NeilyWorld Birding Ottawa - Southwest - Ottawa River West: Ontario
Spring: * Summer: * Fall: * Winter: **
Independent Directions to this Site: From Highway 417 (The Queensway) take exit 122 (Parkdale Avenue). The eastbound exit ramp comes to a stop sign at Parkdale Avenue in 0.1 km, while the westbound exit ramp becomes Westmount Avenue and reaches Parkdale Avenue in 0.2 km. Turn north onto Parkdale and proceed 0.8 km to Scott Street, passing Wellington Street on the way. The Coats Building is the tower to the left or west.
Ottawa River West: Ontario Route Directions: From Lemieux Island return southeast on River Street to the Ottawa River Parkway. Turn right or west onto it. A slight aside here will provide a possibility of viewing a Peregrine Falcon. A spotting scope is necessary for this site. Drive west and southwest 0.5 km on the Ottawa River Parkway to the Parkdale Avenue exit. Take that exit to the right and loop around to the left 0.5 km, passing under the Ottawa River Parkway. The road continues southeast as Parkdale Avenue. Proceed 0.8 km to Scott Street. Look for the tallest building to the right or west. This is the next site, the Coats Building, a part of Statistics Canada’s Tunneys Pasture complex.
Site Description and Birding Information: Near the top of this 26 story edifice, just above the highest windows, but below the peak, are a series of pillar tops which provide perfect roosting spots for Peregrine Falcon and rarely Gyrfalcon. The L-shaped areas formed by the window tops and the pillars are less commonly used perches. The shady side is preferred during the heat of summer, while the sunny side is more often used when it is cold. The other "rule" is that the leeward side is used most in foul weather. Occasionally, during migration, more than one bird is seen. At least once, both species have shared the building.
To check all sides of the Coats Building start at Scott Street and Parkdale Avenue. Check the east face of the structure from there. Turn southwest onto Scott Street and proceed 0.2 km to Holland Avenue. Since the south face is very close it may not be possible to see it without turning left, or southeast, onto Holland Avenue, driving 100 metres or so and turning around to head northwest on Holland Avenue. From here the south face is more easily visible. Then go northwest through Scott Street and 0.5 km beyond it on Holland Avenue to Columbine Street. Check the west face from Holland. Turn right or northeast on Columbine Street and proceed 0.2 km to Parkdale Avenue. From here you can check the north face. If there is a bird there, you can get closer by turning right onto Parkdale Avenue and pulling into one of the parking lots there.
Gyrfalcon sightings are as follows: March 28, 1992; April 4 - 27, 1992 (immature); March 5, 1994 (brown phase); and Jan. 15, 2010 (gray morph).
Ottawa River West: Ontario Route Directions: When leaving the Coats Building from Parkdale Avenue and Columbine Street, travel 0.3 km northwest and pass under the Ottawa River Parkway. Continue 0.3 km round a 270 degree righthand turn to rejoin the Ottawa River Parkway. Continue 0.8 km southwest along the Parkway to the Remic Rapids Lookout turnoff. Turn right or northwest into the parking area at the next site Remic Rapids.
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View from the top of the Coats Building.
Peregrine Falcon perched on column in upper right.
(Photo courtesy Ray Ryan.)
Map of Coats Building area
Copyright © 2000 - 2010 Larry E. Neily
Last update: January 19, 2010