This is a volunteer effort that brings together many dedicated people and agencies in the interest of learning more about the peregrine falcon. Experienced Thunder Bay Section members provide general safety guidance for all banding team members moving on steep terrain and the technical expertise for safely accessing the nests of these cliff dwellers. Over the last fourteen years of the banding project, we've been involved with banding over 450 peregrines chicks. Each two week season, starting in the last week in June, begins with a list of interested members and, based on the technical requirements of the site, (which may be as simple as a (roped) scramble to a nest or as challenging as rappelling 50m of overhanging rock), a team is assembled for the day's task. You do not have to be a high level climber to help out as there are tasks for every skill level - carrying loads, map work, GPS, photos, carrying loads, etc. Participants always rank the experience as one of the most memorable things they've ever done and treasure the photos they have of their outing. Holding a wild peregrine chick is something few people will ever experience and you can't help but look at them differently after you've been in their domain. Interested members should contact Frank Pianka, technical ropes coordinator for the project, if they would like to get involved with the project.
Peregrine Falcons and Climbers
The Thunder Bay area has seen a steady increase in the peregrine falcon population over the years and climbers should know if they are climbing in an area where nesting birds may be disturbed (from about mid June to the end of July). The most sensitive area for climbers is probably at Squaw Bay near the climb Cedar Haven, where falcons have nested repeatedly year after year, but you may also see or hear them in the Lost Falls area or near Dorion Tower. If you accidently disturb nesting falcons, they will clearly display their aggitation and you should move out of the area and avoid it for the duration of the nesting season, and advise other climbers to do the same. Details about sensitive areas can be obtained by calling 577-7950.