamilton Falconwatch.

The pair of tiny white chicks was spotted Tuesday.

They're especially exciting news after last year's eggs failed, leaving the nest empty.

"It's no fun. You want the birds to hatch and be successful," said Mike Street, who helped start the Falconwatch. "It's sad when it happens … but what can you do? It's Mother Nature."

Falcons typically lay two to four eggs and hatching can happen over the course of several days, so the group is watching feedings closely for any more new arrivals, said Baker.

That's a little tougher this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic that's keeping everyone at home.

Instead of heading out to monitor the nest in-person, the volunteers will have to do the best they can by checking in on their website and a pair of cameras that offer a partial view of the site.

Street knows that struggle better than most.

He's helped out with the watch for years, but recently moved to the Ottawa area so has had to content himself with online updates.

"It's hard to get used to because I can't just jump into the car and slip down and keep an eye on them," he said with a laugh.

Volunteers haven't decided what to name the latest batch of chicks hatched in the nest at Hamilton's Sheraton Hotel. (Supplied by The Hamilton Community Peregrine Project)

Still, the signs are promising.

It appears Ossie and Lily's experience as parents is starting to show and the weather is cooperating, said Street.

"This year it looks like they've done everything right and the conditions have been perfect."

Peregrine falcons all but disappeared from eastern North America decades ago, he explained. But the population has rebounded slowly and surely thanks in part to pairs that have laid their eggs in Hamilton.

Chicks that hatched in the city have flown as far as Rochester and Syracuse in New York, Lansing, Mich. and even Kentucky and Tennessee, said Street, noting that legacy is part of what makes the project here so special.

Now the only question is, what will the city's newest arrivals be named?

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