Four peregrine falcon chicks hatched in the Sheraton Hamilton ledge nest over the weekend

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Published May 1, 2023 at 1:02 pm

Photo courtesy of the Hamilton Community Peregrine Project

A whole family of peregrine falcons is now living inside the Sheraton Hamilton ledge nest, one of the most popular nests in the city among birdwatchers.

Over the weekend (April 29-30), all four eggs that were sitting in the 18th-floor ledge finally hatched, with the new chicks tended to by their mother McKeever and father Judson.

Avid birdwatchers saw it happen via live camera feed from the Hamilton Community Peregrine Project.

Just after 8 a.m. on Saturday, birdwatchers noticed the first tiny hole in one of the eggs, then soon saw a crack appearing in another.

“We knew this was coming as McKeever fussed over the eggs in the last day, listening to the tiny sounds of chicks inside the eggs,” said the Hamilton Community Peregrine Project team.

Two eggs hatched later that day, and the other two on Sunday, with help from McKeever who picked away the edges of the shells.

“With four in the nest, we will see a lot of feedings over the coming month,” said the Hamilton Community Peregrine Project, who are asking for volunteer watchers to help watch the birds, particularly in the event that any of the birds come down to the ground and don’t have the strength to take off again.

It’s not the first time these parents have raised a family. Birdwatchers saw McKeever and Judson raise four chicks last year — a welcome sight as many feared the nest would remain empty following the death of Lily, who had been the nest’s resident female falcon for six years.

In mid-February 2022, Bird Friendly Hamilton Burlington (BFHB) launched a public poll to determine Hamilton’s city bird as part of the process of having the city designated as “bird friendly” by Nature Canada.

Local residents’ fondness for the peregrine falcons at Sheraton Hamilton led to it being chosen as the city’s official bird.

Options on the poll included the Bald Eagle, Northern Cardinal, the Carolina Wren, the Chimney Swift, the Double-crested Cormorant, Killdeer, Northern Mockingbird, Red-Tailed Hawk, Turkey Vulture, and the Peregrine Falcon.

Residents can monitor the new baby birds via the live feeds at the Hamilton Community Peregrine Project’s website.

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