Archive for the 'Nesting & Courtship' Category

Jul 20 2016

Peregrines Don’t Mess Around

Terzo and Hope bow at the Cathedral of Learning nest, July 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Terzo and Hope bow at the Cathedral of Learning nest, July 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Peregrines Don’t Mess Around.  This is true of many aspects of peregrines’ lives but here I’m referring to a new report about their sex lives.

Last weekend mentalfloss.com reported that DNA studies of peregrine breeding pairs and young in Chicago indicate that all the offspring have been born of the established pairs.  In other words, peregrines aren’t having extramarital affairs.  Peregrines don’t mess around.

The report also confirms that peregrines love their cliffs more than their mates:

“Even greater than their loyalty to each other was the falcons’ loyalty to their nesting sites. It makes sense; while a partner might die in a collision with a building or a power line, a safe nesting niche is forever.”

Read more at …

Given the Opportunity to Cheat on Their Mates, City Falcons Stay True

 

(photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

p.s.  In case you missed it:  Yesterday July 19 at 1:45pm I saw all three peregrine family members at the Cathedral of Learning.  C1 flew in (squawking!) and landed at the 23rd floor northeast corner.  Terzo evaded her and hid in a nook at 32 east.  Hope flew in and landed on a 28th floor stone peak below Terzo.  Both parents were avoiding C1’s demands.  (No worries. This is normal behavior.)

p.p.s. Thanks to @PittPeregrines for alerting me to this article.

10 responses so far

Jun 08 2016

She Turned Brown

Peregrine chick, C1, at 32 days old, 31 May 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Female peregrine chick at 32 days old, 31 May 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

The peregrine chick at the Cathedral of Learning, C1, has changed a lot in the past week.

On May 31 she was mostly white.  Now (June 7) she’s mostly brown.  C1 has grown her juvenile plumage and preened away at lot of the down.

Pitt peregrine chick at 39 days old, 7 June 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Female peregrine chick at 39 days old, 7 June 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Yesterday she was 39 days old, the age at which male peregrine chicks often fledge at the Cathedral of Learning. However, females fly a few days later than the males because they are 1/3 larger and heavier.  It will be several more days before C1 flies.

When she walks off camera she’ll fledge in (typically) 2-5 days.

 

(photos from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

6 responses so far

Jun 01 2016

Visit Third Avenue: Peregrine Fledge Watch

Peregrine chick at the Third Avenue nest, 31 May 2016 (photo by Peter Bell)

Peregrine chick at the Third Avenue nest, 31 May 2016 (photo by Peter Bell)

Thanks to everyone who stopped by Third Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh to check on the peregrine nest site.  Keep up the good work.  We’ve learned there are four chicks in the nest and at least two will fly this week.

Downtown Fledge Watch has begun!

Yesterday afternoon John English and Peter Bell captured photos of the first chick whining at the nest opening and exercising his wings.

Wing exercise -- a peregrine chick flaps at the Third Avenue nest (photo by Peter Bell)

Wing exercise — a peregrine chick flaps at the Third Avenue nest (photo by Peter Bell)

This morning Doug Cunzolo and Lori Maggio saw two youngsters perched there.

Because this nest is only 12 stories high, these birds will need our help.

In the first 24 hours of flight, young peregrines lack the wing strength to take off from the ground.  If they land on the street they just stand there and may be hit by vehicles.  If you see a peregrine on the ground call the PA Game Commission (PGC) at 724-238-9523.  If you can safely do so, carefully corral and guard the bird until PGC arrives.

Rather than a formal schedule, just stop by Third Avenue whenever you can (see map). This photo by John English shows you where to look once you get there (yellow arrow). The red arrow shows an adult on a small windowsill above the nest.

Peregrine nest site at Third Avenue. Adult in small window above the nest (photo by John English)

Peregrine nest site at Third Avenue (yellow arrow). Adult in small window above the nest (red arrow). [photo by John English]

On your way to Third Avenue keep this number handy: 724-238-9523.  The youngsters may land a few blocks away and you might get a very close look at a peregrine!

After the first chick flies, the process lasts about a week … so keep coming back.

Thanks to Point Park University for providing this year’s “rescue porch” on a balcony of Lawrence Hall.   Special thanks to Amanda McGuire, Maria and Caleb for the rescue porch arrangements.

 

(photos by Peter Bell and John English)

4 responses so far

May 27 2016

Today Is Banding Day

C1 pants in the heat as Hope perches in the sun (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

C1 pants in the heat as Hope perches in the sun (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

The peregrine family at the Cathedral of Learning is in for some excitement today. Hope and Terzo’s chick, C1, will be banded this morning.

