It's been an exciting spring in downtown Rochester, New York - a little too exciting if you're a peregrine fan.
Last fall the crumbling condition of the historic Kodak Building tower forced removal of the peregrine nestbox that was well used for 11 years. Two other nestboxes were erected, one at the Powers Building, the other at the Times Square Building in hopes the local adult peregrines, Mariah and Kaver, would choose one of them. Since both of them migrate everyone had to wait for spring to see what would happen.
Mariah returned from migration in early February and consistently hung out at the Kodak Building. She's 13 years old, has always nested there, and didn't seem inclined to change. Meanwhile her mate Kaver never returned. Mariah attracted another mate, Tybropa-Cree, but his body was found next to a busy highway on March 17th. Undaunted, Mariah stayed on and waited for yet another mate.
By early April a new male was seen mating with Mariah and hopes went up that soon she would lay eggs at one of the new nestboxes. Rochester's peregrine watchers went to work to identify the male. By April 17th they learned his name is Archer and he's from Port Colborne, Ontario, but by then things had gotten very complicated - and sad for Mariah's fans.
On Easter Day peregrine watchers were dismayed to see Mariah repeatedly attacked by a new female and her mate, Archer. Apparently the new female had injured Mariah on April 10th and won Archer's heart, so by April 12th they were determined to drive Mariah away. True to her fighting spirit, Mariah tried to hold her ground but nearly died in the attempt. Fortunately she was rescued and is now in rehab in Syracuse.
Again Rochester peregrine watchers went to work to identify this second new peregrine. Joyce Miller took her picture and was able to read her bands: 81/Y. Today the news reached me that she's someone I should know.
I don't recognize her in Jim Pisello's photo (above) because the last time I saw her she was a gawky brown-and-white fledgling. She's a University of Pittsburgh peregrine alumna, class of 2007, daughter of Dorothy and her first mate, Erie. She was born the year the exterior of the Cathedral of Learning was being cleaned (remember that project?) so she has some experience with buildings under construction. Still, I think she'll choose one of those nice new nest boxes.
81/Y will soon get a name for her efforts. She joins her brothers and sisters in the Pitt peregrine alumni "hall of fame" (i.e. the ones who are nesting). Louie (2002) is the father bird at Pittsburgh's Gulf Tower. Stammy (2003) is on territory in Youngstown, Ohio. Hathor (2003) nests in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. Belle (2003) nests in the bell tower at University of Toledo and Maddy (2004) nests on the Valley View I-480 bridge near Cleveland.
We wish 81/Y well and are looking forward to hearing about her. You can follow her story on the Rochester peregrine journal: Imprints
And special thanks to Jim Pisello for his picture of 81/Y. He writes a blog, too: Peregrinations.
(photo by Jim Pisello)