Weed-free at the Gulf Tower nest, 20 Nov 2015
Remember how I said the Gulf Tower peregrine nest needs a makeover? Well, the makeover has begun but this new look is only an interim step.
Because peregrines are still endangered in Pennsylvania, they and their nests are directly managed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, often aided by local volunteer monitors (me + others) and local organizations that sponsor the nests (in urban Pittsburgh, the National Aviary).
The original plan was that Art McMorris (PGC) would arrive on Friday, November 20 with new gravel and supplies. Bob Mulvihill was going to help him dig out the old and put in the new, and I planned to provide indoor support.
Fortunately Art asked an important question early last week: What is the condition of the nest box structure?
Uh Oh! The structure is 24 years old! The wood that holds the gravel will probably fall apart when the gravel is removed.
So Art changed the plan. As soon as he can he’ll install a new nest box that will resemble this highly recommended model, favored by peregrines for many years.
Standard peregrine nest box (photo courtesy Art McMorris, PA Game Commission)
In the meantime, Friday didn’t go to waste. The National Aviary’s Bob Mulvihill and Eric Fialkovich removed the weeds and used a garden claw to loosen the gravel so the peregrines don’t lose interest in the site. (Peregrines like gravel or dust, not weeds and sticks!)
Here are before and after photos from Bob Mulvihill’s cell phone. That’s Eric on the right.
Gulf Tower nest, before and after weeding (photos by Bob Mulvihill)
So now the old box is weedless and waiting.
Stay tuned for the next step.
(photo of the nest from the National Aviary’s falconcam at Gulf Tower. Photo of new nest box model courtesy of Art McMorris, PGC. Before and after photos of the Gulf nest weeding by Bob Mulvihill.)
p.s. I provide “indoor support” because I am too afraid of heights to go out on the ledge. (!)