Just after 10:00am Dan Brauning of the Pennsylvania Game Commission will venture out on the Cathedral of Learning ledge.  Don’t be shocked when you hear the peregrines “kakking” and the chick disappears for a while.  The falconcams will continue to run while the chick is absent.

C1 will receive a health check and some new “jewelry” and will be returned to the nest very quickly.  A side benefit is that we’ll learn whether he’s a “she” or a “he.”

Watch my blog for photos of the event later today.

 

p.s. It’s exceptionally warm here in Pittsburgh this week.  As shown in the photo above, you’ll see C1 panting and holding his wings open to stay cool.

(photo from the National Aviary falconcam at the University of Pittsburgh)

Note: I don’t announce the banding in advance because the event is not open to the public. The room is too small to allow for uninvited guests.

 

21 responses so far

May 24 2016

Growing Feathers

Peregrine chick C1 with father Terzo, 19 days since hatch, 18 May 2016 (photo from the National Aviary faloncam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Peregrine chick C1 with father Terzo, 19 days since hatch, 18 May 2016 (photo from the National Aviary faloncam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

After a big growth spurt the peregrine falcon chick at the Cathedral of Learning is now developing feathers. Here’s a five-day time lapse comparison.

In the first photo on 18 May 2016 above, C1 has grown facial feathers that now define his face.  He stands like a small white Buddha while he waits for his father to feed him — 19 days after hatching.

Below on 23 May 2016, you can see pin feathers emerging at C1’s wing tips and and tail — 24 days after hatching.

Mother peregrine, Hope, feeds chick, C1, 23 May 2016, 24 days after hatching (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

C1 with mother Hope 23 May 2016, 24 days after hatching (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

 

C1 is very demanding.  Terzo got an earful yesterday.

C1 shouts at his father Terzo (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

C1 shouts at his father Terzo (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

 

(photos from the National Aviary faloncam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

8 responses so far

May 19 2016

Messy Nest

Terzo and Hope hold a black-feathered prey item, C1 looks on (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Terzo delivers a black-feathered prey item to the nest. Hope retrieves it. C1 watches (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

In years past, Pitt peregrine watchers were used to seeing a very messy nest on camera. Dorothy, the previous resident female, usually plucked prey at the nest soon after she was done brooding.  In those years the nest normally looked like this.

This year the nest has been amazingly clean … until yesterday.  At 6:45am Terzo brought a black-feathered prey item to the nest.  Hope took it from him and plucked it while C1 watched.  (It was a male red-winged blackbird.)

Hope plucks the prey item - a red-winged blackbird -- at the nest (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope plucks the prey item – a red-winged blackbird — as C1 looks on (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

I finally figured out there’s a good reason for making a mess.  C1 will soon be old enough to eat on his own and will need to know how to pluck prey and tear it up. The best way to learn is by watching. Yesterday Hope showed him by example.

By the end of the month C1 will be grabbing the food and plucking it himself.  In the meantime I’m sure he’ll watch more food preparation demonstrations.

Breakfast is served amid the feathers (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Breakfast is served amid the feathers (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Breakfast is served.

 

(photos from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

15 responses so far

May 16 2016

He’s Grown A Lot In One Week

C1, the lone chick at the Pitt peregrine nest, is eating well and growing fast.  Here’s how much he’s grown in one week: May 8 to May 15.

May 8, 2016

Hope offers food to C1, 8 May 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope offers food to C1, 8 May 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

May 15, 2016

Hope with C1, 15 May 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope with C1, 15 May 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

What a difference!

 

(photos from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

19 responses so far

May 15 2016

Photos Of Pittsburgh’s Downtown Peregrines

Peregrine perched on Wood Street Commons Building, Downtown Pittsburgh (photo by Lori Maggio)

Peregrine (maybe Dori) on Wood Street Commons Building, Pittsburgh, 12 May 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Last week Lori Maggio visited Third Avenue between Wood and Smithfield to take photos of the Downtown peregrines.   Look closely and you can see that both birds are banded.  Unfortunately we can’t read the bands yet.

Though we’re not sure of this pair’s identity, the choice of nest site behind 322 Fourth Ave leads me to believe the female is still Dori.

