Archive for the 'Peregrines' Category

Nov 28 2016

Fifteen Mile Commute

Published by under Peregrines

Hope at Tarentum Bridge, Tuesday morning, 11/22/16 (photo by Steve Gosser)

Hope at Tarentum Bridge, 11/22/2016 around 10am, (photo by Steve Gosser)

On Tuesday morning, November 22, a beautiful female peregrine perched close to Tony Bruno and Steve Gosser at the Tarentum Bridge. Her close approach reminded Steve of the peregrine Hope who used to live at the bridge before moving to the Cathedral of Learning.

Steve was able to photograph her bands, black/green, 69/Z, and yes indeed she was Hope.

Hope's color band, morning of 11/22/16 at Tarentum Bridge (photo by Steve Gosser)

Hope’s color band at Tarentum Bridge, around 10:30am, 11/22/16 (photo by Steve Gosser)

 

Did she stay at the bridge?  No.

Steve saw her at Tarentum until he left at 11:00am.  Then at 12:12pm the falconcam caught Hope courting with Terzo at the Cathedral of Learning.

Hope and Terzo bow at the Pitt nest, 11/22/2016, 12:12pm (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope and Terzo bow at the Pitt nest, 11/22/2016, 12:12pm (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

She’s recognizable on the falconcam by her distinctive “muddy” gray face and her green right-leg band.  (It’s even greener-looking in subsequent photos.)

Hope at the Pitt nest, 11/22/2016, 12:15pm (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope at the Pitt nest, 11/22/2016, 12:15pm (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Below, her left leg band shows black/green as she leaves the nest.

Hope leaves the nest area showing her black/green color band, 11/22/2016, 12:15pm (photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope leaves the nest area showing her black/green color band, 11/22/2016, 12:15pm (photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh)

 

So … Hope is using both her old and new territories this fall.

It’s only a 15 mile commute … as the peregrine flies.

 

p.s. If you search the WildEarth archives for this footage, you’ll find it on 11/22/2016 at 13:12.  WildEarth’s archive clock remains on Eastern Daylight Time so it doesn’t have to be reset for the nesting season.

(photos at Tarentum Bridge by Steve Gosser. photos at Cathedral of Learning nest from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ. of Pittsburgh)

4 responses so far

Nov 14 2016

Shuffle At The Pitt Nest

Published by under Peregrines

Unidentified female peregrine courting with Terzo at Cathedral of Learning, 11 Nov 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Unidentified female peregrine with Terzo, 11 Nov 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ. of Pittsburgh)

Last weekend there was a shuffle at the Cathedral of Learning peregrine nest.  A new female came to visit.

On Friday afternoon Carol D. noticed something unusual and sent me this comment:

[11/11/2016]  I was watching the Pitt falcon cam this afternoon and Terzo was at the nest. At about 1:00 you could see the shadow of another falcon land on the ledge out of sight of the camera. After a short time, it came into the nest and didn’t act like Hope. I couldn’t see the legs very well, but it didn’t look like it was banded. I took a screenshot of it and compared it to one (of the many) that I have of Hope and it wasn’t her. She has a white chest area with few brown dots and comparing this screenshot with hers, the one that was there with Terzo had more of a cream colored chest with a lot of brown spots. I was just wondering if you or anyone else noticed this.

No one else reported it but thanks to Carol’s tip we knew where to look. I pulled the motion detection snapshots while Pittsburgh Falconuts friends made a video bookmark here: Terzo and friend at scrape.

Who was this female visitor?  Here’s what we know.

Her face has a faint peachy color.  (Notice the area between her nape and malar stripe in the next two photos.)

Unidentified female peregrine with Terzo, 11 Nov 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Unidentified female peregrine with Terzo, 11 Nov 2016

Unidentified female peregrine with Terzo, 11 Nov 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Unidentified female peregrine has peachy-colored face. With Terzo, 11 Nov 2016

She appears to be unbanded.  You can see one bare leg while she’s perched below, and both bare legs in the next snapshot.

Unbanded female peregrine with Terzo, 11 Nov 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Female peregrine with spotted breast and unbanded leg(s). With Terzo in background, 11 Nov 2016

Unbanded female peregrine with Terzo, 11 Nov 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Female’s legs appear to be unbanded.  With Terzo, 11 Nov 2016

And just as Carol said, her chest plumage is peachy-colored with many dots.

Unidentified female with Terzo, 11 Nov 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Unidentified female with Terzo, 11 Nov 2016

Even though she’s unbanded her appearance is so unique we’ll be able to recognize her if she returns.

And, yes, she is gone.  The shuffle was temporary.  24 hours later Hope was back at the nest.

