Peregrine updates: Pitt and Gulf Tower

At the University of Pittsburgh:
For the past week Pitt's young peregrines have been shuttling back and forth between St. Paul's Cathedral and Heinz Chapel -- if they're on campus at all.  The "kids" are now at the stage when one or more go off on their own to explore the area, returning only to chase their parents and whine for food.  

Three is the highest number of juveniles I find at any one time and only if their parents are nearby.  This morning two juvies chased Dorothy when she tried to capture a pigeon near the Community of Reconcilation tower.  The pigeon escaped because it heard them coming -- Dorothy with two whining kids in tow.  Karen and Coleen tell me they were doing this at lunchtime, too.

Sometimes the adults get a break.  Pictured above is one of the adult peregrines perched on the west face of the Cathedral of Learning in a quiet moment, as seen on the Tour Pitt camera.

At the Gulf Tower:
The youngsters here are about to fly but we won't be able to see it on camera -- the view is just too narrow. 

Last night before sunset all five were in the nest box, beginning to settle down for the night.  Today most of them were off camera but probably in the vicinity of the ledge. 

Some of you said you'll be heading to the Gulf Tower to watch this weekend.  Let us know what you see by posting comments below.

(first photo from the Tour Pitt camera captured by Jennie Barker;  second photo from the National Aviary webcam captured by Traci Darin)

p.s.  See news in the comments.  One of the youngsters has flown at Gulf Tower as of tonight at 8:46pm!

17 thoughts on “Peregrine updates: Pitt and Gulf Tower

  1. News sent via email:
    From SueG at 8:11pm, Friday 6/18/2010:

    Hi everyone.
    Just got back from Gulf area. (Fri. evening) We went to the Pennsylvanian near the parking entrance (walk up ramp from street) It was shaded at 5:30.
    Could see 2 chicks hop-flying from small pillar-to pillar in front of the nest box. . Not very far, but kind of flying. (just the distance of a window-width)
    There was a 3rd just sitting on the ledge. Before, the hop-flying, one was on top of the box.

    Did not see any parents perching or flying.

    Had a bite to eat and went back again at 7:30. They were just sitting and flapping wings on the ledge. Not too active by then.
    Never saw more than 3 at t time.

    By 7:30 there is shade down by the entrance to the Penns. driveway, and you can sit on a wall along the drive.

    Don’t know when I’ll have another chance to visit. I’d love to see the parents demonstrating!

    Good luck!

    From Anne Marie at 8:46pm, Friday 6/18/2010:

    There’s a fledgling on the Federated bldg!!!! Just saw him fly there!!! On the corner terrace facing the bus station!

  2. We were in town at lunch time today, and went to the top of the Greyhound Parking Garage to see if there was any activity. We could see the pyramid, and the area that looks like it has a fence around–viewing area maybe? And what looked like a TV dish, but no birds!

    Was it just too hot?


  3. LOL at the pigeon story! I’ve also been lucky enough to see the activity at St Paul’s since I work across the street. The fledglings are the first thing I look for in the morning and when I leave and at least once during the day. One day 2 coworkers and I (one who was skeptical about what could be so exciting about watching these fledglings) just hung out on the roof for about 30 minutes just taking them in. 2 on St Paul’s who then demonstrated their very good flying skills by flying off to the horizon and back many times… one even stopped to perch precariously (at least to me) on the cross on central catholic, one on Webster Hall who never moved and one on the lightning rod at COL (i assume a parent?). So nothing as exciting as a pigeon chase but we were hooked nonetheless… even the skeptic! 🙂

  4. As of 8:36am, Saturday morning, via the webcam, there are still 4 fledglings at the Gulf. They have been fed and are making quite the racket!!
    But it’s a breezy day today – I suspect more of them will make that first flight today.

    I will miss them.

  5. More from Anne Marie about the-one-that-flew Friday evening:
    From Anne Marie, 10:41pm, 6/17/10:
    My blackberry was almost out of charge when I typed my experience earlier…. plus my parking ticket was going to expire.. but the fledgling had me worried because it was flapping and flapping but was sliding down the glass window. I don’t know how (it all was fast), but I guess it caught a breeze and was able to glide away from the bldg and made a small circle and by flapping hard got to the ledge. Mom or Dad came flying over to the Federated bldg and flew around the bldg 2 times… guess checking out the fledglings situation. And then unfortunately I had to leave the garage, plus it was getting dark.

