While we wait for the cold weather to end, here's a slideshow of last year's peregrine highlights at the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning.
For fans of Dorothy and E2, 2013 began with promise but ended in disappointment. Click on the photo above to see last year's ups and downs.
- The peregrines began nest defense and courtship right on schedule.
- Dorothy laid her first egg on March 13, then paused a bit longer than usual before completing her clutch of 5.
- She kept the eggs warm and dry, even when it snowed all night on March 24-25.
- Two eggs hatched on April 25. The remaining three eggs never hatched.
- Soon it was evident only one of the chicks was eating. The other had spasms so strong that it twitched out from under Dorothy's warmth and away from the nest.
- The second chick died beyond the scrape. Being the good mother that she is, Dorothy tucked it under her to brood. On April 29 when her back was turned E2 removed the dead chick's body.
- The remaining chick received loads of attention from two very experienced parents and lots of quality time alone with Dorothy. Often it seemed we could understand what she was telling him by her look. Above, Dorothy and E2 confer as the chick begs for food.
- On Banding Day, May 17, Dorothy strafed the banding crew who successfully retrieved and banded her healthy male chick. We nicknamed him Silver Boy. (The Pennsylvania Game Commission does not name peregrine chicks but Pittsburgh peregrine watchers assign nicknames based on the colored tape placed on the silver USFW bands. Silver Boy's USFW band remained silver. He had no colored tape because he had no siblings.)
- Silver Boy ate, grew, exercised and explored. He fledged on June 3 to the 25th floor ledge where he was rewarded with food, of course.
- Sadly, on the morning of June 14 Silver Boy was found dead on Forbes Avenue, apparently hit by a car.
- His parents resumed courtship the next day but stopped soon after. It was too late in the season to start another clutch.
- Both parents stay at Pitt year round. As always, Dorothy is the most photogenic.
Now that we've had a warmup, let the season begin!
(photo above from the National Aviary falconcam at University of Pittsburgh. Thanks to Peter Bell, Mike Faix and Kim Getz for contributing photos in the slideshow.)
p.s. This slideshow is also linked on the Peregrine FAQs page.