 

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

 

One response so far

Nov 13 2016

Mystery At Tarentum

Published by under Peregrines

Peregrine falcon 4-/BR at Tarentum Bridge, 6 Nov 2016 (photo by Anthony Bruno)

Peregrine falcon 4-/BR at Tarentum Bridge, 6 Nov 2016 (photo by Anthony Bruno)

Last Sunday, 6 November 2016, Tony Bruno photographed a peregrine falcon that’s been hanging out at the Tarentum Bridge.  His photo is beautiful and tantalizing. You can almost read her bands.

Even at high resolution all we can see is black/green, 4??/BR.  There’s a digit after the 4 but the bird’s feathers cover most of the number.

The black/green 40-series/BR means she’s a female from Pennsylvania but without the last digit we don’t know who she is.  Art McMorris, the PA Game Commission’s Peregrine Coordinator, examined the photo closely and wrote:

I agree that the bottom combination is BR, which means that it’s one of my bands. And the first digit on top is clearly a 4. However, I’m not so sure about the second digit. I see what you mean about it maybe being a 4, but I think that 2 is also possible, and even more likely, but I can’t be sure. I’m comparing your photo with bands that I have, and looking at the shapes of the digits.

What I can say is that the bird is a female, from Pennsylvania, banded in either 2014 or 2015. As Kate mentioned, 44/BR is from the Glenfield [Neville Island] I-79 Ohio River Bridge in 2015.  42/BR is from the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia, also in 2015.

So now we wait for more sightings of this peregrine and another great photograph to learn her identity.

What we do know is this:  She’s not Hope, 69/Z, who sometimes returns to Tarentum for a visit.  Hope “owned” the Tarentum Bridge for six years before she moved to the Cathedral of Learning 12 months ago.

 

(photo by Anthony Bruno)

2 responses so far

Oct 14 2016

Why Do Peregrines Like Bridges?

Hope (69/Z) at the Tarentum Bridge, July 2012 (photo by Steve Gosser)

Hope (69/Z) at the Tarentum Bridge, July 2012 (photo by Steve Gosser)

 

Out in the wilderness, peregrine falcons nest on sheer cliffs.  Pittsburgh doesn’t have those cliffs but we do have nesting peregrines at two sites on buildings and five on bridges.

It’s easy to see that a tall building resembles a cliff …

Cathedral of Learning (photo by Kate St. John)

… but bridges are open structures without sheer walls.
Tarentum Bridge nestbox project, The Bucket Truck, 27 Feb 2015 (photo by Kate St. John)

Why do peregrines like bridges?

I found the answer in a blog post from The Center for Conservation Biology.  CCB monitors peregrines in Virginia where many falcons prefer bridges at the coast.

As you read the article linked below, watch for a photo of the Benjamin Harrison Lift Bridge where Hope (black/green, 69/Z) pictured above, was banded. She has nested at both kinds of sites in Pittsburgh:  six years at the Tarentum Bridge and now at a building, the Cathedral of Learning.

 

Peregrines and Bridges

 

p.s. The article explains that peregrine nestlings from the Lift Bridge are hacked in the Shenandoah Mountains. Hope was one of those birds.

(photo credits:
Hope at Tarentum by
Steve Gosser
Cathedral of Learning and Tarentum Bridge by Kate St. John
peregrine on nest by Bryan Watts linked from CCB blog
)

7 responses so far

Oct 04 2016

The Downtown Peregrines’ Favorite Places

Published by under Peregrines

Peregrine at 3rd Ave nest site, 30 Sep 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Peregrine at 3rd Ave nest site, 30 Sep 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Where do Downtown Pittsburgh’s peregrines spend their time?  Lori Maggio found out.

Lori walks to work on Smithfield Street and has a good view of Downtown Pittsburgh along her way.  From July 14 through September 30, usually at 7:15am, she recorded the peregrines’ locations whenever she found them.   This came to 27 days of observations since Lori didn’t walk every day and the peregrines weren’t always visible.

55% of the time Lori found a peregrine perched on the Lawrence Hall gargoyle at the Boulevard of the Allies facing Smithfield Street, below.  This is a very reliable place to find a peregrine falcon if you’re early Downtown.

Peregrine perched at Lawrence Hall gargoyle, Blvd of the Allies facing Smithfield St, 27 Sep 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Peregrine perched at Lawrence Hall gargoyle, Blvd of the Allies facing Smithfield St, 27 Sep 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Most of her other sightings were in the six-block area bounded by Forbes Avenue, Grant Street, the Boulevard of the Allies, and Wood Street.  Lori saw a peregrine at the Third Avenue nest site four times and heard the pair e-chupping once.   By the way, the Third Avenue nest site is inside that six-block zone.

Here are photos from some of Lori’s recent sightings, September 26-30, 2016.

