Feb 03 2016
Looking back, 2015 was an emotional roller coaster for Cathedral of Learning peregrine fans. It began at a low ebb with Dorothy showing her age and ended with Hope for the future.
- In March we began to doubt that Dorothy would lay viable eggs because of her age.
- April 2-9 Dorothy beat the odds and laid four.
- Only one egg hatched but it generated lots of viewer excitement on May 10.
- The chick had health issues which became obvious on Memorial Day weekend. When he fell on his back in the early days(*), Dorothy flipped him immediately but on May 24 she decided not to. He remained on his back, struggling and complaining. This generated a viewer firestorm until Dorothy flipped him upright. Within a day he never fell over again.
- On Banding Day, May 29, the chick received a complete health check. We learned he had delayed development, blood-sucking parasites and anemia. Treated for parasites and returned to the nest, his fans had high hopes.
- On his first flight June 21 he landed on the Cathedral of Learning lawn. Quite unusual!
- On his second flight June 24 he landed on the ground again and was taken to rehab where medical exams revealed he had defective wing feathers, neurological deficits and other health issues.
- Despite expert medical attention his birth defects were too much for him. He died on July 20.
- Dorothy continued to show her age and disappeared in early November. (See her video tribute here.)
- On November 30, a female peregrine named Hope arrived at Pitt. Since then Hope and E2 often court at the nest. We have hope for a good nesting season in 2016.
To see a slideshow of Pitt peregrine highlights in 2015, click here or on the photo above.
(photo from May 24, 2015 at the National Aviary falconcam, University of Pittsburgh)
*NOTE: A healthy chick normally doesn’t fall on his back and if he does he’s able to right himself quickly. In reviewing the snapshots for this slideshow I discovered that Dorothy had been flipping the chick for weeks. She was so quick we hadn’t noticed.