May 02 2011

Sad News: Only Four Nestlings at Pitt

Published by at 2:52 pm under Peregrines

Last Friday a webcam observer remarked on the Aviary's Facebook page, "The female just flew off the nest with a dead chick. Only two are left in the nest now."

The Aviary sent me the news right away but I was away from email on Friday and didn't find out until evening.  I checked both nests immediately.  Gulf obviously had five babies.  At Pitt I could only count four but it was hard to see because of the camera angle.  One thing was certain.  Both nests had more than two chicks. 

Saturday morning I still saw only four chicks at the Cathedral of Learning so over the weekend I asked a small group of avid webcam and fledge watchers, "Can you see five chicks at Pitt?"  

None of us could reliably see five but none of us were sure.  By this morning I was still seeing only four so I asked my friends to check the video archives. 

Thanks to Donna Memon and Jennie Barker we now have photos showing that one of the adults (looks like E2) removed a dead chick from the nest around 2:30pm on Friday April 29.  Here he examines it one last time.  Earlier snapshots indicate it died overnight April 28- April 29 because it was dead at the 6:16am feeding.

Alas, these things happen.  Sometimes we like it.  Sometimes we don't.

p.s. Thanks to Friday's sharp-eyed observer we knew that we ought to check the cameras.  To see video of this activity, watch the Cathedral of Learning Archive video called "E2 removes the dead chick."

(photo from the National Aviary snapshot cam at the Cathedral of Learning)

11 responses so far

11 Responses to “Sad News: Only Four Nestlings at Pitt”

  1. faith cornellon 02 May 2011 at 3:09 pm

    How observant all the watchers are. But so sad, a little chick, the eagle at Norfolk, nature is cruel we know but I am grateful for those that survive. Alot of work goes into keeping them safe & fed and healthy. We have good parents on those nests.

  2. Z Tayloron 02 May 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Sad, but these things happen. On the philosophical side, if the chick had some defect, it was probably kinder of nature to end him sooner rather than later. Nature is not cruel, even though it might appear so at times.

  3. Donnaon 02 May 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Very sad, but 4 chicks is still a success story for the species!

  4. Monikaon 02 May 2011 at 6:21 pm

    So sad, poor little one… Any idea where E2 would have taken the chick?

  5. S Brownon 02 May 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Thanks for checking this out to verify. I agree that we still have a success story here!

  6. Kathyon 02 May 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Thank you to all those avid watchers. It is indeed sad, but I agree with the others. Nature is not cruel.

  7. Joni Lawtonon 03 May 2011 at 5:10 pm

    I did feel sad when I read about the chick that didn’t survive. Does anyone know how the Peregrine in Harrisburg and her lone chick are doing?

  8. Kate St. Johnon 03 May 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Harrisburg is doing OK as far as I know. Read their updates here:
    and watch their camera here:

  9. Joni Lawtonon 03 May 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Thank you so much. I’ve been watching the chick in Harrisburg; hope he/she doesn’t get lonely. What is the survival rate for one hatchling? Really rooting for all of the babies!! They are so, so sweet.

  10. Tim Owenon 24 May 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Kate, where do you think E2 took the dead chick? Where do Peregrine’s take their chicks when they die like this?

  11. Kate St. Johnon 25 May 2011 at 6:32 am

    I don’t know where E2 took the dead chick and have not found any literature on this behavior.

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