The roof edge of the Huntington Bank Building:

Downtown peregrine at Huntington Bldg, 28 Sep 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Downtown peregrine at Huntington Bldg, 28 Sep 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

A window ledge at Huntington Bank:

Downtown peregrine at Huntington Bldg windowsill, 26 Sep 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Downtown peregrine at Huntington Bldg windowsill, 26 Sep 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

A porch railing at Lawrence Hall:

Peregrine on porch railing at Lawrence Hall, 30 Sep 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Peregrine on porch railing at Lawrence Hall, 30 Sep 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

And on September 28 when Lori saw a peregrine on the Gulf Tower falconcam, she walked over to take its picture:

Peregrine at the Gulf Tower nest zone, 28 Sep 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Peregrine at the Gulf Tower nest zone, 28 Sep 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Peregrine at the Gulf Tower nest zone, 28 Sep 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Peregrine at the Gulf Tower nest zone, 28 Sep 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

 

Great work, Lori!  Now we know where to look for these elusive birds.

 

(photos by Lori Maggio)

9 responses so far

Aug 29 2016

Peripatetic

Hope (69/Z) preens at the Tarentum Bridge, 28 Aug 2016 (photo by Anthony Bruno)

Hope (69/Z) preens at the Tarentum Bridge, 28 Aug 2016 (photo by Anthony Bruno)

Peripatetic: adjective [1] traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods. (definition from Google search)

Hope (69/Z, black/green) is a peripatetic peregrine falcon.  For five years she called the Tarentum Bridge her home until last spring when she nested at the Cathedral of Learning.

In my experience, peregrines stay put when they’ve claimed a prime territory but Hope does not.  On Friday she flew 15 miles back to Tarentum and set up shop for several days.

She’s so comfortable at Tarentum that, unlike her habits at Pitt, she perches in easy view.

Last weekend Tony Bruno and Steve Gosser stopped by for some great photographs. Above, Tony got a photo of Hope’s bands while she was preening.  Look how close she is!

Below, Steve caught the action when a curious mourning dove came close while Hope was eating. The dove escaped.

Peregrine falcon, Hope, confronts a mourning dove at the Tarentum Bridge, 27 Aug 2016 (photo by Steve Gosser)

Peregrine falcon, Hope, confronts a mourning dove at the Tarentum Bridge, 27 Aug 2016 (photo by Steve Gosser)

Peregrine falcon Hope stirs up a watchful mourning dove at the Tarentum Bridge, 27 Aug 2016 (photo by Steve Gosser)

Peregrine falcon Hope stirs up a watchful mourning dove at the Tarentum Bridge, 27 Aug 2016 (photo by Steve Gosser)

...and the mourning dove escapes at the Tarentum Bridge, 27 Aug 2016 (photo by Steve Gosser)

…and the mourning dove escapes at the Tarentum Bridge, 27 Aug 2016 (photo by Steve Gosser)

 

Apparently three days were long enough at Tarentum because Hope flew back to the Cathedral of Learning yesterday afternoon.  She appeared on the falconcam at 3:30pm, dug a little at the scrape and then perched and preened.

You can see her band colors below.  Her greenish right-leg band and black/green left-leg band are a diagnostic combination.

Hope reappears at Pitt, 28 Aug 2016, 3:30pm (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope reappears at Pitt, 28 Aug 2016, 3:30pm (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

 

And here’s her familiar face.

Hope at Pitt, 28 Aug 2016, 3:34pm (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope at Pitt, 28 Aug 2016, 3:34pm (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

 

She probably was at the Cathedral of Learning during last night’s terrific thunderstorm, but who knows.

Hope doesn’t perch in sight at Pitt so I’m never sure if this peripatetic bird is actually there.

 

(photos by Anthony Bruno, Steve Gosser and the National Aviary falconcam at Univ. of Pittsburgh)

28 responses so far

Aug 27 2016

Hope Is Visiting Tarentum

Published by under Peregrines

Hope at Tarentum, 26 Aug 2016 (photo by Rob Protz)

Hope at Tarentum, 26 Aug 2016 (photo by Rob Protz)

August is a good time for peregrines to wander.

Yesterday evening Rob Protz found Hope hanging out at the Tarentum Bridge, her former nest site from 2010 to 2015 before she came to the Cathedral of Learning.

Earlier in the day Karen Lang and I looked for Pitt’s peregrines with no success. Now we know why.

Rob’s sighting explains where Hope was. I wonder where Terzo goes when he’s not at Pitt …

 

(photo by Rob Protz)

p.s. And after I published this, Dori visited the Gulf Tower at 7:30am.

Dori at the Gulf Tower, 27 Aug 2016, 7:30am (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Dori at the Gulf Tower, 27 Aug 2016, 7:30am (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

12 responses so far

Aug 26 2016

Meanwhile Downtown

Published by under Peregrines

Peregrine at the gargoyle, 9 Aug 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Peregrine (probably Dori) on the gargoyle at Lawrence Hall, 9 Aug 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

While we watch the Cathedral of Learning falconcam for female challengers, the Downtown peregrines have been seen on camera, too.

