Archive for the 'Peregrines' Category

Jun 04 2016

June 4: Downtown Today at 11

Published by under Peregrines

Adult peregrine falcon near Third Ave nest, Downtown Pittsburgh, 3 June 2016 (photo by John English)

Adult peregrine falcon near Third Ave nest, Downtown Pittsburgh, 3 June 2016 (photo by John English)

It was great to see everyone yesterday at Downtown Peregrine Fledge Watch.

I’ll be on Third Avenue today from 11:00am to noon … unless it storms.

 

(photo by John English)

2 responses so far

Jun 03 2016

Lunchtime Today, June 3

Published by under Peregrines

Four chicks at the Third Avenue peregine nest, 2 June 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Four chicks at the Third Avenue peregine nest, 2 June 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

I’ll be Downtown today, Friday June 3, from 12:15pm to 1:00pm at the Third Avenue peregrine watch site.

I hope to see all four youngsters at the nest as Lori Maggio did yesterday.

Maybe I’ll see you there, too.

(photo by Lori Maggio)

4 responses so far

Jun 02 2016

Rewarding Views of the Third Avenue Peregrines

Published by under Peregrines

Two peregrine chicks at Third Avenue nest, 1 June 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Two peregrine chicks at Third Avenue nest, 1 June 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

All Peregrines All The Time …   😉

Yesterday was a good day for peregrine watching in Downtown Pittsburgh as you can see from Lori Maggio’s photos.

Two of the four peregrine chicks were often perched at the Third Avenue ledge.  When I stopped by for half an hour at 10:30am I saw 5 out of the 6 family members — three chicks and both parents.

Two peregrine chicks at Third Avenue nest, 1 June 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Two peregrine chicks at Third Avenue nest, 1 June 2016 (photo by Lori Maggio)

In the photo above, the bird on the right is whining (or “screeching”) for attention.  If you listen carefully you can hear these youngsters above the roar of nearby construction.

On Friday and Saturday I’ll be Downtown at the Third Avenue watch site (see map here) at the times listed below.  Stop by to chat or for information on what to do in case of a rescue.

  • Friday June 3, 12:15pm to 1:00pm
  • Saturday June 4, 11:00am to 11:45am

Keep the PA Game Commission “rescue” number handy: 724-238-9523

 

(photos by Lori Maggio)

17 responses so far

Jun 01 2016

Visit Third Avenue: Peregrine Fledge Watch

Peregrine chick at the Third Avenue nest, 31 May 2016 (photo by Peter Bell)

Peregrine chick at the Third Avenue nest, 31 May 2016 (photo by Peter Bell)

Thanks to everyone who stopped by Third Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh to check on the peregrine nest site.  Keep up the good work.  We’ve learned there are four chicks in the nest and at least two will fly this week.

Downtown Fledge Watch has begun!

Yesterday afternoon John English and Peter Bell captured photos of the first chick whining at the nest opening and exercising his wings.

Wing exercise -- a peregrine chick flaps at the Third Avenue nest (photo by Peter Bell)

Wing exercise — a peregrine chick flaps at the Third Avenue nest (photo by Peter Bell)

This morning Doug Cunzolo and Lori Maggio saw two youngsters perched there.

Because this nest is only 12 stories high, these birds will need our help.

In the first 24 hours of flight, young peregrines lack the wing strength to take off from the ground.  If they land on the street they just stand there and may be hit by vehicles.  If you see a peregrine on the ground call the PA Game Commission (PGC) at 724-238-9523.  If you can safely do so, carefully corral and guard the bird until PGC arrives.

Rather than a formal schedule, just stop by Third Avenue whenever you can (see map). This photo by John English shows you where to look once you get there (yellow arrow). The red arrow shows an adult on a small windowsill above the nest.

Peregrine nest site at Third Avenue. Adult in small window above the nest (photo by John English)

Peregrine nest site at Third Avenue (yellow arrow). Adult in small window above the nest (red arrow). [photo by John English]

On your way to Third Avenue keep this number handy: 724-238-9523.  The youngsters may land a few blocks away and you might get a very close look at a peregrine!

