Jun 03 2012

News of Three Nests

Published by at 7:30 am under Peregrines

Yesterday I said I was taking a break from peregrines -- but that was only on the blog.  Spurred by surprisingly good weather I decided to make a driving tour of peregrine nest sites in Allegheny County.  I wanted to know if the nestlings at each site had flown.

Here's what I found.

Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh:

I started and ended my tour at Schenley Plaza watching Dorothy, E2 and their three youngsters.

My morning stop was very brief -- only 10 minutes -- but in that time I saw both parents and all three "kids."  Two were ledge-walking while the third waited on the green nest perch, seen via the web on my cellphone.

As I left Oakland I posted an update to Pittsburgh Falconuts.  When I returned at 3:00pm I found an impromptu Fledge Watch in progress with John English, Peter Bell and Anne-Marie Bosnyak.  We had been emailing/posting on the road all day, finally meeting up at the tent.

John and Peter said I'd missed Dorothy on the nestrail with her first ledge-walker (Peter Bell's photo above) and some great flight demonstrations. Thankfully Dorothy and E2 kited again and flew loop-the-loops around the building.  Wow!

As of last evening, none of the three nestlings had flown.  Maybe one will fly today.  Maybe tomorrow.

Downtown Pittsburgh:

They're fledging!

As I suspected the youngsters at this nest are slightly older than the Pitt birds so they're already making their first flights.  When I arrived at 10:15am I saw Louie watching the nest site and one youngster at the nest opening.  I could tell a fledgling was probably on a nearby roof because Louie was watching that roof and smaller birds were giving alarm calls.  Unfortunately it was impossible to see the rooftop.

I posted an update and Anne-Marie swung by for a look.  She was just going to drive through but stayed an hour because (as she wrote in email)...

Downtown peregrine fledged.  Sitting on corner of [Point Park] academic hall. Mom or Dad visited juvie on bldg here. Saw one in a dive for food and then 2 turkey vultures came cruising by and D or L started screeching and flying about!  Our juvie is conveniently perched so it can be viewed from Nathans where famished falcon watchers can get a bite to eat! ;-).

During the nesting season Dori and Louie's site was a secret but now the chicks are out of the nest so I can show you where it is.

Here's the nest site with an about-to-fledge youngster perched at the edge (red arrow).   The site is a narrow air shaft at the back of a building between Smithfield and Wood Streets.  It's on the right as you drive down Third Avenue.   The building is a data center so all the windows are bricked up.

Wouldn't you know peregrines would choose a building where no one could look at them!  (Click on the photo below for a wider view.)

The Downtown youngsters are in the vicinity of Point Park University so their parents watch from the top of Lawrence Hall.  Here's Louie perched at the roof peak yesterday morning.  No sign of Dori.  Maybe she was watching a fledgling perched elsewhere.

If you're Downtown near Point Park University, keep looking up.

Tarentum Bridge:

Thanks to Rob Protz' observations, the PA Game Commission was able to confirm Friday that peregrines nested on the Tarentum Bridge.  Beth Fife reported two adults and one feathered juvenile close to fledging.

I drove to Tarentum in hopes of seeing the family in action.  The peregrines favor the upriver side of the bridge between the left abutment and the New Kensington hillside  so I went to the end of Tarentum's Wood Street (another Wood Street!) and stood at the river's edge.

Unfortunately the bridge is so far away that you really need a scope to see anything.  I don't have a scope but I did see an adult fly in and perch above the abutment.


If you'd like to see peregrines easily come to Pitt Peregrine Fledge Watch at the Schenley Plaza tent.

UPDATE:  Thunderstorms are predicted from noon to 4:00pm so today's watch will start at 11:00am and last until it rains or until 2:00pm -- whichever comes first.  Click here for the rest of  the schedule or follow @KStJBirdlog on Twitter or Kate StJohn on Facebook for Fledge Watch updates.

(top photo by Peter Bell, remaining photos by Kate St. John)

10 responses so far

10 Responses to “News of Three Nests”

  1. Melissa Rohmon 03 Jun 2012 at 8:08 am

    Hi Kate.

    Paddle Without Pollution had a cleanup on the Allegheny on May 19 and we launched under the Tarentum bridge. A Peregrine put on quite a show, right above our heads. S/he would go into the holes under the bridge and the pigeons would fly out in a panic. It was quite something and we got great views!


  2. Peteron 03 Jun 2012 at 8:33 am

    Uploaded a couple of the kiting videos – fair warning, they’re pretty shaky, wasn’t planning on taking video of anything.

    First one is longer, but about 1:15 in Dorothy simply hovers over the Cathedral.


    and then this is a bit shorter, but less shaky, I think. Also, E2 makes a few brief appearances early on. (Had to pick just one to follow…)


  3. FAITH CORNELLon 03 Jun 2012 at 9:12 am

    Very exciting time of year for the nests. In the PG yesterday there was a letter to the editor complaining that it is the fault of the falcons that there are no more squirrels in the area around the library. I personally do not think it is the fault of the falcons, they are more responsible for a cleaner area due to the lesser amount of pigeons dropping. Never saw them bringing a squirrel to the nest. Just a thought. I.m on the falcons side on this remark. Faith

  4. Rob Protzon 03 Jun 2012 at 9:27 am

    BTW Miss Kate,

    You realize that Mrs. Pefatar needs to have her first name changed. . .

    From Hope to Momma!


  5. Kate St. Johnon 03 Jun 2012 at 9:40 am

    She can keep the name Hope too. She’s from Hopewell, VA.

  6. Donnaon 03 Jun 2012 at 10:25 am

    Good luck to the fledglings and watchers today! Wish I could be there!

  7. Nellie Curranon 03 Jun 2012 at 11:51 am

    Hope everything goes well for the kids. Wish I could be there. Might try tomorrow.

  8. Steve-oon 03 Jun 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Hey Kate, there is a marina right under the Tarentum Bridge and access to the north side of the bridge. Sorry that you were so far away. But I’m very excited about the nest there. I won’t be back until Christmas, maybe, so no Peregrines for me.

  9. Mary DeVon 03 Jun 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Fledge Watch Update: Lots of activity after everyone left (no, no kids flew yet.) I walked over to the library to return some books, and while I was over there I noticed a parent (turned out to be E2) flying. Also a kid flapping and running on the nestrail. The kid disappeared briefly and then popped up in one of the cutouts.

    Picture: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v185/VAdame/Birdies/KidintheCutout.jpg

    I sat on the side of the library steps and got out the binocs — noticed there is a much different angle there than at the tent; more of a straight-on view. Dad landed on the outside, lower left corner of the nestrail. I’d never noticed one landing there before, but that spot wouldn’t really be visible from the tent! I wish I’d gotten a photo but unfortunately, no.
    (Here’s the spot): http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v185/VAdame/Birdies/E2PerchedHere.jpg

    I decided to walk up to Forbes for a closer look, and by the time I got there and looked up, there were *3* falcon shapes on the rail! All 3 kids?? Nope, Dorothy had appeared from somewhere and was serving a late lunch to 2 chicks on the rail, while Dad took off from his corner and did some nice aerial demos. I spotted much flapping behind the rail, in the vicinity of the nestbox, but #3 never got up on the rail — guess he went hungry! E2 landed on the roof and Dorothy took off, flew around the building, and then headed over toward Schenley Park again as I headed to my car.

    See yinz all tomorrow!

  10. Kate St. Johnon 03 Jun 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Aha! That must be where #3 has been all along. That’s a new spot. I’ve never seen one in the low section of the keyholes.

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