    My comment:
    I can tell from your description that the fledgling ended up in a safer location. Good! When the youngsters land in difficult spots their parents fly by and encourage them to pick a new spot – which he did. He probably got a nice meal for his efforts.

  6. Thank you all for the updates & to see what I can see still at nest. It has been a very good year I would say. The next best thing we can do is to if you are able, is to donate to this project to keep it going until this species is fully restored. Look at how much will probably be lost in the Gulf while we enjoy the show of the Peregrines. I have friends who have eyes that glaze over also when I bring the subject up, but I keep at it. Got a few asking me questions also. I am very grateful to Kate & Dr. Katzner this year who certainly provided a lot of education for us all. Their enthusiasm is very contagious.

  7. I keep looking out the USX window hoping to see something. I have my digi camera on video ready status. I’m hoping …… 😉

  8. Sharon, you’re just the person that the chat room folks have been hoping for! We keep saying that we need someone at USX with a window and a camera. It would be wonderful if you captured them flying. Best of luck 🙂

  9. Nothing all day. As I was walking down 7th at around 5:15 pm I heard a bunch of squawking and saw 2 flying from the Gulf to the Koppers bldg. They circled for a few seconds … did I get my camera out in time? Noooooooo And then there was the major deluge of rain …. hope they made it back

    I’ll still be taking my camera to work every day. I also have most people on my floor checking out the windows as well … if they see anything they’re supposed to poke me so I can try to get it. Now if they would just clean the windows on my floor. 😉

  10. Sunday: Noon — One chick on ledge and one on the corner of the US Steel bldg about 1/2 way up. Then decided to enjoy the great breeze and flew about quite bit. A second joined and then landed on the GT facing USS then I lost track of this one. My Steel bldg buddy flew a lot but then I lost him… so I took a trip up to the mellon arena (I was at the parking garage) and there he was.. on the side of the Steel tower facing Mellon… so he decides to fly about again and since I can see 2 sides of the Steel Bldg, I can only presume he was playing hide and seek with me on the side facing the Point… He wins.. I had to leave. 🙂

  11. Sunday afternoon: The family and I went to the ball game to see the Bucs win one! I thought while there I’ll keep an eye on the Gulf tower to hopefully see the young Peregrines. I had my binos so I knew if there was any action I had a good chance of catching it. Well, I saw nothing much happen at the Gulf tower during the game. After the game we went to to parking garage only to find out that the traffic was going to keep us from getting out of there any time soon. We were parked on the roof so we had very good view of the downtown buildings including the Gulf Tower. While waiting for traffic to clear I decided to watch for the young Peregrines. Sadly, I only saw one flying around the Gulf tower the 45 minutes that I was there on the garage roof. But! I did see three peregrines flying and landing on the top of the Highmark building. One falcon flew right up to one of the windows near the top of the building as though it wanted to land there but obviously just slid down and took off again around the other side of the building. It was amazing to see them up there and seemingly having a great time learning how to fly. It was wonderful to see them. And I assume these I saw are from the Gulf building. All in all it was a good day to be downtown.

  12. Gene, Your description of a peregrine trying to land at a window was definitely a juvenile. Glad to hear they’re doing well.

  13. Evidently, the “kids” haven’t quite mastered the landing. Saw 3 juvies flying around this morning between the Gulf and Koppers. One would be standing between the spires on top of the building and another would fly up and try to land beside them. Well …… aim was a little off and would end up pushing the standing one off. Actually it was kinda funny.

    I have a pic and maybe a video of this .. my camera isn’t the best so I’ll have to play in photoshop and then post it to youtube. *crosses fingers*

  14. Yesterday, Keith & Leah spotted 4 peregrines cruising over the field behind our house in South Oakland. Dorothy, E2, and a couple of kids tagging along on a hunting lesson? I was inside and only got out in time to see 2 of them disappearing over the trees to the east.

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