After the first chick flies, the process lasts about a week … so keep coming back.

Thanks to Point Park University for providing this year’s “rescue porch” on a balcony of Lawrence Hall.   Special thanks to Amanda McGuire, Maria and Caleb for the rescue porch arrangements.

 

(photos by Peter Bell and John English)

4 responses so far

May 31 2016

Peregrine Watchers Needed Downtown!

Published by under Peregrines

Peregrine chick at entrance to the nest, Downtown Pittsburgh, May 2012 (photo by Kate St. John)

Peregrine chick at entrance to the nest, Downtown Pittsburgh, May 2012 (photo by Kate St. John)

Can you spare five minutes to look at the back of a building in Downtown Pittsburgh?

This year’s peregrine nest is 12 stories high so it’s likely that a few of the chicks will land on the street on their first flight just as they did last year.  I’d like to schedule a Fledge Watch but I don’t know the age and number of chicks because no one’s ever seen them. That’s where you come in.

A couple of days before young peregrines fly they appear at the nest opening, as shown with a red arrow above.

It only takes five minutes to stop by the Third Avenue sidewalk at the edge of the Carlyle parking lot and look up at the nest opening.  Is there a juvenile there?  If so, leave a comment on this blog.  And take a picture.

 

Look for brown-and-cream-colored birds at the opening like those in this closeup from last year’s nest.  (The one on the left is old enough to fly immediately.)

Two remaining peregrine nestlins at Downtown Pittsburgh nest, 11 June 2015 (photo by Matt Digiacomo)

Two of 2015’s Downtown peregrine chicks, 11 June 2015 (photo by Matt Digiacomo)

If they’ve already flown, check the area nearby. They might need your help.

In the first 24 hours of flight, young peregrines lack the wing strength to take off from the ground.  If they land on the street they just stand there and may be hit by vehicles.  If you see a peregrine on the ground call the PA Game Commission (PGC) at 724-238-9523.  If you can safely do so, carefully corral and guard the bird until PGC arrives.

There’s no need to linger.  All it takes is five minutes.

 

(photo of 3rd Avenue site by Kate St. John. photo of peregrine chicks by Matt Digiacomo)

p.s. Here’s what the Downtown peregrine parents look like.

8 responses so far

May 31 2016

Meet Me At The Tent, June 9-14

Schenley Plaza tent (photo by Kate St. John)

Schenley Plaza tent (photo by Kate St. John)

Next week the Cathedral of Learning peregrine chick, C1, will fly for the first time.  Meet me at the Schenley Plaza tent June 9 – 12 for the Pitt Peregrine Fledge Watch.

This Watch is 98% fun and only 2% rescue.  The nest site is so high that only one fledgling out of 43 has ever been rescued from the ground.(*)

Stop by the tent and join the fun.  Watch C1 walk on the ledges and exercise her wings.  See her parents, Hope and Terzo, show off with some really cool flight demonstrations.   Learn about peregrines and swap stories including news of Pitt peregrine alumni and the Downtown peregrines.

Here’s the schedule, weather permitting.   The Watch will be cancelled for bad weather, so check my Events page for updates.  NOTE THE CHANGES MADE BELOW!

  • Tuesday, June 7, Noon to 2:00pm. Tuesday CANCELLED. I’ll be at Downtown Fledge Watch because those youngsters are fledging now and need observers in case of rescue.
  • Wednesday, June 8, Noon to 2:00pm. Wednesday CANCELLED. Again, I’ll be at Downtown Fledge Watch because those youngsters need observers in case of rescue.
  • Thursday, June 9, 8:30 to 9:30am + Noon to 2:00pm. Only a midday watch today.  Will C1 be ledge walking today? If so she’ll be easy to see from Schenley Plaza.
  • Friday, June 10, 8:30 to 9:30am + Noon to 2:00pm. Only a midday watch today.
  • Saturday, June 11, 9:00 to 11:00am + Noon to 3:00pm.  I’ll be covering the morning Watch.  John English will cover noon to 3:00pm.
  • Sunday, June 12, 11:00am to 1:00pm.  Perhaps C1 will fledge today … or tomorrow.
  • Monday, June 13, noon to 2:00pm.  Check the Events page for updates to this schedule.

