Where Are They??

Every March since 1991 this nest site has been abuzz with peregrine activity ... but not this year.

In a normal year the peregrines would appear on camera several times a day to court and dig the scrape.  Dori would spend more and more time at the nest as she got closer to laying eggs.  We'd hear Louie call off camera as he came in for a visit.

None of this has occurred since March 1.  Even before that date the peregrines visited very little this season and by now we're worried that they won't nest here at all.

What's going on?  Are Louie and Dori being challenged by other peregrines?  Have they chosen a different nest site?

The answers can't be found on camera.  We need some sharp-eyed observers Downtown to tell us what they see.  Here's what to watch for:

  • Where are the pigeons?  This might sound dumb but birds go where the food is and pigeons are peregrine food.  The hundreds of pigeons that lived at nearby Mellon Square have left because of reconstruction.  Louie and Dori's nearby food source has moved on so maybe they moved too.  Find out where the pigeons are now and you might find Louie and Dori.
  • Have you seen peregrines anywhere?  If so, where?  Keep track of location, date and time so you can see a pattern.
  • Have you heard any peregrines' screeching or loud wailing?  What location, date and time?  (The last "screeching" report was March 15, 7:20am near the Gulf Tower.)
  • A peregrine was seen twice in the same day (March 10) in the area bounded by Smithfield St, Boulevard of the Allies, Wood St and the Monongahela River.  This is a good area to check in case it's the new hang-out.
  • And finally, if you've seen a peregrine flying was it flapping the tips of its wings a lot?  This is a territorial signal that's usually done near the nest site.  If they're doing this in another part of town, maybe they've chosen that area.

So if you're in downtown Pittsburgh, please look for the peregrines -- and pigeon flocks -- and tell us what you see.

Where are they??

(photo from the National Aviary webcam at Gulf Tower, Pittsburgh)

21 thoughts on “Where Are They??

  1. I work near the corner of the Boulevard of the Allies and Stanwix. Small numbers of pigeons are usually in the area, especially around lunch time, when the Red Door is open – the bagged lunch program sponsored by St. Mary of Mercy Parish (corner of Stanwix and the Boulevard).
    This isn’t far from First Side.

  2. I would love to know what is going on at the Cathedra. Dorethy and E2 are there in the nest but no eggs. Is she getting too old to lay eggs?

    1. Female peregrines continue to lay eggs as they age. They just lay fewer. … Dorothy isn’t late at this point. Historically she’s laid her first egg between March 20 & 29. She was very early the past 2 years.

  3. One of the Peregrines was flying around near PPG/Market Square during lunch today. Only saw one and no flapping of the tips of wings.

  4. In the fall i saw Peregrines frequently over the Gateway Center garage / park, around Stanwix / Blvd Allies. In other bird of prey news, a big red tailed hawk hangs out up on the First Niagara building, and frequently perches himself on the letters of the sign way up on the side of the building. We’d watch him from the old white PNC building across the street.

  5. My friend and I were coming back from Pittsburgh this evening, and as we exited the squirrel Hill tunnel going east, my friend (and passenger) saw a PF sitting on top of the light post just outside the tunnel. We were going towards the Edgewood/Swissvale exit, and she saw another PF whom my friend said the wings on the back looked as though they were chewed. This was around 7:15 pm.

    1. Thanks for the tip, Jean. Your description sounds like the red-tailed hawks that nest in that vicinity. They have a nest on the hillside above the Swissvale exit. There’s also a pair on the City side of the Squirrel Hill Tunnel. I saw them circling a lot today!

  6. What about Dori’s old location where she hung out on her own before taking over at this nest site? Just a thought? Or was it really far from here?

  7. Dori’s old site is a possibility but it is pretty far away –> the 62nd Street Bridge.

    Dori was seen at the Gulf Tower last Thursday so I think she’s still Downtown, but I’m a little worried she picked a different nest site. “Worried” in the sense that I want to see her on camera and that won’t be possible if she picks some unknown site.

    Dori come home!

  8. There were four or five hawks circling high above Market Square at lunch yesterday. Is it normal for the hawks and falcons to occupy the same territory?

    1. Yes, it’s normal to have both in the same area. The birds you saw circling together may have been migrating hawks or vultures on their way north.

  9. Wondering why someone else doesn’t occupy the Gulf Tower site, since it appears that Dori and Louie are nesting elsewhere. Could it be lack of food supply?

    1. Dori & Louie are still downtown & will defend the entire area against other peregrines. So if they abandon GT they will nest elsewhere downtown. Possibly on a bridge.

  10. I live in Brookline, where we have a pair of very active redtail hawks. The other day I was taking a stroll and saw a pair of birds that was NOT the redtails. They were smaller and faster, and while I didn’t get a really good look at them, they were definitely more falcon-ish than hawk-ish. It’s not the first time I’ve caught sight of these birds in Brookline, either. I doubt I’m seeing “our” peregrines, but does anyone have any clues as to what they might be?

  11. @Denise,
    You could have seen a Cooper’s Hawk, we have them in my neighborhood in Regent Square. They hunt birds by cruising real low around houses and surprising them. Very agile and fast.

  12. I saw a perigrine last week on the North Shore. It landed briefly on PNC Parks lighting gridwork above the Willie Stargell statue.

  13. We got a very good look at one of the not-redtails today, and I’m pretty sure Mike is right – they’re Cooper’s Hawks.

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