May 31 2010

Pitt Peregrine Fledge Watch Update #2

Published by at 3:48 pm under Peregrines

I've spent hours and hours, day after day, at the Schenley Plaza tent but not one of the young peregrines has fledged at Pitt -- at least not as of 2:00pm today when I last looked. 

By 8:00am all the birds were off the nest and out of the camera's view.  By noon all five were on the nestrail -- proof that none had fledged.  I looked at the nestrail at 2:00pm, saw five birds (I think) and jumped into my car because a thunderstorm was coming.  It was a cloudburst so I'm sure none fledged at that point.

The Fledge Watch schedule has changed because of the weather forecast.  It is now:

  • Tuesday June 1, ONLY from 5:30pm until 7:00-ish.  Rain is forecast all day Tuesday until 5:00pm.  If it's still raining at 5:00pm this slot will be canceled too.
  • Wednesday June 2, very briefly 8:00-8:20am + noon to 2:00pm. This is the "good weather" day.  Lunchtime Watch has been expanded.  I won't be there after work but you're welcome to come on your own.
  • Thursday June 3, very briefly 8:00-8:20am + 1:15pm to 2:15pm + 5:30pm until 7:00-ish.
  • And maybe some times on Friday June 4.  I'll know more about Friday in the next day or two.  Stay tuned.

(photo by Jennie Barker on Saturday May 29.  That's me gazing through Mary DeVaughn's super binoculars)

12 responses so far

12 Responses to “Pitt Peregrine Fledge Watch Update #2”

  1. Mary DeVon 31 May 2010 at 8:54 pm

    You gave up too soon! I got there around 5PM and there were 4 on the rail. I watched for a while — they did a nice Flappy Dance & then Mom showed up with a pigeon — a *white* pigeon no less! She fed 4 kids on the rail — but where was #5? I had been periodically scanning the building with the 10x50s, wondering if a baby was somewhere on one of the lower ledges.

    Then I noticed some movement out of the corner of my eye, to the left of the rail & up a little higher. There was a “lump” on one of the crenellations on the western face of the COL. I took a look thru binocs — it was a peregrine but was it E2 or a baby? Couldn’t tell, so I aimed the telescope over there — sure enough! Brown with fluff & vertical stripes! Hi, little guy! Are you lonesome over there? Wow!

    I wanted a pic, so of course as I was trying to aim my poor li’l cell phone cam thru the eyepiece, he decided to put his head down & preen a bit. I had to wait for him to pose again — almost caught him with wings spread, but of course I missed the pic. No one else from our group was around, but several of the public came over to look thru the scope — probably because I was laughing with amazement at the little guy! I had already showed them the feeding time on the rail and they enjoyed seeing our birds & learning about them.

    I got about 3 half-decent shots of the adventurer, when Dad returned. Mom apparently decided the kids on the rail had had enough to eat, so she took the remains of the pigeon away from them and flew up toward the roof. E2 was still flying around the top — when the fledgling flapped his wings and *joined his parents in a lovely flight around the top of the building!!!!* It was so amazing to see 3 in flight up there — little guy just flapping away to keep up! E2 landed on the antenna, and his son(?) landed right below him — but instead of landing on a crossbar, he grabbed onto the side of the mast! Well, I wanted to see that thru the telescope, and try for a pic, but as I was aiming the scope, he decided he wasn’t too secure on the antenna & I believe he flew down to the roof (I didn’t actually see this happen.) But Dorothy landed on the roof (in a space between the crenellations) and appeared to be feeding him on the roof.

    I waited a bit longer to see if anyone else would fly, but everyone on the rail was relaxing after dinner. I decided about 6:30 or so that it was time to get home to my *own* dinner and get into chat & tell folks! Good thing, too — the rain had held off the whole time I was there, and as soon as I started driving the drops started falling! Dorothy was still in her spot on the roof when I left, so I suppose her son was still there.

    Here are some photos:
    The Flappy Dance:
    Dinner for 4 on the Nestrail:
    And here’s that boy all by himself:

    And, a little bit of leftovers — a pigeon tail, hanging from the nestrail after dinner!

    See you all tomorrow I hope!

  2. faith Cornellon 01 Jun 2010 at 7:14 am

    Thank you Mary Dev; was like being there, was in & out all day at this site. Wonderful world, with your equipment & the computer; I can be there too with your eyes & (very good ones to be sure) (“cousin”). Glad somebody I met too; gives it a personal touch!!!!!!!!!!! Happy good luck to seeing the rest.

  3. Jennieon 01 Jun 2010 at 8:02 am

    Mary, thanks so much for being there, capturing the first flight, and sharing it with us. I was in the chat room with you last night hearing the exciting news when a storm hit the north hills and we lost power for the night, so it’s a treat to find that you posted the whole story and photos here.

  4. Kathy McCharenon 01 Jun 2010 at 8:46 am

    Thanks so much for your post, Mary DeV…It’s like you won the fledge lottery!! I’d love to be there in person some year but for now I’ll have to be satisfied sitting in front of my computer in Tallahassee, Florida hearing great stories and seeing your photos!

  5. Ellie (cc)on 01 Jun 2010 at 9:13 am

    Great recap Mary….I feel like I was there seeing it, myself. I am so glad one of us got to see him(?) on his first flight day. Thanks for sharing with us and your pix are fantastic!

  6. Marianneon 01 Jun 2010 at 9:23 am

    Mary, thank you SO much for sharing this exciting story and great pics! Perseverance pays off! 🙂

  7. Mary DeV.on 01 Jun 2010 at 9:35 am

    I’ve realized I’ve been referring to the projections on top of the COL as “Crenellations.” They’re actually “merlons” and the spaces between are the “crenels.” The entire structure of projections & spaces (the “castle-looking thingies”) is a crenellation, or a battlement.

    So, Dorothy couldn’t sit in a space between the crenellations — she was sitting in a crenel, the space between the merlons. Keeping her chick company and making sure he had some dinner!

    [/Architecture Geek]

  8. Carolon 01 Jun 2010 at 9:36 am

    THANK YOU so much for your post! Yes, it was like being there. I went last year and had so much fun too.

  9. Kate St. Johnon 01 Jun 2010 at 9:41 am

    >”crenels” and “merlons”
    Very cool. A “merlin” is a falcon, smaller than a peregrine, that also lives in North America. I wonder why those two names are so similar…

  10. Carolon 01 Jun 2010 at 10:28 am

    This is a happy and sad day to see our chicks all grown up. This was my first year to watch and I felt like I was part of the family. I will be back next year to watch. Thank you all for the great info on these beautiful birds. I have learned alot.

  11. Donnaon 01 Jun 2010 at 10:36 am

    Mary, Thank you so much for the update and pictures! What a wonderful community of falcon-watchers has been formed!

  12. Faith Cornellon 01 Jun 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Thanks Dr. K. Was able to see all 5 chicks now at GT. Have to use Firefox tho, but that’s OK too. No matter how I get there it is worth it. I feel like a kid again when I share all this. (2nd childhood actually; I’ll be 74 this month & don’t feel it.

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