Jun 06 2014
Peregrine activity at Pittsburgh’s two fledged nest sites has moved out of easy view but three locations still await the excitement of first flight. Here’s the latest peregrine news in a long blog post. Don’t miss the end as the best is always last.
Cathedral of Learning:
Yesterday Tom Keller of the PA Game Commission removed Dorothy and E2’s unincubated egg. This was not to change Dorothy’s mind about standing at the nest but to test the egg. Dorothy and E2 always visit the nest at this time of year and Dorothy loves to sunbathe there.
Some of you were worried that the peregrines were sad about the egg. I don’t think so. Not sad, just bored.
Meanwhile the infrared lamp that provides night vision has burned out so the nighttime video looks like “snow.” We will replace the lamp before the next nesting season.
Last Saturday at Fledge Watch we saw two juveniles on the Gulf Tower roof while the remaining three nestlings waited to launch. By dawn on Wednesday only one female remained at the nest. She looked as if she was ready to fly but she was cautious — a good trait in the urban environment where buildings, glass, and chimneys pose unnatural threats to survival. She flew on Wednesday.
That same day at the U.S. Steel Tower, a friend of Steve Gosser’s sent him a mystery photograph, “What is this bird?” A juvenile peregrine outside the office window! The Gulf Tower “kids” are exploring Downtown.
Green Tree water tower:
No peregrines have been confirmed at the Green Tree water tower for many weeks though several of us have looked while driving by. This site has been disappointing for two years in a row. If you do see a peregrine at the water tower, let me know.
Though there were two fledglings at the Tarentum Bridge on May 29, only one has been seen since then. Time will tell if the second one is merely hiding or gone missing. If you see one or both at Tarentum, let me know.
Tom Keller checked the Westinghouse nest on May 30 and found the female still on eggs. He’ll check again in mid-June.
McKees Rocks Bridge:
Old news, but good news… On May 23, the PA Game Commission and PennDOT used the bucket truck to search for the peregrines’ nest at the McKees Rocks Bridge. Despite their efforts they were unable to locate the nest because the peregrines defended an inaccessible area. They confirmed that the female is unbanded while the male is still Bravo (V over H (blk/green)) from Cleveland’s Terminal Tower in 1999, son of Zenith and Bullet. He was first recorded at McKees Rocks in 2008. This year he’s 15 years old. His unbanded mate indicates that female peregrines from remote sites (or perhaps from man-made inaccessible sites) are finding homes in Pittsburgh.
Neville Island I-79 Bridge:
At the Neville Island I-79 Bridge one female chick is getting ready to fledge. She was 22 days old when banded on May 28 so she’ll probably fly June 14-19. The nest location makes for an easy Fledge Watch so stay tuned for dates, times and directions. The Watch will probably begin on Friday, June 13th — perhaps sooner! Pittsburgh Falconuts, look for news from Anne Marie Bosnyak.
Monaca East Rochester Bridge:
Four chicks — three females and one male — were banded at the Monaca-East Rochester Bridge on May 21 at 18 days old. They will probably fledge from June 11 to 16. Start watching on June 10 (or earlier!) and you’ll see lots of activity beneath the bridge. It’s easy to see the bridge from the community park on the Monaca downriver side. Keep an eye out for the mother peregrine! I hear she is very fierce.
(photo credits are in the captions except for: Westinghouse Bridge photo by Joseph Elliott, Library of Congress and Gulf Tower juvenile at the nest from the National Aviary falconcam at the Gulf Tower)