Merlin and Peregrine Action at Pitt

If you don't read PABIRDS (an email list of nearly 1,000 birders in Pennsylvania), you probably missed today's report by Ryan Ford, a member of the University of Pittsburgh's Birding and Ornithological Club.

Subject: Pitt Campus Merlin
From: Ryan Ford <RMF42 AT PITT.EDU>
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2010 16:05:38 -0500

As I was walking to my afternoon class I heard several chickadees giving
alert calls between the Cathedral of Learning and Schenley Plaza on the
University of Pittsburgh campus.

An adult MERLIN then shot past just 10ft above my head with one of the
local Peregrine Falcons chasing after it.  The two birds proceeded to play
cat and mouse over Schenley Plaza (almost hitting Posvar Hall) before the
Merlin managed to shake the Peregrine falcon loose.  The Peregrine
proceeded to soar and watch from overhead as I watched the Merlin chase a
chickadee over the plaza.  It eventually left the area unsuccessful after
the Peregrine began to descend again from its lofty position.

Definitely an exciting day in Oakland!

Our club President, Connor Higgins, arrived a minute too late (he's quite
sour about that)after I alerted him about the chase.


Ryan Ford
University of Pittsburgh
Birding and Ornithology Club


Doesn't the merlin resemble a peregrine!  No wonder E2 had his dander up!

Also, at lunchtime today Karen Lang and I saw an adult red-tailed hawk eating a pigeon on the lawn by Heinz Chapel while one of the peregrines watched from above.

And... Dan Yagusic saw a peregrine falcon at the 62nd Street Bridge around noontime.

AND... a very rare falcon visited Pennsylvania yesterday:  A white-morph gyrfalcon flew by Waggoner's Gap Hawk Watch, north of Carlisle!

Update on Wed 12/8/10:  Tony Bledsoe saw the merlin fly by Langley Hall at 11:30am.

(photo by Debbie Bozkurt linked from Click on the photo to see the original.)

6 thoughts on “Merlin and Peregrine Action at Pitt

  1. All this is such a wonderous thing. News must be out Pittsburgh is the place to TRY to be, good eating, good housing!!! But watch out for the local residents already there. Thanks again Kate for a good adventure to see.

  2. A peregrine — I’m not sure which one — flew over my house this afternoon as I was getting home from work. It was great to see it!

  3. Great news! I have been watching a peregrine who perches within sight of my office window for years, until last summer. It had been perching on a tree or the sculpture in Mellon Plaza, which is across the street from our office. Since I haven’t seen one since fledging season, I was afraid that the ousted female from the Gulf nest had been my visitor, and since she was no longer there, I would not have these “visits” again.

    But, surprise! Friday, I looked out, and there was a big bird on the very top of one of the trees in the park. How nice to have him/her there again. Makes me anticipate the drama of nesting and fledging to come this Spring!

    Kate, you have expanded my enjoyment of the miracle of life with your wonderful blogs. Several of us at the office are referred to as the “bird followers”, and considered a bit obsessive around nesting time. We talk to each other about the peregrines as if they are close friends. Some see us as goofy, but, we don’t care. We know we are the lucky ones.

  4. I saw that Gyrefalcon yesterday and took pics of it on my way home from Whitetail! I stumbled on your blog page looking up a description to find out what it was!

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