Archive for the 'Peregrines' Category

Jul 13 2016

At the Gulf Tower in July

Published by under Peregrines

Dori at the Gulf Tower, 13 July 2016, 6:38am (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower, Pittsburgh)

Dori at the Gulf Tower, 13 July 2016, 6:38am (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower, Pittsburgh)

Dori watches the city wake up, Downtown Pittsburgh, Wednesday, July 13.

Dori refused to use this nest in March but she likes it in July.  Her nest site on Third Avenue faces south-southwest.  This nest at the Gulf Tower faces north-northeast.

 

(photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

14 responses so far

Jul 08 2016

Peregrine Update, Western PA

Published by under Peregrines

The Downtown peregrine pair, Dori and Louie, bow at sunset, 2 July 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Downtown peregrine pair, Dori and Louie, bow during a glowing red sunset, 2 July 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Peregrine activity begins to wane in July but there’s still news from western Pennsylvania’s nine nest sites.  Some have active families, others do not.

1. Downtown Pittsburgh: 

In early June Dori and Louie fledged four youngsters from the Third Avenue nest but observers have seen only two Downtown since mid-June. At the end of June (while I was in Montana) I heard from Art McMorris that a seriously injured fledgling with infected wounds was found on Grant Street and had to be euthanized.

Happily, Lori Maggio saw two healthy youngsters yesterday, July 7, perched on Point Park University’s Lawrence Hall. Their parents seem to be avoiding them.

Dori at the Gulf Tower, 6 July 2016 (photo by Ann Hohn)

Dori at the Gulf Tower, 6 July 2016 (photo by Ann Hohn)

Dori and Louie have been visiting the Gulf Tower nest on the other side of town since June 24.  In the top photo, they bowed during a gorgeous red sunset.  On July 6, Ann Hohn at Make-A-Wish confirmed their identities. Yes, they are Dori (in Ann’s photo above) and Louie.

 

2. Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh:

Terzo and Hope bow at the nest, 6 July 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Terzo and Hope bow at the nest, 6 July 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

On June 21 the female resident Hope briefly lost the Cathedral of Learning to rival Magnum but regained it within a couple of days (read more here).  Since then Hope visits the nest frequently to bow with Terzo.  Their fledgling C1 is doing well.  Peter Bell saw the whole family yesterday (July 7) when he heard C1 shouting as she chased one of her parents.  I’m sure C1 is learning to hunt but would prefer to mooch from Terzo.

 

3. Westinghouse Bridge:

Female peregrine at Westinghouse Bridge, 23 June 2016 (photo by John English)

Female peregrine at Westinghouse Bridge, 23 June 2016 (photo by John English)

John English and I visited the Westinghouse Bridge on June 23 and found the resident female, an unbanded one-year-old. She “owns” the place but has not nested this year.

 

4. McKees Rocks Bridge:

McKees Rocks Bridge with ALCOSAN in foreground (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

McKees Rocks Bridge with ALCOSAN in foreground (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

The McKees Rocks Bridge is hard to monitor but Joe Fedor got lucky.  Joe works at the nearby ALCOSAN plant where on June 7 he saw a peregrine fly and land unsteadily on a pier of the McKees Rocks Bridge.  On June 9 he saw two peregrines, one of which appeared to be “flying unsteadily as it landed on the ladder on our tall smoke stack.  I have never seen a fledgling fly, so I am wondering if it was a fledgling.”  Art McMorris says, “Yes, it sounds like a fledgling.”   That’s good news for McKees Rocks.

 

5. Neville Island I-79 Bridge:

Magnum at the Neville Island I-79 Bridge, 2 Jul 2016 (photo by Chad Steele)

Magnum flying at the Neville Island I-79 Bridge, 2 Jul 2016 (photo by Chad Steele)

This year the nest at the Neville Island I-79 Bridge was so hard to see that site monitors could not confirm if the pair was still Magnum and Beau.  Two young fledged in early June but one died and the other disappeared within two days.   All was quiet until Magnum appeared at the Cathedral of Learning on June 21 and ousted Hope for a couple of days … and then she disappeared.  One of her fans, Chad Steele of Canton, Ohio, came to Pittsburgh to check on her.  He found her at the bridge on July 2.

Those who know Magnum recognize her purposeful hunched walk along the beams.

