Window washers help save Peregrine falcons on Toronto skyscrapers

by Melissa LoParco

Peregrine falcons are the fastest animals in the world, and in Toronto their numbers are decreasing.

This is why foundations such as the Canadian Peregrine Foundation have been formed.

Kevin Stanley, the owner of Skyreach Window Cleaning, is one of the sponsors of the foundation. His company volunteers with the foundation and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in banding the falcons.

Banding a falcon means putting a band around the bird’s leg in order to keep track of the birds individually.

“I can’t count how many times [Skyreach employees] have gone over the walls with the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Peregrine Foundation,” Stanley said. “We’ve helped them band the little chicks, grab them off the ledge and putting them in the bags.”

Peregrine falcons are known for always going back to their familiar habitat and the Canadian Peregrine Foundation has set up live webcams in order to see what the falcons are up to.

“[The Canadian Peregrine Foundation] have cameras up [on the buildings] and they’re trying to protect the peregrine falcons,” Stanley said. “They want us to come in and put high definition cameras in to oversee the nesting, the hatching, and the chicks.”

Peregrine falcons are very well known to people working in the window washing business.

According to EarthSky, a website dedicated to science, when the peregrine falcon dives for their food they are usually flying at over 300 kilometres per hour.

There are times when the falcons mistake the workers for food, but because it is a common hazard the workers are prepared for if it happens.

“They come down, they’ll dive bomb you,” Stanley said. “We’re used to it. When they come in you’re supposed to open up fully and make yourself look big and they’ll turn [away]. They are pretty aggressive, the females are the bigger ones and they are really aggressive, so you have to be very careful.”

If you are interested in viewing the webcams of the peregrine falcons, or learning more about them, visit www.peregine-foundation.ca.

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