Plan on joining me at the Schenley Plaza tent for Pitt Peregrine Fledge Watch.

For more information, here’s a video from 2009 Fledge Watch and a Peregrine FAQ that describes what you’ll see on camera as the young peregrine leaves the nest.

 

(photo of the Schenley Plaza tent by Kate St. John)

(*) The one rescued fledgling was developmentally disabled and had defective wings (2015)C1 is very healthy.

6 responses so far

May 28 2016

Roll Out The Green Carpet

Published by under Peregrines

C1 flaps her wings near the green carpet that's detached from the front perch (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

C1 flaps her wings near the green carpet that detached from the front perch (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Last night viewers noticed a new feature on the nestbox gravel that they’d never seen before.  It’s a patch of fake grass carpet that used to be glued to the front perch.

At 9:49pm the carpet began to roll off the perch while Hope was standing on it.

The fake grass carpet starts to roll off the perch (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

The fake grass carpet starts to roll off the perch (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

She pulled it away.  (Good job!)

Hope moves the green carpet out of the way (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope moves the green carpet out of the way (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

The green carpet has been on that perch for nine years.  It was only a matter of time before the backing crumbled from sunlight (UV) exposure.  Yesterday it loosened up when Dan Brauning had to stand on the nestbox to convince Hope to stop attacking the back of his head.  That was just enough to make the glue spots fail.

Peregrine chick C1 cowers in the back of the nestbox while Dan Brauning stands on the green perch to fend off her mother's attacks (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Peregrine chick C1 cowers in the back of the nestbox while Dan Brauning stands on the green perch to fend off her mother’s attacks (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

So now there’s a patch of green carpet and a reddish circle floating around in the nestbox. You can see the backing still stuck to spots on the railing.

This fall when the nesting season is over we’ll remove the fallen carpet and that annoying red circle (people mistake it for an egg) and install new green carpet on the perch to make a soft place to stand.

How long will C1 have to live with that carpet?  I predict she’ll be out of the nest permanently by June 11.

 

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

12 responses so far

May 27 2016

She’s a Healthy Girl!

A closeup of female peregrine chick C1 from the Cathedral of Learning nest (photo by Peter Bell)

A closeup of female peregrine chick C1 from the Cathedral of Learning nest 2016 (photo by Peter Bell)

It’s taken me a while to publish this because I couldn’t take any photos at the Cathedral of Learning peregrine banding this morning. Thanks to Peter Bell, Kim Getz and John English for lending theirs.

At today’s banding we learned, first and foremost, that C1 is a healthy female and Hope and Terzo are devoted parents.

Even before the PA Game Commission‘s Dan Brauning retrieved the chick, Hope guarded her baby and didn’t give up until C1 was indoors. Then she stayed at the nest kakking while Terzo provided backup support.

Kim’s (silent) video below shows the perspective from the ground about halfway through: Terzo flying back and forth, Hope leaving the nest to attack the humans when C1 was returned, then perched on the bulwark after they’re gone.

 

Here’s why I didn’t take any pictures: Dan Brauning asked me to hold C1 while he applied the bands.  (You can see I was concentrating very hard!)

Dan Brauning explains the banding procedure while Kate St. John holds the chick, C1 (photo by John English)

Dan Brauning explains the banding procedure while Kate St. John holds peregrine chick, C1 (photo by John English)

Dan weighed C1 (900 grams), checked for trichomoniasis (none!) and feather pests (almost none).  He dusted under her wings with anti-parasite powder and applied her bands.  Here she is with her new jewelry.

