May 22 2014

Peregrine News: Monaca and Westinghouse

Published by at 7:20 am under Peregrines

Monaca East Rochester Bridge, 2012(photo by PGC WCO Steve Leiendecker)

Monaca East Rochester Bridge:

With thunderstorms predicted yesterday (they never happened) the peregrine bandings at Tarentum and McKees Rocks Bridges were postponed.   Instead, the PA Game Commission’s Dan Brauning and Tom Keller went to the Ohio River in Beaver County to the Monaca East Rochester Bridge pictured above.

Last year this peregrine pair nested on the huge inaccessible Monaca-to-Beaver railroad bridge.  No one could tell if the nest was successful. This year they appeared to have come home so Dan and Tom investigated.  Dan wrote on May 21:

Tom Keller, I, and a team from PennDOT accessed the bridge this morning, and found 4 healthy chicks, 1 male and 3 females. The birds are about 18 days old today.

The adult female is an extraordinarily aggressive bird, hitting every one of us during our visit under the bridge.  She is the same female as was previously observed there — 75/Y, from Harrisburg.  If you know Tom, ask him about his new scar.  The male never came close.

Local observers that could be on the lookout for fledging in about 25 days would be appreciated.  The nest is far out over water, about 3 bays out from the pier on the Monaca side of the river.  The young should be able to get onto the catwalk, and therefore have good prospects for developing strongly before fledging.

Here’s a photo of this amazingly aggressive mother peregrine, 75/Y, taken on banding day in 2012 by Game Commission WCO Steve Leiendecker before she attacked him.  She never gives up.
Female peregrine at Monaca-East-Rochester Bridge, 2012 (photo by Steve Leiendecker)

If you’re in the Monaca area, start monitoring this bridge on June 11 for fledging activity (that’s four days ahead of “25 days”).


Westinghouse Bridge:

Westinghouse Bridge with PennDOT bucket truck about to look for peregrines' nest (photo by John English)
Tuesday afternoon, after the Gulf Tower banding, Dan and Tom went to the Westinghouse Bridge where a peregrine pair has been active for several years.

Using the bucket truck they looked for signs of a nest under the bridge while John English took photos from below.

PGC & PennDOT look for the peregrines' nest at the Westinghouse Bridge, 20 May 2014 (photo by John English)

The male was present but no female came out to “kak” and attack.

Male peregrine at Westinghouse Bridge (photo by John English)

Surprisingly, she was still incubating three eggs.  This is a late nest, perhaps a renesting after a territorial fight between males.  The female is still Hecla (68/H) from Ohio’s Ironton-Russleton Bridge 2009, resident since 2012.

If you’re in the vicinity of East Pittsburgh/North Versailles, please check under this bridge for peregrine activity.  There’s no way we’ll know if the nest is successful without some watchful eyes below.


(Monaca photos from May 2012 by WCO Steve Leiendecker, PA Game Commission. Westinghouse photos by John English)

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Peregrine News: Monaca and Westinghouse”

  1. Kathy Bramanon 22 May 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Great work and incredible reporting. Thank you!!

  2. John Thomsonon 22 May 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Great news Kate. Thanks for this news. I can be under the Westinghouse Bridge when home in 15 minutes. Only thing is I am not home for months at a time. Good to know that is a Peregrine home. What type of binoculars would be up to challenge there along with supplier ans estimated cost? What kind of binoculars do you use, approximate cost and supplier. I am sure you have different binoculars for different situation’s? Is the nest right near the the middle of the bridge on the East bound side? From the looks of the great photos by J.P. English. What kind of camera did he use, settings and the cost/supplier?
    Keep looking up.

  3. Chris Weberon 25 May 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Pittsburgh peregrine … No. 75Y … aggressive … hmmm … perhaps her nickname should be Mean “Joan” Greene? Just a thought!

  4. Kate St. Johnon 25 May 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Mean “Joan” 😉

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