Magnum's characteristic walk-along-the-beam at the I-79 Neville Island Bridge, 2 Jul 2016 (photo by Chad Steele)

Magnum’s characteristic walk-along-the-beam at the I-79 Neville Island Bridge, 2 Jul 2016 (photo by Chad Steele)

Chad’s photos of her bands confirmed her identity.  Magnum is back home for now.

 

6. Monaca-E.Rochester Bridge, Beaver County:

Monaca East Rochester Bridge, 2012(photo by PGC WCO Steve Leiendecker)

Monaca East Rochester Bridge, 2012 (photo by PGC WCO Steve Leiendecker)

Several people looked for peregrines in the Beaver-Monaca area this year including long time peregrine watcher Scott Gregg.  Scott says the peregrines chose the Monaca East Rochester Bridge this spring but their nest — if they had one — was unsuccessful.

 

7. Tarentum Bridge:

Peregrine eating prey at Tarentum Bridge, 29 June 2016 (photo by Rob Protz)

Peregrine eating prey at Tarentum Bridge, 29 June 2016 (photo by Rob Protz)

Rob Protz continues to monitor the Tarentum Bridge where he’s seen a pair of peregrines but no evidence of nesting.  He photographed one having a meal on the bridge on June 28, above.  Rob also saw one of the peregrines dragging its talons in the river as if to catch a fish.  Unusual behavior, but not unheard of.

 

8. The Graff Bridge, Route 422 Kittanning, Armstrong County:

Two juvenile peregrines at Graff Bridge, Rt 422, Kittanning, 3 July 2016 (photo by Anthony Bruno)

Two juvenile peregrines at Graff Bridge, Rt 422, Kittanning, 3 July 2016 (photo by Anthony Bruno)

Great news! In their second year at this new nest site, the peregrines have successfully fledged two youngsters.  Tony Bruno visited the Graff Bridge several times last weekend to capture these beautiful photos. The best place to watch is from the bike trail on the Manorville side.

Juvenile peregrine at Graff Bridge, Rt 422, Kittanning, 3 July 2016 (photo by Anthony Bruno)

Juvenile peregrine at Graff Bridge, Rt 422, Kittanning, 3 July 2016 (photo by Anthony Bruno)

 

9. Erie, PA Waterfront:  Mary Birdsong reports that the peregrine pair is still hanging out at the DonJon building but they have not nested. Alas. Better luck next year.

 

(See the captions for photo credits. Webcam photos from the National Aviary falconcams at Gulf Tower and Univ of Pittsburgh. McKees Rocks Bridge photo from Wikimedia Commons. Remaining photos by Ann Hohn, John English, Rob Protz, Chad Steele and Anthony Bruno.)

 

14 responses so far

Jul 05 2016

Hope’s in Charge For Now

Hope and Terzo band colors showing, 4 July 2016(photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

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)

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)

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)

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Jun 25 2016

Who’s In Charge Here?

Published by under Peregrines

image

Hope (black/green bands) at the nest, 24 June 2016

Yesterday there were new developments in the peregrine saga at the Cathedral of Learning.

I thought that the new female, Magnum, had claimed the site this week but…

Megan Briody is keeping a close watch on the falconcam and reports that Hope came back to the nest on Friday June 24 around 6:30pm. The snapshot above shows Hope’s black/green bands as she’s leaving. (Both Magnum and Terzo have black/red bands.)

Observers on the ground saw three peregrines flying near the Cathedral of Learning but could not tell if all three were adults — Terzo, Hope and Magnum — or if one was C1.

Meanwhile, C1 is doing just fine. She’s spending lots of time at St. Paul’s Cathedral, a few blocks away from the nest, where she’s taking her many meals. Terzo is making sure she’s well fed.

Apparently site ownership is still up for grabs between Hope and Magnum. It’s hard to tell who’s in charge here.

 

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

69 responses so far

Jun 23 2016

Magnum Claims The Cathedral

Published by under Peregrines

Now that the Pitt peregrine nest is empty, most of us aren’t watching the falconcam so I was surprised when Megan Briody posted this comment on my blog yesterday:

Kate, did you see that Terzo has a new “visitor” at the nest?  I saw her on the camera today (6/22) at 3:58 PM.  At first, I thought it was Terzo because she also has a black/red band, but the band numbers didn’t seem familiar so I checked the video archives later.  The bands are black/red, 62/H on her left leg and purple on her right leg.  Your peregrine history pdf says that this is Magnum from the Neville Island Bridge!  Later at 4:40 PM, Terzo was in the nest, he called her in, and they bowed and chirped at each other.   I went back farther in the archives, and she was on camera last night (6/21) at 18:58.  If you have any thoughts on this development, we’d love to hear them!  It seems strange that Terzo would be courting a new female so soon after C1 fledged, but after this year, I guess we should expect the unexpected!

