Young peregrine falcons are back at Windsor’s Ambassador Bridge

A familiar bird has returned to the Ambassador Bridge: two young peregrine falcons have been spotted on a beam at 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 for the past two years amid construction. Now they are back.

« We were lucky the other night to hear the youngsters calling under the bridge here, » Hall-Brooks said.

« They just moved their nest to one of the bridge beams and are still nesting there. »

The group banded its last hawk on the bridge about two years ago, Hall-Brooks said. As soon as they are able, the group will try to band the young falcons.

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

A young falcon rests on a beam at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ont., on July 18, 2022. (Mike Evans/CBC)

« Once they have an identity, we can name them, » he said. « We’ve already decided on a few names for these two, but we can’t officially give them until we put the rings on the bird. »

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

Nearly extinct in the 1960s, the species has rebounded and peregrine falcons are now listed as imperiled in Ontario.

In the past few months, four baby pilgrims have been banded in Hamilton through the foundation. Hall-Brooks said one of Hamilton’s female hawks was from the Ambassador Bridge group.

canadian peregrine foundation
Bob Hall-Brooks is a volunteer with the Canadian Peregrine Foundation. (Mike Evans/CBC)

Hall-Brooks said he thinks the Windsor Falcons will be in the air within a week.

« We think they’re getting closer, » he said. « They’re starting to show the flapping behavior, it’s kind of like they’re strengthening their wings, getting ready to take off. »

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

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

Once the young falcons have fledged or taken their first flight, their parents will accompany them in this process as well.

A young peregrine falcon is shown at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ont., July 18, 2022. (Mike Evans/CBC)

“It will likely progress until early September when the youngsters show they can take care of themselves, at which time they will be driven out of home territory,” Hall-Brooks said.

The Ambassador Bridge isn’t the only place in Windsor where peregrine falcons nest.

« More recently, we’ve found that they’re nesting on tall buildings in cities here, » Hall-Brooks said.

« We also found a nest a few years ago at Hiram Walkers on their grain silos. »


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