Jul 15 2009
Look closely and you’ll see a juvenile peregrine falcon spreading her wings among the rooftop rubble.
This picture was taken in early June when the young peregrines were staying very close to home. Nowadays they’re usually away from the Cathedral of Learning, exploring western Pennsylvania and making wider and wider forays away from town, so when I saw three in the past two days I was quite pleased.
On Tuesday at lunchtime the youngest of the four peregrines was perched low on Heinz Chapel roof looking hard at the treetops nearby. I could tell who she was because she has green tape on her FWS band. And I could tell she was hunting because she bobbed her head as she scanned the trees. The robins warned, “Danger! Peregrine!” but some of the other birds didn’t believe it. “Danger?” they thought, “From her?” Sure enough she swooped off the roof, grazed the treetops and grabbed a bird for lunch. Good job!
Then yesterday morning at work I looked out the window as I walked down the hall. Way out there I could see two peregrines flying around the top of the Cathedral of Learning. They acted like juveniles so I ran to get my binoculars. Yes! Two young peregrines were playing Chase-me and Talon-touch games. What joy to see them having fun!
Soon the young peregrines will leave Pittsburgh for good. They’ll benefit from these serious games that prepared them for life.
(photo by Kimberly Thomas at the University of Pittsburgh)