Wow!  Good job, Megan!

Here’s a closeup of Magnum’s bands.:  Right leg = black/red 62/H.  Left leg has a purple band .

Magnum at the Cathedral of Learning (snapshot from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Magnum’s bands seen at the Cathedral of Learning, 22 June 2016 (snapshot from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Indeed Magnum, hatched in Canton, Ohio in 2010, raised up to four nestlings per year at the Neville Island I-79 Bridge since 2013.  This spring site monitors reported two fledglings at the bridge but weren’t able to confirm the pair’s identity because the nest was moved out of sight.

We don’t know if Magnum nested, but we do know that Hope was challenged by two females: On April 8 by an immature unbanded female, and on April 23 by a banded adult female with black/red on her left leg and a purple band on her right leg.  Perhaps that adult was Magnum, waiting her chance take the Cathedral.

Was there a fight?  Not that we know of.  Many watchers are scanning the sky for a glimpse of C1 and none of them reported a fight.

Meanwhile Peter Bell’s @PittPeregrines video (above) indicates that Terzo and Magnum are already establishing their pair bond so that means Hope is gone.

Why did this happen now?  A prime nest site like the Cathedral of Learning can change hands at any time.

Fortunately Hope was able to keep the site while C1 was still in the nest and still primarily her responsibility.  At this point in C1’s life, her welfare is Terzo’s job.

So the peregrine drama continues.

Thank you, Megan Briody, for letting us know it happened!

 

(video by Peter Bell (@PittPeregrines) from the archives of the National Aviary falconcam at University of PPittsburgh)

67 responses so far

Jun 17 2016

This Week In Flight

Published by under Peregrines

This week Peter Bell (@PittPeregrines) followed peregrine fledgling C1 around the Cathedral of Learning as she practiced her flying skills.

Monday evening, June 13: Peter waited for C1 to fledge but left the area just 10 minutes too soon (video above).

Tuesday, June 14:  C1 spent the day whining for attention and shouting for food.  (Notice that the incoming adult is already molting.)

C1 shouts as her parent arrives with prey, 14 June 2016 (photo by Peter Bell)

C1 shouts as her parent arrives with prey, 14 June 2016 (photo by Peter Bell)

 

Wednesday June 15:  A rare photo.  C1 in flight!

C1 flies around the corner of the Cathedral of Learning, 15 June 2016 (photo by Peter Bell)

C1 flies around the corner of the Cathedral of Learning, 15 June 2016 (photo by Peter Bell)

 

Thursday June 16:  Many thunderstorms and heavy downpours. C1 stayed put long enough for Peter to photograph her from above. She’s not as close as she looks. Peter’s camera can really zoom. 🙂

C1 shouts and opens her wings to attract her parents' attention at the Cathedral of Learning, 16 June 2016 (photo by Peter Bell)

C1 shouts and opens her wings to attract her parents’ attention at the Cathedral of Learning, 16 June 2016 (photo by Peter Bell)

 

A moment of repose: Peregrine fledgling C1, 16 June 2016 (photo by Peter Bell)

A moment of repose: Peregrine fledgling C1, 16 June 2016 (photo by Peter Bell)

 

Peregrine fledgling C1 at the Cathedral of Learning, 16 June 2016 (photo by Peter Bell)

C1 at the Cathedral of Learning, 16 June 2016 (photo by Peter Bell)

 

This weekend C1 will fly to other buildings as she expands her flight skills. Soon she’ll be hard to find … and that’s as it should be.

 

(video and photos by Peter Bell, @PittPeregrines)

27 responses so far

Jun 16 2016

Life Skills for Young Peregrines

Prey exchange between an adult peregrine and his fledgling (photo by Kim Steininger)

Prey exchange between an adult peregrine and his fledgling (photo by Kim Steininger)

On Throw Back Thursday (TBT):

Just three days after fledging, young peregrines fly so well that we lose track of them as we watch from the ground.  They’re already learning the aerial skills they’ll use for the rest of their lives.

Read more about their education in this Throw Back Thursday article: Life Skills.

