Jul 02 2014
Just when you thought peregrine nesting season was over, there’s one more nest remaining to fledge in Pittsburgh.
Yesterday morning Tom Keller of the PA Game Commission rode with PennDOT in their graciously provided bucket truck to band the nestlings at the Westinghouse Bridge. This late nest was first confirmed on May 20 when Dan Brauning and Tom Keller found the female incubating three eggs. On June 10 Tom confirmed the first hatchling. Yesterday he banded two females. (One egg didn’t hatch.)
This late-in-the-season nest cycle is probably a re-nesting after the first attempt failed. Nest failures at natural cliff sites can be caused by predation but this location is so inaccessible that the re-nest is probably due to a changeover in adults after a peregrine-vs-peregrine challenge. The banded female, Hecla, hatched in 2009 at the Ironton-Russleton Bridge in Ironton, Ohio and has been present at Westinghouse since 2012. Perhaps her banded mate is new but no one has been able to read his bands. He’s still unidentified.
Westinghouse site monitor (and proud “papa”), John English, organized a Banding Watch under the bridge. Thanks to photos from watchers Maury Burgwin and Donna Memon, I’ll tell the rest of the story in pictures.
Nestlings by Thomas Keller, PA Game Commission.
Action shots of adult peregrines by Maury Burgwin.
Peregrine-vs-gull encounter by Donna Memon)