Apr 15 2010

Eggs In Progress

Published by at 7:17 am under Peregrines

If you've been watching the peregrines at the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning, you may have the false impression that all peregrines are incubating right now and their eggs will soon hatch.

Not so.

Some peregrines, even in Pittsburgh, are still laying eggs.  That's what Steve Gosser found out in Tarentum last Sunday after a chain of events that put him at the bridge with his camera at just the right moment.

It started last December when Dan Yagusic identified a pair of peregrines at the Tarentum Bridge.  Steve confirmed the same pair in February.  Then I visited the bridge April 4 and after a boring hour of nothing but pigeons, I was rewarded with 10 seconds of excitement:  a peregrine loudly chased a red-tailed hawk away from the bridge.  That bird must be nesting there!  

On the strength of these observations Steve visited the bridge last Sunday hoping to photograph the falcons.  He only had to wait 10 minutes before they appeared, courting loudly.  They flew away but soon returned and mated on a bridge beam.  Steve took a lot of pictures.

Peregrines mate prior to egg laying and until incubation begins, so this pair hadn't completed their clutch yet.

I hope they're successful.  You see, I have a special interest in them.  The male was born at the Cathedral of Learning in 2008, the son of Dorothy and E2, so his babies will be their "grandkids."  Oh boy!

(photo by Steve Gosser)

27 responses so far

27 Responses to “Eggs In Progress”

  1. Kathy Mon 15 Apr 2010 at 7:33 am

    Great! Maybe we should rename ourselves the “City of Peregrines” instead of the “City of Champions” or “Sixburgh”. No offence to the Pens, Pirates or Steelers, but…

  2. faith Cornellon 15 Apr 2010 at 7:50 am

    Oh what a wonderful tale this AM from you. It is just wonderful to hear & see of the off spring in the Spring. Thank you again for keeping my heart in celebration of life. Faith Cornell

  3. Nancyon 15 Apr 2010 at 8:19 am

    Whatever happened to the falcons that nested on the McKees Rocks Bridge last year. Has anyone seen them lately?

  4. Kate St. Johnon 15 Apr 2010 at 9:09 am

    I haven’t heard anything about the McKees Rock peregrines but they are much harder to find. The bridge is very long with many sections, there are many places on both sides of the river for them to perch, and their nest is so remote it requires a bridge inspection truck to check on it.

  5. Carlaon 15 Apr 2010 at 11:49 am

    Did I see somewhere that the peregrines are not nesting in Rochester, PA this year?

  6. Kate St. Johnon 15 Apr 2010 at 12:07 pm

    I don’t know about them. Is the Monaca-East Rochester bridge under construction?

  7. Marianneon 15 Apr 2010 at 1:20 pm

    This is such an amazing story and picture! Great detective work by all involved!

    All of the details are very interesting. Please keep it up. Thanks!

  8. Nellie Curranon 15 Apr 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Great to have more Peregrines nesting in our city! I will check at the 62th St. bridge.
    Is there a probleme with the camera at the Cathedral today?

  9. Katie Con 15 Apr 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Can we see the rest of the photos that Steve took? You alluded to several photos of the mating peregrines, but only one is displayed. Any more available?

  10. Kate St. Johnon 15 Apr 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Yse, there are problems with the PC that drives the Cathedral camera. 🙁

  11. Kate St. Johnon 15 Apr 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Steve hasn’t posted the other peregrine pictures on his photo website yet, but if you click on his name in the blog above you can see his beautiful photo site.

  12. Matton 15 Apr 2010 at 4:17 pm

    How do they dig a scrape on a bridge? Do they bring in foreign nest material? I would think it strange for them to nest there because that…

  13. Kate St. Johnon 15 Apr 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Often in recessed areas of a bridge there are deep piles of dust. Sometimes the dust comes from pigeons having nested there earlier – for generations!

  14. Steve Gosseron 15 Apr 2010 at 6:49 pm

    I had the day off from work, so I checked out the Tarentum bridge early this morning. Both Peregrines were there. They really like perching on the grey beams that jet out from under the bridge about half way across the river. I watched one of them this morning fly up to that beam and began eating a meal (I couldn’t tell what). If anyone is interested in seeing more of my pictures, just find my email on my photo site and contact me, and I’ll be happy to send you them.

