Archive for the 'Nesting & Courtship' Category

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

May 06 2016

Very Abnormal Behavior

Hope with her remaining chick, 6 May 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope with her remaining chick, 6 May 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

This afternoon as Hope and Terzo’s last egg began to hatch, Hope picked the new chick out of its shell, ate part of it, and fed the rest to her only remaining chick, C1.

All four of Hope’s eggs hatched but there is only one chick to show for it. On April 29 she killed and ate the second chick (C2) feeding part of it to C1. C3 hatched on April 30 but he never thrived. (Some of you speculated that she didn’t fed him adequately even though there is plenty of food.)

Hours after C3 died Hope fed him to C1. And now she has killed and eaten C4, again feeding him to C1.

We don’t know why Hope is doing this. Perhaps her situation will prompt biologists to study her case. In the meantime we can only wonder.

Needless to say her actions are distressing, so turn off the nestcam if it upsets you.

This is very abnormal behavior!!

 

p.s. I have no predictions on what she’ll do next. I have no idea how the season will end.

116 responses so far

May 04 2016

Kestrel Cam at The Peregrine Fund

Things got exciting on the Kestrel Nestcam in Boise, Idaho last Wednesday, April 27.  By the end of the day four of the five kestrel eggs had hatched. The fifth one hatched the next day.

Watch the first feeding in the video above.

American kestrels nest in holes and will readily use a nest box so The Peregrine Fund erected one on their campus and set up two streaming cameras — one inside the box and one outside.  Click here to watch the KestrelCam in Boise, sponsored by Bosch.

Here are some cool things you’ll notice about the kestrels:

  • The chicks are all the same size because they hatched within about 24 hours. Kestrels’ synchronous hatching strategy is similar to peregrines.(*)
  • American kestrels have malar stripes (mustaches) just like peregrines.
  • Their markings make it look as if they have eyes on the backs of their heads.
  • Kestrels are more colorful than peregrines but the mother’s plumage is muted compared to the male’s.  She’s striped and brown.  He has a cinnamon back and blue-gray wings.
  • When the chicks lose their down and develop juvenile plumage, they’ll resemble their mother.

Idaho is two time zones away so you’ll see these birds in the sun for two hours after night has begun in Pittsburgh.

Thank you to “Norca” for alerting me to this Kestrel Cam.

 

Ooops! This morning the inside-the-box camera is down for maintenance.  Please be patient … and watch the videos listed below the cam window.

 

(*)  NOTE:  Hatching at the Cathedral of Learning peregrine nest is delayed this spring because Hope started incubation about a week before she laid the 4th egg.  Her mate E2 died March 15. Terzo arrived on or before March 23.  There was a 15 day gap between the 3rd and 4th egg.

(video from the American kestrel nestcam, The Peregrine Fund, Boise, Idaho)

 

4 responses so far

May 03 2016

Are They Getting Enough to Eat? … and other worries

Hope and Terzo with 2 chicks, 1 May 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope and Terzo with 2 chicks, 1 May 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

As we watch the chicks at the Cathedral of Learning peregrine nest, some of you wonder if they’re getting enough to eat.  Others think Terzo isn’t hunting because Hope always brings the food to the nest.

THIS IS FIXED! An Internet problem: We couldn’t see the nestcam on the Aviary website. THIS IS FIXED!

Here are some Peregrine FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) that explain what’s going on.

There’s a lot going on.

 

p.s. Have a question about peregrines? Check my Peregrine FAQs page for lots more information.

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

41 responses so far

May 01 2016

Third Egg Hatched; All is Well

Hope leaves the nest at 6:49am. There are two nestlings and one egg (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope leaves the nest at 6:49am. There are two nestlings and one egg (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Last night at 9:30pm the third egg hatched at the Cathedral of Learning peregrine nest. Hope immediately ate the egg shell. She did not eat the chick.

This morning there are two nestlings and one egg, as seen in this screenshot when Hope and Terzo did a nest exchange.

All is well.

Two nestlings and one egg at Cathedral of Learning peregrine nest (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Two nestlings and one egg at Cathedral of Learning peregrine nest, May 1, 6:49am (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Welcome to the world, C3.

 

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

47 responses so far

Apr 30 2016

Bewildering Birth And Death

Terzo arrives at 3:02pm as Hope shelters the first chick and two eggs (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Terzo arrives at 3:02pm; Hope shelters Chick#1 and two eggs (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Yesterday morning we were excited that the first peregrine egg hatched at Pitt and looked forward to a second hatching later in the day.

At around 2:15pm the second egg hatched. Hope manipulated it, killed it, and fed it to the first chick.

This is not normal peregrine behavior.

Viewers were shocked and bewildered.  Many of you had questions but I was out of cell range for most of the day, unaware that it happened.

I have never seen this behavior before and don’t know why it occurred.  Here’s what we do know: Peregrines’ lives are very different from ours. Using our human yardstick to understand them — anthropomorphizing — really leads us astray.

I asked Art McMorris, the PA Game Commission’s Peregrine Coordinator, who viewed the archived footage and said the chick was alive but might not have been normal.  In all his years of dealing with peregrines, Art has never seen this before either.

Hope’s behavior was so unusual that there is no information on it.  Many of you speculated about it and asked “Is this why she did it?”  In almost every case my answer is “I don’t know.”

A line from The Journey of the Magi by T.S. Eliot comes to mind: “But there was no information, and so we continued.”   The rest of the poem applies, too.

And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different …
— excerpt from The Journey of the Magi by T.S. Eliot

 

We are learning a lot this year about unusual peregrine behavior.

And a reminder: If watching the nestcam upsets you, turn it off. Give yourself a rest. I do.

