Archive for the 'Peregrines' Category

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 05 2016

It Appears That C3 Has Died

Published by under Peregrines

C3 appears to be dead as Hope feeds C1, 5 May 2016, 9:48am (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ)

C3 appears to be dead as Hope feeds C1, 5 May 2016, 9:48am (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ)

More bad news.

Viewers watching the falconcams this morning began to wonder if C3 was dead because he’d been unresponsive for many, many hours.

By 9:48am when Hope brought in food, it appears that C3 has been dead for a while.

Hope continues to shelter the dead chick along with C1.

In some peregrine couples, the mother shelters the dead chick until the father takes the body away. I am not sure what this couple will do.

 

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

p.s. Some of you have said this confirms your worry that C3 was not being fed enough.  Those of us who have watched peregrines for many years went back thorough the footage and confirmed that C3 was fed as much as C1 (i.e. his parents offered him food) but he would not eat as much.  He exhibited something we call “failure to thrive.”

84 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 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 23 2016

Why I’m Addicted to Nestcams …

The last nestling at Pitt in 2009, just before she fledged, 4 June 2009 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

The last nestling at Pitt on June 4, 2009, just before she fledged (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

In case you missed it yesterday …

This week on The Allegheny Front radio show I talked about my addiction to nestcams and why you like them, too.  Hear the broadcast, see some photos of Dorothy, and read the text at this link:

Why I’m Addicted to Bird Nestcams (And You Should Be Too)

 

 

(photo of a nestling perched near the nestcam, June 2009, from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

3 responses so far

Apr 22 2016

Names For Nestlings

Nestlings in 2009 (photo from National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

12-day-old peregrine nestlings, May 2009 (photo from National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Perhaps we shouldn’t count our peregrines before they hatch but the chicks at the Hays bald eagle nest and Cornell’s red-tailed hawk nest made me think about nestling names.

When we see birds on camera we want them to have names.

Bald eagle chicks are named with the nest letter + a number that keeps increasing year after year.  At the Hays nest the names are H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6, etc.

At Cornell’s red-tailed hawk nest, Big Red and Ezra’s chicks are named with a letter that changes every year + a number.  The nest is now up to the letter G so the first two chicks were named G1 and G2 and together they’re called “the G’s.”

In the past we didn’t name peregrine nestlings until Banding Day but that led to misunderstandings and confusion so here’s the plan — similar to the bald eagle protocol.

The Cathedral of Learning nestlings will named with a nest letter that doesn’t change (C for Cathedral of Learning) + a number.  If we’d started this in 2009 the four nestlings above would be C1, C2, C3, C4.

Good luck figuring out who’s who!  Peregrine eggs all hatch within 24+ hours so the nestlings are the same size for a long time.  This only changes when the females become noticeably larger that the males. Males are 1/3 smaller.

15-day-old peregrine nestlings, May 2009 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

15-day-old peregrine nestlings, May 2009 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

 

When will the eggs hatch at Pitt?  I believe that real incubation did not begin until April 3 or 4.  Wild peregrines hatch their eggs in about 33 days.  (Incubator-raised eggs hatch sooner because of constant temperature without interruptions.)   So my prediction for Hatch Day at Pitt is approximately May 6.  …But I might be wrong…

Why isn’t the hatch date sooner?  After E2 died, Hope spent a long time away from the nest searching for a mate.  If she had heated the first three eggs to incubation temperature and then left them, her long absence would cause those embryos to fail.  At this point I believe she merely protected the three eggs until all four began incubation in early April.

 

(photos from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh, May 2009)

5 responses so far

Apr 14 2016

This Saturday and Sunday at the National Aviary

Kate St. John (photo by Thom Moeller)

This Saturday and Sunday, as part of Sky Kings Weekend, I’ll be presenting Celebrate Pittsburgh’s Peregrines! at the National Aviary.

Come on down for the 12:30pm show on Saturday April 16 or Sunday April 17.

Click here for more information on my Events page.

 

(photo by Tom Moeller)

9 responses so far

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