 

(photo by Kim Steininger)

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Jun 14 2016

It Worked!

Published by under Peregrines

She fledged! Pitt peregrine fledgling, C1, on the west face of the Cathedral of Learning, 25 floors up, 14 June 2016 (photo by Peter Bell)

She fledged! Pitt peregrine fledgling, C1, on the west face of the Cathedral of Learning, 25 floors up, 14 June 2016 (photo by Peter Bell)

For every other big event in the Pitt peregrines’ lives this spring, I’ve been out hiking without cell coverage so it was fitting that I was in the Laurel Highlands this morning without cell coverage when Fledge Watchers confirmed that C1 had fledged.

As it turns out, C1 probably flew last night around 7:30pm.  When Lori Maggio was leaving The Porch restaurant last night she heard a peregrine screeching, looked up, and saw a brown bird flying toward Phipps.  She didn’t know what was going on so she emailed me:

“An adult peregrine came flying toward the bird and seemed to go after it, bumping into it. The original bird circled back around and headed toward the Cathedral. It tried to land on one of the windows about 1/2 way up, pushed off the window and circled around the right side of the cathedral [out of sight].  The adult peregrine flew back and forth in front of the cathedral for about 45 seconds and then landed on the railing above the nest.”

Apparently Hope told C1 to turn back and land on the Cathedral of Learning … which she did safely on the other side.  I’m sure the fledgling had a snack and slept all night after that excitement.

Closeup of C1 on west face of Cathedral of Learning (photo by Peter Bell)

Closeup of C1 on west face of Cathedral of Learning (photo by Peter Bell)

This morning at Fledge Watch Peter Bell saw Hope but not C1.  When you can’t find a fledgling, find both parents and they’ll give you the clue so Peter found Terzo on the north side of the building.

By midday C1 was up and at ’em on the west face, shouting for food and flying to different ledges.  In the photos above she’s in a very safe location 250 feet up.  She’s exploring her new world.

Congratulations, C1!  I knew you’d do it if I went out of cell range.  😉

 

(photos by Peter Bell (@PittPeregrines))

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Jun 14 2016

Pitt Fledge Watch is Tapering Off

Published by under Peregrines

Cathedral of Learning peregrine chick snoozes on the upper perch of the nest box, 13 June 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Cathedral of Learning peregrine chick snoozes on the upper perch of the nest box, 13 June 2016 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

The peregrine chick at the Cathedral of Learning has still not fledged as of yesterday evening.  She prefers to sleep during the hottest part of the day so we sit and wait for nothing at midday Fledge Watch.  Notice her in the yellow circle above, sleeping on the roof of the nestbox.

I suspect this is a difference in parenting styles.  Dori and Louie (Downtown) fed their young a little less as they approached fledge date so the “kids” associated fledging with food.  C1’s parents feed her so well that she has little incentive to leave.  Some of you said she’s a spoiled only child.  Perhaps so.  She’ll fly some day but I can’t predict when.

The official Pitt Peregrine Fledge Watch is changing and tapering off.  Today, June 14, John English (Pittsburgh Falconuts) will be at Schenley Plaza from 11:00am to 1:00pm.  Peter Bell (@PittPeregrines) will visit when the chick is off camera (i.e. ledge walking or flying). I’ll stop by today from 4:30pm to 5:30pm.

You’re welcome to visit the watch at any time to see the peregrines on your own.

 

p.s. No need to worry that C1 will land on the ground in her first 24 hours of flight.  She has 400 feet of headroom and many comfortable landing sites on the Cathedral of Learning at 380, 320, 250 and 150 feet.  (The Downtown chicks started only 120 feet up with landing zones at 60, 20 and 10 feet high. No wonder they reached the ground!)

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

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Jun 13 2016

Will She Fly Today?

Published by under Peregrines

Pitt peregrine youngster, C1, inspects the snapshot camera (photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Pitt peregrine youngster, C1, inspects the snapshot camera, 10 June 2016 (photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Sunday’s Fledge Watch was very boring at the Cathedral of Learning . The weather was beautiful but the winds were gusty and the peregrine chick, C1, spent the entire time sleeping at the nest.  As far as I know, she didn’t fledge yesterday.

Will she fly today?  I hope so.

Come to the tent at Schenley Plaza today (June 13) and see what the peregrines are up to.  I’ll be there from noon to 2:00pm.  Check the Events page for additional schedule information.

 

(photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh)

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