Mar 05 2012
Pittsburgh’s peregrines are very busy courting right now. Whether you watch on camera or in person it’s easy to see.
The male brings prey to his lady as a courtship offering. When he’s prepared it to his satisfaction he flies around, carrying it in his talons and calling for her to come. She flies up and takes it from him, sometimes in mid-air, and settles in to eat. When she’s finished eating he goes to the nest and calls her to come bow with him. After they bow he leaves and she stays to dig the scrape in the gravel where she’ll lay her eggs. This is a sure sign that they’ll nest soon.
You can see the nest activity on the falconcams. The photo above shows Dorothy and E2 at the Cathedral of Learning nest. The photo below shows Louie and Dori at the Gulf Tower.
If you want to see their courtship flight, you have to be near their nesting territory. Rob Protz was lucky to see a pair at Tarentum on Saturday evening when they flew around the bridge and landed to mate. Their nest location and the male’s identity are still a mystery so we’re hoping for some sharp eyes to figure this out. Other bridges to watch are McKees Rocks, Westinghouse and Monaca.
Be alert in the days ahead for the first eggs at Pitt and the Gulf Tower. Dorothy, at Pitt, laid her first egg on March 12 in 2010 and on March 13 in 2011. Dori, at the Gulf Tower, laid her first on March 17 last year.
Eggs are coming soon.
(photos from the National Aviary falconcams at Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning and at the Gulf Tower. Click on the photos to see the falconcams)