 

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

58 responses so far

Apr 29 2016

First Peregrine Egg Hatched at Pitt!

Terzo and Hope with their first nestling of 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Terzo and Hope with their first nestling of 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Happy news at the Cathedral of Learning peregrine nest.  The first chick has hatched!    Welcome to the world, “C1.”

This morning at 6:18 am Hope was restless and pulled one of the eggs away from the other three.  In this photo you can see that the egg is cracked.  The chick was about to hatch.

Hope pulls the about-to-hatch egg away from the other three (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope pulls the about-to-hatch egg away from the other three (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Soon Hope moved the egg back to the clutch …

Hope moves hatching egg back to the clutch (photo from National Aviary falconcamat Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope moves hatching egg back to the clutch (photo from National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

… and at 6:42am she called to Terzo, “Come see what’s happening.”

Hope calls to Terzo after first chick hatches (photo from National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope calls to Terzo after first chick hatches (photo from National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Terzo arrived at 6:55am (top photo) to see the chick nestled in the half shell.

Hope left to have breakfast and Terzo settled on the chick and eggs to keep them warm.

By 7:27am Terzo showed the chick completely out of the shell.  Notice the two halves of empty shell.

Terzo with first chick and eggshell, 29 April 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Terzo with first chick and eggshell, 29 April 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

 

Welcome to the world, “C1”!    We hope we’ll see more “C’s” hatching soon.  (See this blog post about nestling names.)

 

UPDATE AT 4:00PM: I’m sorry that I’ve been out of cell range for the past 5 hours. At around 2:15pm the second egg hatched, Hope killed it and fed it to the first chick. I have never seen this behavior before and do not know enough yet to speculate on why this happened. I’ll publish more news when I have it.

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

81 responses so far

Apr 25 2016

Small Falcons Found Downtown

Male American kestrel (photo by Cris Hamilton)

Male American kestrel (photo by Cris Hamilton)

We’re still searching for the peregrines who nest in Downtown Pittsburgh.  They left the Gulf Tower in March and we know they’re nesting … but where?  Two weeks ago I posted this blog asking folks to… Look for Perching Peregrines.

Last Wednesday Diane P. left a comment saying she’d found a pair of falcons nesting in the facade of a building on Fifth Avenue across from Chatham Center.  Within a few hours I was Downtown checking the area for peregrines.

From Duquesne University’s campus I saw a small bird of prey perched high on Chatham Center but the light was so poor that I couldn’t identify it.  On Fifth Avenue I found this hole in the 1904 building.

The perfect hole for kestrels, 1904 building (photo by Kate St. John)

Kestrel hole, 1904 building (photo by Kate St. John)

The next morning I stopped by Chatham Center plaza and saw the bird in better light on the same perch.  It’s a small falcon, an American kestrel (Falco sparverius).

By luck Diane was out on the plaza, too, so we chatted about her discovery.  Suddenly we heard a kestrel calling and both adults swooped into the nest.  Then we heard the sounds of baby birds being fed.  It’s a family!

Diane was so good at finding these small falcons that I hope she finds the big ones, too.  (And I do hope the peregrines leave the kestrels alone!)

Remember to keep looking for perching peregrines when you’re Downtown.

 

(photo by Cris Hamilton)

9 responses so far

Apr 24 2016

Female Intruder, Briefly on 23 Apr 2016

Adult female intruder visits Pitt peregrine nest, 23 April 2016, 4:04pm (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Adult female intruder visits Pitt peregrine nest, 23 April 2016, 4:04pm. Terzo backs away. (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Yesterday afternoon — Saturday April 23 — an adult female intruder visited the Pitt peregrines’ nest while Terzo was incubating the eggs at 4:00pm.

Terzo took one look at her and left (above).

The mystery lady stayed for less than a minute but managed to show the color of her bands: pinkish USFW band (right leg) and Black/Red on her left leg.

Adult female intruder, 23 April 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Adult female intruder, 23 April 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Obviously she’s a different bird than the one that visited April 8th.  That one was an unbanded juvenile.  This one is an adult and has bands that may be from Ohio.

But it doesn’t matter who she is as long as she doesn’t stay.  Hope chased her away and was back at the nest at 6:20pm looking just fine.

It all happened so quickly that we wouldn’t have noticed if Janet Luzell hadn’t mentioned it in a comment on my blog.

Thank you, Janet, for your sharp eyes!

 

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

p.s. I am rarely in Facebook so if you want to reach me the quickest way is to leave a comment on my blog.  Every comment sends me an email.

15 responses so far

Apr 24 2016

Report Nesting Ospreys

Two Osprey chicks call for food (photo by Cris Hamilton)

Two Osprey chicks call for food (photo by Cris Hamilton)

Did you know that ospreys suffered through the DDT pesticide crash and recovery just like bald eagles and peregrine falcons?

Ospreys are doing much better now than they did in 1986 when there was only one nest in Pennsylvania — but how much better are they doing?  That’s where you come in.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission monitors this State Threatened species and they need to know where ospreys nest, especially in the western part of the state.

This PGC map shows the known nesting sites in 2015.  Look at the gaps!   For instance, is it possible that no ospreys nest in Armstrong County, home to the Allegheny River and Crooked Creek Lake?  I’ll bet they nest in the county but PGC doesn’t know about them.

 

Help the PA Game Commission fill in the map by reporting nesting ospreys.  Download the  Osprey Nest Survey Form (PDF) along with the Nest Observation Protocol (PDF). Submit your completed survey forms to osprey@pa.gov.

And please don’t assume someone else will report a local nest.  It’s up to you!

For more information, read this eBird blog post by Doug Gross.

 

(photo by Cris Hamilton)

One response so far

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