May 08 2009

Bravo! Peregrine found nesting in Pittsburgh

Published by at 7:02 am under Nesting & Courtship,Peregrines

Peregrine Falcon, Bravo, and his nest site, the McKees Rocks Bridge (photos by Beth Fife)Last week the PA Game Commission's Beth Fife solved a peregrine mystery that had lasted a year - or ten years - depending on who you ask.

In January 2008 Joe Fedor reported a pair of peregrine falcons at the McKees Rocks Bridge. The Pennsylvania Game Commission is responsible for our peregrines so Wildlife Conservation Officer Beth Fife worked with PennDOT to see if she could find a nest.

Yes, the pair had eggs last year but they were laid on a girder. The nest was ultimately unsuccessful. However Beth saw that the male was banded though no one could read his bands.

This spring peregrines were still at the bridge and PennDOT wanted to know if they must change their work schedule to avoid disturbing a nest, so last week Beth visited the bridge again.

PennDOT guessed the nest's location and sure enough there it was. The male was incubating five eggs while his unbanded mate watched from nearby. Beth wrote later, "He didn't even make a fuss...we could have picked him up. He just stood there and watched us. He's a little guy! "

Beth snapped his picture and captured a good image of his bands. Ta dah! Black/green V/H. His name is Bravo, born at Cleveland's Terminal Tower in 1999, son of the Zenith and Bullet. His whereabouts had been unknown all this time.

So you see, a ten year old mystery is solved for Cleveland.

We hope his nest is a success this year. Good detective work, Beth!

(photos of Bravo and the McKees Rocks Bridge by Beth Fife, WCO, Pennsylvania Game Commission)

14 responses so far

14 Responses to “Bravo! Peregrine found nesting in Pittsburgh”

  1. Libby Strizzion 08 May 2009 at 7:07 am

    What lengths people — and agencies — will go to for these interesting birds. Is the nest in a safe place this year? And will PennDOT change its work schedule to accommodate the nest? Interesting story.

  2. Tracion 08 May 2009 at 7:21 am

    This is just so incredible. It’s just so amazing to see, actually see, how humanity can work with nature!! I mean, buildings and bridges that could be viewed as ‘blight’ on the natural landscape are instead adpated for use by wildlife that otherwise might not have survived!! And Bravo to PennDot for caring enough to accommodate the Falcons. Maybe they’d donate some money to help keep the cameras up and to get one for that nest!! 🙂

    Thanks Kate for posting this!! I guess this will be the only picutre we get. I hope the get fledgings this time!!

  3. Donnaon 08 May 2009 at 11:09 am

    I’m sure the falcon watchers in Cleveland are happy to hear news about Bravo after all this time. Are the eggs on a girder again? Is there, or will there be, a box in this location?

  4. Kittyon 08 May 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Interesting, I cross that bridge often and I thought they were hawks in the sky. They may have been falcons.

  5. kathyon 08 May 2009 at 2:00 pm

    What a wonderful story! Bravo is a little cutie and obviously a survivor – 10 years and going strong! I wish him many more years and hope they have a successful nest this year!

  6. Joannon 08 May 2009 at 6:42 pm

    What A cutie he is. Hopefully Someone has contacted Cleveland to let them know where Bravo is now. I wonder where he was for the last 8 years-making his way to Pittsburgh? I am watching a falcon who is still nesting at a site here in NJ-her eggs should be hatching sometime within the next week-they got a late start speculation is that it was a new female & it took time for them to court each other & to get down to the business of making babies.

  7. Kate St. Johnon 08 May 2009 at 8:34 pm

    Thanks, everyone, for your comments & questions. Here are some answers.

    >Are the eggs on a girder again? Is there, or will there be, a box in this location?
    The eggs are in a safe place on some crumbly stuff (looks like grit to me). Beth says the site choice is much better than last year.

    >will PennDOT change its work schedule to accommodate the nest?
    Yes. They know what to do because they have several peregrines nesting on bridges in the Philly area.

    >will there be a box in this location?
    I don’t know yet. If this site is successful the birds won’t need a box because the female peregrine will have chosen a good place on her own.

    >Hopefully someone has contacted Cleveland.
    You bet we did! The Game Commission sent official word to Ohio Division of Wildlife & my friend Karen posted on Cleveland’s Falcon Forum. My blog came out a couple of days later because I waited to get a picture of Bravo & the bridge.

  8. Joannon 15 May 2009 at 11:54 am

    do we know when or if the eggs will be hatching?

  9. Kate St. Johnon 16 May 2009 at 11:04 am

    We don’t know if/when the eggs will hatch. Beth Fife of the PA Game Commission will check again when the proper hatch interval has passed.

  10. connie pletcheron 17 May 2009 at 1:10 pm

    We have a nest of falcons in our woods.They have been coming back for many years.It is very interesting when they teach their your to fly.

  11. Joannon 29 May 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Has anyone gone up to Bravo’s nest to see if the eggs hatched?

  12. Kate St. Johnon 29 May 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Beth Fife and Doug Dunkerley of the PA Game Commission were there today. There are 3 nestlings about 2.5 weeks old (about 19 days) – too young to band. They will have to go back at the right time.

  13. Tracion 10 Jun 2009 at 9:26 pm

    I heard on KDKA Radio tonight, that the bridge will be closed for construction. What impact, if any, will this have on the Falcons? Does the PA Game Commission know if the chicks fledged yet or are ready to??

  14. Kate St. Johnon 10 Jun 2009 at 9:32 pm

    PennDOT is well aware of the peregrines and is scheduling around their needs. They like peregrines on bridges because the falcons reduce the number of pigeons nesting in the nooks & crannies. Pigeon poop is bad for bridges. 🙂

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