Dori on a gargoyle at Point Park's Lawrence Hall (photo by Lori Maggio)

Dori on a gargoyle at Point Park’s Lawrence Hall, 11 May 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

 

My guess is that the bird pictured below is the male.  Is this Louie? We don’t know. Louie is 14 years old now — quite old for a peregrine — so it’s possible he was replaced by a new male.

Peregrine atop 322 Fourth Ave above the nest, 11 May 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Peregrine atop 322 Fourth Ave above the nest, 11 May 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Both adults like to perch on the turquoise-colored “shields” on top of Wood Street Commons.

(Maybe the male) Peregrine perched on top of Wood Street Commons Building, 11 May 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

(Maybe the male) Peregrine perched on top of Wood Street Commons Building, 11 May 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

 

The adults go in and out of the nest with food, indicating there are young at the nest.

Peregrine flies to the opening of the nest area -- in and out (photos by Lori Maggio)

Peregrine flies to the nest area — in and out — 11 May 2016 (photos by Lori Maggio)

We won’t know how old the nestlings are until they appear at the edge of the opening.

 

(photos by Lori Maggio)

9 responses so far

May 13 2016

Peregrine Chicks Grow Up: Video

Feeding time for peregrine chicks in Hokkaido, Japan. (screenshot from Eduence Field Productions Ltd)

Feeding time for peregrine chicks in Hokkaido, Japan. (screenshot from Eduence Field Productions Ltd)

Most of us have never seen peregrines nesting at wild cliffs so it’s a real pleasure to find this excellent video from Hokkaido, Japan showing a pair nesting by the sea.

Click on the screenshot above to watch peregrines’ family life as the chicks grow up from ages two to five weeks.

Here’s what you’ll see:

  • The male chases dense flocks of birds to separate out a single bird and capture it.
  • 1st feeding, chicks 2 weeks old (This is C1’s age today at Pitt):  The male brings food close to the nest but not into it. The female leaves the nest to take the prey and carries it back to the nest to feed the chicks.  If you were watching this feeding on a nestcam you would not see the male at all and might mistakenly think the female does all the hunting.  Nope.
  • 2nd feeding, chicks 3 weeks old:  The chicks have full crops showing as gray bulges on their throats. This is a sign they are well fed.  (You can see this bulge already on C1’s throat when he is full.)  The chicks are not very hungry so after their mother eats she takes away the leftovers to cache them.
  • 3rd feeding, chicks 4 weeks old: The chicks are half brown with growing feathers.  They rush at their parents to grab the food and eat it on their own.
  • Ledge walking and learning to fly, 5 weeks old:  One chick flaps and lands at the bottom of the cliff in the water.  Notice that he can swim!  He gets out of the water and climbs the cliff.  🙂

Nestcams see such a tiny piece of birds’ lives that you might misunderstand what’s going on.

Peregrines are fascinating when you watch them from the ground.

 

(screenshot from video by Eduence Field Production, Ltd)

21 responses so far

May 11 2016

Downtown Peregrine Nest Site Found!

Peregrine chick at entrance to the nest, Downtown Pittsburgh, May 2012 (photo by Kate St. John)

2012 peregrine chick at entrance to the nest in Downtown Pittsburgh. This nest is being used again in 2016 (photo by Kate St. John)

Congratulations to Lori Maggio whose search for perching peregrines has paid off.  She found the nest site of the Downtown peregrines!

Lori walks to and from her workplace at the USX Tower and often walks at lunchtime so when I asked folks to look for peregrines Downtown, she decided to help.

It was a fruitless effort until Monday May 9 when she found a peregrine perched on a high railing at Point Park’s Lawrence Hall. Later that day she stopped by and a peregrine was perched there again.

Then yesterday, May 10, she saw a peregrine take food to the nest!  Both adults went into the nest and came out after about 30 seconds.  Are the young old enough to feed themselves?  If so we should be seeing them at the nest opening soon.

If you’d like to help watch for activity, visit 3rd Avenue between Smithfield and Wood Streets.  Heading down 3rd Avenue (it’s one way), pause at the parking lot that runs between 3rd and 4th Avenues.  Facing Wood Street, look up to the right and you’ll see a building that has looks like this.

The back of 322 Fourth Ave as seen from 3rd Avenue (photo by Kate St. John)

The back of 322 Fourth Ave as seen from 3rd Avenue (photo by Kate St. John)

Look for activity at the opening, as shown in the top photo, and let me know if you see a chick. We won’t know when to have Fledge Watch until we know how old the chicks are.

Thank you, Lori!  So glad you found the nest!

 

(photos by Kate St. John)

21 responses so far

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