Peregrine chick, C1, with her new color bands, Black/green, 06/BR (photo by Peter Bell)

Peregrine chick, C1, with her new bands, Black/green, 06/BR (photo by Peter Bell)

Then Dan braved Hope’s wrath to return C1 to the nest.

Hope attacks the banders on Banding Day at the Cathedral of Learning, 2016 (photo by Peter Bell)

Female peregrine, Hope, attacks the banders on Banding Day 2016, Cathedral of Learning (photo by Peter Bell)

Female peregrine falcon, Hope shouts at the banders! Banding Day 2016, Cathedral of Learning (photo by Peter Bell)

Hope shouts at the banders, Banding Day 2016, Cathedral of Learning (photo by Peter Bell)

What a privilege to hold the chick and see her parents protecting her!

 

It’s a shame this will be the only peregrine banding in western Pennsylvania this year. Here’s why:

 

Why weren’t more peregrines banded in Penna. this year?

 

Peregrines are endangered in Pennsylvania so the PA Game Commission (PGC) normally visits every known nest site and attempts to band the chicks — that’s 9 locations in western Pennsylvania.  But this year severe budget cuts and layoffs forced PGC to band at only one site in the western half of the state — the Cathedral of Learning.

Why does PGC have a budget crisis?  They don’t rely on state tax dollars. They’re self-supporting through hunting license fees, timber sales, mineral extraction, and a federal excise tax on ammunition. But state law forbids them to raise the license fees that comprise 40% of their revenue. There hasn’t been an increase since the 1990’s.

If you live in Pennsylvania, you can help.

The Pennsylvania State House and Senate must pass a law — SB 1166 — to allow the Game Commission to raise the license fees.  Contact your State Senator and State Representative (find them here) and urge them to support “SB 1166.”

Click here for a letter about the budget crisis and information on what you can do.

 

(photos by Kate St. John)

39 responses so far

May 27 2016

Today Is Banding Day

C1 pants in the heat as Hope perches in the sun (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

C1 pants in the heat as Hope perches in the sun (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

The peregrine family at the Cathedral of Learning is in for some excitement today. Hope and Terzo’s chick, C1, will be banded this morning.

Just after 10:00am Dan Brauning of the Pennsylvania Game Commission will venture out on the Cathedral of Learning ledge.  Don’t be shocked when you hear the peregrines “kakking” and the chick disappears for a while.  The falconcams will continue to run while the chick is absent.

C1 will receive a health check and some new “jewelry” and will be returned to the nest very quickly.  A side benefit is that we’ll learn whether he’s a “she” or a “he.”

Watch my blog for photos of the event later today.

 

p.s. It’s exceptionally warm here in Pittsburgh this week.  As shown in the photo above, you’ll see C1 panting and holding his wings open to stay cool.

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

Note: I don’t announce the banding in advance because the event is not open to the public. The room is too small to allow for uninvited guests.

 

21 responses so far

May 24 2016

Growing Feathers

Peregrine chick C1 with father Terzo, 19 days since hatch, 18 May 2016 (photo from the National Aviary faloncam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Peregrine chick C1 with father Terzo, 19 days since hatch, 18 May 2016 (photo from the National Aviary faloncam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

After a big growth spurt the peregrine falcon chick at the Cathedral of Learning is now developing feathers. Here’s a five-day time lapse comparison.

In the first photo on 18 May 2016 above, C1 has grown facial feathers that now define his face.  He stands like a small white Buddha while he waits for his father to feed him — 19 days after hatching.

Below on 23 May 2016, you can see pin feathers emerging at C1’s wing tips and and tail — 24 days after hatching.

Mother peregrine, Hope, feeds chick, C1, 23 May 2016, 24 days after hatching (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

C1 with mother Hope 23 May 2016, 24 days after hatching (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

 

C1 is very demanding.  Terzo got an earful yesterday.

C1 shouts at his father Terzo (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

C1 shouts at his father Terzo (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

 

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

8 responses so far

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