Hope and Terzo with band colors showing, 4 July 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
A lot has happened at the Cathedral of Learning peregrine nest in the past two weeks.
- On June 21 a new female peregrine, Magnum, appeared on the falconcam. She came to the nest several times through June 23 and bowed with Terzo, the resident male. Her presence meant that the previous female, Hope, was gone.
- At midday June 24 Hope returned to the nest and has been bowing with Terzo ever since.
- On June 27 this year’s fledgling, C1, visited the nest and made loud begging sounds.
- On July 2, Chad Steele photographed Magnum at her own nest site, the Neville Island I-79 Bridge.
During these changes I was off the grid and couldn’t answer your questions. Here are some long awaited answers.
Did anyone see Hope and Magnum fighting?
No. We never saw anything, stuck on the ground with our poor field of view. My guess is that Hope and Magnum chased each other without making physical contact.
I see two peregrines at the nest. Please tell me if it’s Hope and Magnum and if they are fighting.
Magnum is gone for now. However, you can tell the difference between courtship and fighting by observing the birds’ postures and actions:
Courtship: Two peregrines standing apart from each other, chirping and bowing low = male+female strengthening pair bond. This is good.
Fight: Two peregrines with talons locked (feet are connected), trying to peck at each others’ throats, wings open, leaning backwards to avoid each others’ beaks = 2 birds of the same sex fighting. Here’s a slideshow of a fight in 2007 between two males at the Cathedral of Learning.
Why are the females competing now outside the nesting season? Are they competing for Terzo?
They’re not competing for Terzo at all. They’re competing for the Cathedral of Learning, a prime nest site worth winning at any time of year. It’s better than a bridge.
Does Terzo’s preference determine which female wins? Since Hope was there first, will Terzo leave if he prefers Magnum?
No. Unlike humans who bond with their mates and then find a place to live, peregrines bond to the nest site and then mate with whoever is there. If another female wins the site — no matter who it is — Terzo will mate with that female. He will not leave the site unless a new male ousts him.
Will Hope keep the Cathedral of Learning site?
We don’t know. We can tell that Hope is a weak owner because other females have made it to the nest three times in April & June. A strong owner would never let other females get into the nest. It never happened during Dorothy’s reign.
Has anyone seen Magnum recently?
Yes. On July 2 Chad Steele, peregrine monitor from Canton, Ohio, photographed Magnum at her home nest site, the Neville Island I-79 Bridge. His photos confirm her identity.
Magnum at the Neville Island I-79 Bridge, 2 Jul 2016 (photo by Chad Steele)
How is this year’s fledgling, C1?
C1 is so mobile that it’s hard to keep track of her. Anne Marie Bosnyak saw her this morning, July 5, on St. Paul’s steeple. We also know she visited the nest on June 27, whining loudly. Is she as loud as her mother? Perhaps.
C1 visits the nest, 27 June 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
p.s. As you watch the falconcam, here are band colors and numbers to look for:
Hope: black/green 69/Z + Green on right leg
Terzo: black/red N/29 + Silver on right leg
Magnum: black/red 62/H + Purple on right leg
C1 (juvenile, brown and cream-colored plumage): black/green 06/BR + Silver on right leg
(nest photos from the National Aviary falconcams at Univ. of Pittsburgh. photo of Magnum in flight by Chad Steele)