Peregrines in November

People often ask me, "Do Pittsburgh's peregrines leave in the winter?" 

No, they don't, but they're hard to find because they keep such a low profile. 

At this time of year peregrines don't show off with fancy courtship and territorial displays so it was exciting to hear from three peregrine fans that the Gulf Tower falcons have been active in the past week.

Last Friday Sharon Leadbitter saw a peregrine perched on the observation deck of the Gulf Tower and took this picture from USX Tower. 

On Saturday Barb Becker had so much work to do that she went to her office at Make-A-Wish and was rewarded by hearing and seeing Dori and Louie courting at the nest box. 

And just two days ago Anne Marie Bosnyak saw a peregrine near Duquesne University.

The Pitt peregrines have been active too. 

A week ago Karen Lang and I saw two peregrines perched on the Cathedral of Learning's lightning rod for several hours.  E2 faced north, Dorothy faced south to keep their eyes on all of Oakland. 

Last Friday at lunchtime we were treated to a closer look when E2 flew "kak-ing" over Fifth Avenue, pursuing a threat so minor that we never saw it, but the best was yet to come. 

Yesterday we saw E2 flapping hard, carrying a huge pigeon back to the Cathedral of Learning for Dorothy's lunch.  The wind was so strong and the prey so heavy that he couldn't gain enough altitude to reach the dining ledge so he circled near the building, called several times in a loud voice and landed briefly on a window unit around the 20th floor.  He must have been calling Dorothy because she followed when he flew with the prey to St. Paul's Cathedral.

I'm amazed we've seen so much of them.  I wonder what today will bring!

(photo by Sharon Leadbitter)

6 thoughts on “Peregrines in November

  1. Oh my gosh! I saw E2 with the pigeon as well!!! I was in a meeting at the SEI on the top floor… I saw what I thought was a peregrine (or other bird of prey)carrying something big!!! It was so hard to concentrate at the meeting after that and was hoping that no one noticed me stealing glances out the window!

  2. As I arrived to work today at Duquesne University, two falcons were taking turns flying over the river and then landing on the jail.

  3. Awesome! I’ve also been seeing what appears to be a young falcon at the Westinghouse Bridge on sunny afternoons. Assuming that it’s one or more of the brood that hatched there.

  4. Oh how I envy you who work & are close by them. But I close my eyes & visualize the verbal discription by Kate. Thank you so much for this blog. Will keep me warmer today. I almost cry when I think how very very fortunate we are to have these wonderful creatures around. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!

  5. Kate, could you explain how the falcon’s leg folds against their body in flight? They are surprisingly long legged but from the underside in flight, all I see are neatly folded talons far back by the tail. Thanks!

  6. Excellent question, Michelline. I’ll make that my next Anatomy lesson this coming Friday. (It’ll take some time to get a good illustration.)

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