Lori Maggio, Ann Hohn, and the Gulf Tower falconcam provide these photos of Dori and Louie’s whereabouts, July 29 through August 23.

Peregrine taking off from the gargoyle, 29 Jul 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Winged gargoyle? It’s a peregrine! 29 Jul 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

 

Peregrine on the shield at Wood Street Commons, 1 Aug 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

On the shield at Wood Street Commons, 1 Aug 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

 

Dori says "hi" at the Gulf Tower, 9 Aug 2016 (photo by Ann Hohn)

Dori says “hi” at the Gulf Tower, 9 Aug 2016 (photo by Ann Hohn)

Ann’s photo, above, at the Gulf Tower was taken on the same day as the top photo at Third Avenue.  These sites are only four blocks apart.

 

Peregrine at the Times Building, 15 Aug 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Dori at the Times Building, 15 Aug 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

 

Dori gazes at her domain, Gulf Tower, 20 Aug 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Dori gazes at her domain, Gulf Tower, 20 Aug 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

 

Louie visits the Gulf Tower nest at 8:45pm, 23 Aug 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Louie visits the Gulf Tower nest at 8:45pm, 23 Aug 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

 

(photo credits are in the captions)

 

5 responses so far

Aug 17 2016

Only A Month Ago

Published by under Peregrines

C1 on Heinz Chapel steeple, 14 July 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

C1 on Heinz Chapel steeple, 14 July 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

August has been boring for watching Pittsburgh’s peregrines outdoors.  It’s hot, the adults are molting and lethargic, and the youngsters have left town.  Even when female ownership changes at Pitt we never see it happen.

A month ago outdoor watching was more interesting.  On July 14 Lori Maggio photographed C1 perched on the Heinz Chapel steeple.

C1 on a gargoyle at Heinz Chapel steeple, 14 July 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

C1 on a gargoyle at Heinz Chapel steeple, 14 July 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

 

C1 at Heinz Chapel steeple, 14 July 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

C1 at Heinz Chapel steeple, 14 July 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Shortly thereafter C1 left town to begin life on her own.

Since then the best place to watch the peregrines has been on the nestcams:  Cathedral of Learning and Gulf.

 

(photos by Lori Maggio)

11 responses so far

Aug 14 2016

Update Your Scorecard

Magnum at the Cathedral of Learning nest, 12 August 2016, 5:15pm (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Magnum at the Cathedral of Learning nest, 12 August 2016, 5:15pm (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Get ready to update your scorecard.  There have been two! changes in female peregrine ownership at the Cathedral of Learning so far this weekend.

Friday evening “NR” saw a black/red banded female at the nest and posted a comment that Magnum was back on August 12 at 5:15pm — that’s 17:15 time code on the camera.  The photo above clearly shows Magnum’s bands.

Then Saturday night, August 13 at 6:52pm, members of Pittsburgh Falconuts saw Hope on camera calling loudly.  Terzo was nearby but he waited almost four minutes to join her.  Though her black/green bands are hard to read here, we know it’s Hope based on multiple snapshots.  She visited the nest again alone in the 8 o’clock hour.

Hope returns to the nest, 13 August 2016 at 6:52 pm (photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope returns to the nest, 13 August 2016 at 6:52 pm (photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh)

 

So here’s the state of play at the Cathedral of Learning pre-dawn on August 14.  I’m writing this before they wake up and change things again!

  • 30 Nov 2015: Hope arrives at the Cathedral of Learning
  • 8 April 2016 (same day):  Hope retains site after unbanded immature female visits the nest.
  • 23 April 2016 (same day): Hope retains site after a banded adult female (black/red) visits the nest.
  • 22 June 2016:  Magnum (black/red 62/H) claims the Cathedral of Learning.
  • 24 June 2016: Hope regains the site.
  • 2 August 2016: Unbanded young female claims the Cathedral of Learning.
  • 6 August 2016: Hope regains the site.
  • 12 August 2016:  Magnum (black/red 62/H) claims the Cathedral of Learning.
  • 13 August 2016: Hope regains the site.

As of this writing I have no idea where Magnum is but she knows her way around.  She’s been to the Cathedral of Learning before, possibly on April 23 and certainly on June 22.  Her home base has been the Neville Island I-79 Bridge, to which she returned after her last visit.

I don’t know how long Hope will stay this time.  Don’t even ask!

As I said on August 6, no humans ever see how these turnovers occur.  As far as I can tell no peregrines get hurt.

Thank you to NR and to all of you who check the Cathedral of Learning falconcam for peregrine activity.  Without your help we’d never know how interesting this summer has been.

 

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

14 responses so far

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