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Beloved Montreal falcons give birth

After two years, peregrine falcons Roger and Spirit successfully hatched Algo and Polly

BY LÉO CHARBONNEAU | AUG 04 2009

After a two-year romance followed anxiously from below, the Université de Montréal’s two resident peregrine falcons are now proud parents. The couple, dubbed Roger and Spirit, began frequenting the iconic art-deco tower of the Roger-Gaudry Building two years ago and took up residence in a nest box constructed especially for them last year, but until this spring the bashful birds had yet to produce offspring.

That all changed in May when the falcons’ “godmother” Ève Bélisle confirmed that the couple had two healthy, fluffy baby falcons in their nest. Mme Bélisle, an amateur ornithologist and software specialist at neighbouring École Polytechnique, had followed the falcon couple since their arrival in 2007 and advocated for the installation of the nest box. Helping her in the design of the bird bungalow was McGill University biology professor and ornithologist David Bird (yes, his real name).

The two healthy baby birds, Algo and Polly, have grown rapidly, but their first few weeks were not without drama – Polly had twice fallen out of the nest and took several days to make her way back up to the perch. All their adventures, with accompanying photos, are being recorded in Mme Bélisle’s blog.

The University of Calgary, meanwhile, no doubt shares in Université de Montréal’s excitement but could be forgiven a bit of boasting. U of C’s Craigie Hall has played host to a nesting pair of peregrine falcons on and off since 1997 and this spring the couple again produced three healthy offspring – they had four last year but one did not survive.

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  1. elli jilek / September 9, 2009 at 16:14

    Bonjour Leon:

    I would like to thank you for the reference to my web site, and for the lovely article I have just read, re your own falcon family. I hope your pair will return next season, and think that the chances are very good, if all remains the same. They do tend to return to known locations, and I know you will all become as enamoured of this as I have. I used to work at TELUS in 1986 when they started the peregrine program on their bldg., and have followed the issue since. I also used to live in Montreal (1963-1971), so am familiar with some of your locations. It’s always nice to know that such beautiful and wild animals choose to make their homes in our environment, despite our negative impacts.

    Good luck, and tell Mr. Bird (who’s name I know from his night bird rescuing activities in Toronto) that his photo is magnificent.

    Regards,

    Elli