  15. Lisaon 15 Apr 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Do you know if the falcons in Youngstown have stayed at the County Courthouse? Haven’t heard anything about them. Holding my breath that they are nesting. Also holding out hope for Tasha. Any sightings of her?

  16. Kate St. Johnon 15 Apr 2010 at 8:12 pm

    The pair in Youngstown is doing fine. They are on a different building this year – close to the Courthouse – and have been incubating eggs since April 7. Stammy & Stellar have 4 eggs. By the way, Stammy hatched at Univ of Pittsburgh in 2003, son of Dorothy & her original mate, Erie.

  17. Mary DeVon 15 Apr 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Oh, what a handsome fellow (or lady, as the case may be!) I’ll probably be in the Tarentum area Saturday so maybe I’ll see if I can spot them.

  18. Joannon 16 Apr 2010 at 9:22 am

    any word on when the Cathedral webcam will be back up & running? I don’t want to miss Dorothy’s eggs hatching which should be soon.

  19. Kate St. Johnon 16 Apr 2010 at 9:45 am

    not yet.

  20. Kate St. Johnon 16 Apr 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Jane asked, “Why is the Pittcam down?” The answer is:

    Most webcams have an internal computer that sends the stream to the Internet. The streaming cameras at Gulf and Pitt do not. Both rely on a separate computer to make them work.

    Computers sometimes freeze up, sometimes die. At Gulf the computer is in an office so people are there Mon-Fri to restart it if need be. At Pitt, the computer is in a highly secure area. No one goes there and it requires three special keys to get in. For that reason it always takes a long time to arrange a visit to turn that computer back on. (The Gulf camera has the same problems but you don’t see them Mon-Fri because someone is there.)

    Because of these problems, webcams in high security areas are not normally set up this way. Instead they have internal computers and can be managed without ever having to visit them. The snapshot camera at Pitt is like that and is capable of streaming — but not to WildEarth.

  21. Donnaon 16 Apr 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Thanks for the reminder that we can still look at the snapshots at COL. It’s better than wondering if the eggs have hatched without us!

  22. CHWon 16 Apr 2010 at 2:12 pm

    I think we should start calling the male Taras (Tarentum) who was in Greek mythology the son of Poseidon and the nymph Satyrion.

  23. SueGon 17 Apr 2010 at 1:23 pm

    How did anyone get a view of the band to ID this bird?

  24. Mary DeVon 17 Apr 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Well, my Tarentum excursion is cancelled due to the clouds — no astronomical observing tonight! Next time I go I’ll keep an eye out for them.

  25. Kate St. Johnon 17 Apr 2010 at 10:29 pm

    >How were the birds identified
    Their bands have been read using a birding scope (Dan Yagusic) and a digital zoom camera (Steve Gosser). Both methods require a lot of patience(!) to get a good view. The advantage of digital photos is that they can be zoomed on a computer to get an even closer view.

  26. Steve-oon 19 Apr 2010 at 8:20 am

    If there are eggs there and if they do hatch, will the game commission attempt to band the chicks before they fledge?

    I bought a new telephoto lens, so I’m going to head out and try to get some pictures this week. And see my folks.

    I think that Frank and Estelle would be good names for them, after George Costanza’s parents. The actress who played George’s mom, Estelle Harris, grew up in Tarentum and went to Tarentum HS. As far as I know, she’s the most famous person from Tarentum. I think that I may be second. j/k.

  27. Steve-oon 19 Apr 2010 at 11:23 pm

    So, I went out to Tarentum tonight and saw one of the falcons. I was there for about an hour and didn’t see anything until after the Sun set, of course. I had one of my nephews with me and he isn’t the most patient bird photographer’s helper. The Falcon was hanging out on the north side of the bridge where Steve Gosser described, on some support bar that hangs down from the bridge. It was eating something, but by the time I set up the tripod it was done eating and just hanging out for the next 10 minutes or so. I left and it was still there in the same spot. Check out the pics on my flickr account here:

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