Peregrine falcons and common ravens have a long history of nesting near each other. Both favor cliff ledges with similar qualities and will nest 100-200 meters apart (1-2 football fields). They’ll even take over each others’ unused nest sites, but they don’t get along.
Peregrines harass ravens though they rarely hurt them. Ravens are big and powerful and very acrobatic in flight.
Since 2007 a peregrine pair has nested over the Ohio River on one of two bridges: the Monaca-East Rochester Bridge (Rt. 51), or the enormous Monaca-Beaver railroad bridge. In 2015 they nested on the east tower of the railroad bridge (Monaca side) and fledged two young.
Ravens are rare in Pennsylvania’s urban areas but they do nest on railroad bridges, laying their eggs in late February a month before the peregrines nest.
Last Friday, February 12, Gina Rubino was watching a raven build a nest on the west arch (Beaver side) of the Monaca-Beaver railroad bridge when two peregrines showed up. She recorded three videos. Above, a raven builds the nest on the near arch, then perches on top of the arch and takes shelter when a peregrine zooms past.
Below, two peregrines harass the raven who again takes shelter in the bridge structure. This double-teaming is typical of peregrine-raven interactions.
Eventually, the raven pair gets the message and flies off together while a peregrine perches on the far (east) end of the bridge.
Do the peregrines want the railroad bridge for their own nest this year? Or are they just annoyed by the ravens, as peregrines often are?
Gina wrote on PABIRDS, “I’m hoping the two groups can settle their differences (I would love to see both successfully nest), but I have my doubts…”
(videos by Gina M. Rubino)