Four Peregrines At Tarentum

Great news from the Tarentum Bridge!

In April it seemed there were no peregrines at the bridge.  Now there's a family of four.

  • In late May, Rob Protz reported peregrines going in and out of the bridge structure near the New-Kensington-side pylon.
  • On June 1 the PA Game Commission confirmed two adults and one feathered chick too old to band.
  • On June 10 Amy Henrici and Pat McShea saw one fledgling.
  • Rob Protz confirmed two fledgings on the evening of June 11.
  • And on June 12 Marge Van Tassel photographed the family of four.

The peregrines were there all the time but the adults hid their nest for as long as possible until the demands of their two chicks gave them away.  Now you can see them up close from the Tarentum side boat ramp.

Marge's photo below shows what the area looks like without magnification.  There are four peregrines on the near pylon (red arrows).

But they aren't always that far away.

Marge and Rob both report that the father peregrine likes to hunt for pigeons in the box girder cubbyholes.  Pigeons are plentiful on the landside span so "Papa" perches above the boat ramp area and waits for a tasty meal.

Here he is.  I sure wish we could read his bands from this photo!


His "kids" beg from above while their mother, nicknamed Hope, watches nearby.  (I've brightened this photo of one of the fledglings so you can see it better.  The backlighting makes it tough!)


They're a busy family right now and will be easy to see in the next few days.

If you're in the area, stop by the Tarentum Bridge to watch peregrines.

To get there from Route 28 Expressway:  The Tarentum Bridge carries PA 366 over the Allegheny River.  From Rt 28 expressway, take the exit for "PA 366 East. New Kensington, Tarentum."  In 1 mile you're in the heart of Tarentum at the bridge.  Take the First Avenue exit (it's the first off-ramp just as you start onto the bridge).  First Avenue is under the bridge.  Ta dah! You're there.

(first photo (of the whole bridge) by Kate St. John, all other photos by Marge Van Tassel)

14 thoughts on “Four Peregrines At Tarentum

  1. I echo Steve’s sentiments! I saw Steve and Jim Bonner and his wife in the marina yesteday evening, before the storm chased us away at 6:30.

    Prior to that, there was one fledgling on the upriver nav lite beam along with an adult (probably Mom), and the other fledgling (the screamer) was further over near the mid-river pylon. It was screaming and screaming and I said to myself (hoping it could read my thoughts): “Stop crying and start flying!” . . . And guess what? It worked! The screamer flew over and knocked Mom right off the navlite beam!!! At which point I muttered “Crazy Baby!” and moved over to the other side to watch. Then the 2 fledglings were both on the beam and Mom circled back around and perched on the high ring above them. The 2 fledglings did some pecking and poking at one another, but I think it was just play, it didn’t look malicious. All was quiet for a long time until we all watched Mom leave and head downriver before we all left.

    This morning I was there from 7:40 until about 9:15. Saw lots of flying by the babies, but they also wound up taking a nap afterwards. I had 2 direct overflights by one of the fledglings and watched them chase each other and fly around the parking lot and into the neighborhood a little bit as well.

    AND . . . ta da, I even saw one of the fledglings chase a pigeon which had come off the bridge not far below it. It came within a couple of feet before it broke off the pursuit.

    AND. . . I know where they’re hiding when they’re not visible. They’re actually going up into the underside of the arch boxbeams by flying directly into the holes from below. I saw all the PEFAs, adults and fledlings do that this morning. When I left one fledgling was on the downriver navlite beam, and the other was hiding somewhere.

  2. Fantastic! 40% of the conversation at COL last weekend was “How many at Tarentum?”. I knew some had seen 1 eyas at a time. It’s great to know there are 4 🙂 Any guesses on sex based on size?

  3. I tried : ), but I think I was so caught up in the excitement of watching them all so busy plus my photographing skills and camera are not the best. The one fledgling was soooo loud I wasn’t sure at first if it was a Peregrine or a truck having trouble of some kind. I may try again before they all leave to get a better shot of the male — would be great if we could be sure of his id. Sharon, hope you get some good shots of all of them and maybe you’ll be able to get a good photo of the male with the band more visible. They sure are entertaining!! Rob’s been privy to so much activity!! His reward I think for being so consistent and keeping up on them for us all.

  4. By the way, the bands on the mother peregrine are [Black/Green 69/Z]. In the past she’s been very cooperative about having her picture taken.

  5. Got to see the falcons for the first time tonight. We could hear them as soon as we got there. They are quite loud. Two photographers were there and they shared with us that we had just missed seeing the two young ones catch a snake! We got to see mama and the two young ones but did not see dad. We were there from 8 pm to about 8:45 pm. Can’t wait to go back!

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