Archive for the 'Peregrines' Category

Apr 20 2017

Meanwhile, A Caution Across Town

Dori with her first chick at the Gulf Tower, 19 April 2017, 3:27pm (snapshot from the National Aviary falconcam)

Dori with her first chick at the Gulf Tower, 19 April 2017, 3:27pm (snapshot from the National Aviary falconcam)

Since yesterday we've been having a joyous time as we watch five peregrine eggs hatch at the Gulf Tower (shown above).  Dori and Louie are excellent parents who've raised 27 young in Downtown Pittsburgh. We're looking forward to a happy healthy season at this nest.

Meanwhile across town, the Cathedral of Learning peregrine eggs are due to hatch soon ... but you might not want to watch.

4 eggs at the Cathedral of Learning, 19 April 2017 (snapshot from the National Aviary falconcam)

4 eggs at the Cathedral of Learning, 19 April 2017 (snapshot from the National Aviary falconcam)

Hope and Terzo's eggs are due to hatch this Sunday April 23 (give or take a day or two) but Hope shocked us last year by killing and eating two of her four chicks as they hatched.  This type of behavior is very rare and upsets nearly everyone who sees it.

We don't know if Hope will repeat the behavior this year but my word to the wise is this:

Caution!  Don't watch the eggs hatch at the Cathedral of Learning if it upsets you to see a mother kill her young.  Again, we don't know if Hope will do this, but she might.

 

 


p.s.  Yesterday some of you were confused between the Gulf Tower and Cathedral of Learning nests.  Here's an easy way to tell the difference.

The Gulf Tower camera view always has a window ledge on the right side of the image (see yellow area).

Comparison camera view at Gulf. Notice the window ledge on the right.

Comparison camera view at Gulf. Notice the window ledge on the right.

 

The Cathedral of Learning camera view always has a green perch at the bottom right.

Cathedral of Learning nest view. Notice the green perch at the bottom right corner.

Cathedral of Learning nest view. Notice the green perch at the bottom right corner.

 

(snapshots for the National Aviary falconcams at Gulf Tower and University of Pittsburgh)

14 responses so far

Apr 19 2017

We Have a Pip at the Gulf Tower

Dori at the Gulf Tower peregrine nest showing an egg with a pip (photo from the National Aviary falconcam)

Dori at the Gulf Tower peregrine nest showing an egg with a pip (photo from the National Aviary falconcam)

At 7:17am this morning, 19 April 2017, Dori turned the eggs at the Gulf Tower peregrine nest and revealed a pip in one of them.

Watch for Dori and Louie's eggs to hatch in the next 24 to 48 hours at the National Aviary falconcam at the Gulf Tower.

 

(snapshot from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

p.s. Don't confuse this mother peregrine at the Gulf Tower with Hope at the Cathedral of Learning nest.  Dori is an excellent mother and has never killed her young. Hope, the female peregrine at Pitt, killed and ate two of her chicks last year.

p.p.s. First hatch at 9:08a (approximately).

32 responses so far

Apr 13 2017

Hatch Watch At The Gulf Tower

Dori and five chicks, 23 April 2014 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Dori and five chicks, 23 April 2014 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

The National Aviary has zoomed the Gulf Tower falconcam because this weekend -- or early next week -- the peregrine eggs at the Gulf Tower will start to hatch.  It's time for Hatch Watch!

Peregrine falcons delay the start of incubation until the female has laid her next-to-last egg, then incubation lasts about 32 days plus or minus a day or two.  In this way, nearly all the eggs hatch within 24 hours.  (The last egg hatches a day or two later.)  The trick for us humans is figuring out when incubation actually begins.

This year we thought Dori finished laying eggs on March 15, when she had four, but she surprised us with a fifth egg before dawn on March 17.  Her next-to-last egg was on March 15 so my guess is that incubation began around March 16.  That means Day 32 is on April 17.

Here's another way to calculate it.  When Dori laid five eggs in 2014, the number of days from first egg to hatch was 41 days.  This year her first egg was on March 8.  41 days later is April 18.

But I don't really know.

If you're a member of the Pittsburgh Falconuts Facebook page you've seen that John English predicted Hatch Date as April 15 or 16 plus or minus two days.  My guess is April 17 or 18.   Maybe you have a guess, too.  Only Dori and Louie know for sure.

Watch the National Aviary falconcam at the Gulf Tower for pips in the eggs.  Here's more information on what to look for:

http://www.birdsoutsidemywindow.org/peregrine-faqs/question-hatching/

 

(snapshot from the National Aviary falconcam in 2014 at the Gulf Tower)

4 responses so far

Apr 05 2017

Sharing Our Love of Peregrines

Published by under Peregrines

North America isn't the only place where peregrines nest in cities.  This 2008 video from the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust in England shows the thrill we all share at having peregrine falcons nest near us.

The Derby video says "Hatching Soon" and yes our peregrine eggs will hatch soon in Pittsburgh ... approximately April 16 at the Gulf Tower, April 22 at Pitt's Cathedral of Learning.

 

Click here for a Google map showing the location of Derby Cathedral.

(video from the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust)

7 responses so far

Mar 31 2017

Peregrine News, Western PA

Louie and Dori at the Gulf Tower nest, 28 March 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam)

Louie and Dori at the Gulf Tower nest, 28 March 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam)

It's peregrine falcon nesting season in western Pennsylvania.  Here's the latest news from our nine nesting locations.

 

1. Downtown Pittsburgh: This year at the Gulf Tower

Dori arranges 5 eggs at the Gulf Tower, 28 Mar 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam)

Dori arranges 5 eggs at the Gulf Tower, 28 Mar 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam)

This year we're pleased that Dori and Louie are nesting at the Gulf Tower after two years at other Downtown sites.  Dori laid her first egg on March 8, her last on March 17.  With such a full nest it took us three days to notice she had five eggs.  Our best guess for Hatch Date is approximately 4/16/2017. Watch the Gulf Tower nest online on the National Aviary's falconcam.

 

2. Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh

Terzo and 4 eggs at the Cathedral of Learning nest, 28 March 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Terzo and 4 eggs at the Cathedral of Learning nest, 28 March 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope and Terzo are incubating four eggs at the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning.  Hope laid her first egg on March 15 and her last egg on March 24 after an unusual four day pause.  (Eggs are usually laid 2 days apart.)  It's hard to calculate Hatch Date under these circumstances but our best guess is 4/22/2017.  Watch this nest online at the National Aviary's Cathedral of Learning falconcam.

 

3. Westinghouse Bridge, Allegheny County

Peregrine at Westinghouse Bridge, 21 Mar 2017 (photo by Doug Cunzolo)

Peregrine at Westinghouse Bridge, 21 Mar 2017 (photo by Doug Cunzolo)

Peregrines didn't nest at the Westinghouse Bridge last year but at least one remained on territory.  On March 21 John English and Doug Cunzolo found this one, identified as George (Cobb Island, 2006). Neighbors on Elder Street say peregrines have been loud in recent weeks and favoring the area they used in 2014.

This site needs more monitors so please visit and report what you see.  Click here for a map of 3 viewing locations. The best one is Elder Street (yellow X).  Note: The railroad forbids access under the bridge.

 

4. McKees Rocks Bridge, Allegheny County

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

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

This bridge is so long and high that it's very hard to monitor. Nonetheless a pair of peregrines has been seen twice in courtship flight:  by Leslie Ferree on February 25, and by John Flannigan on March 16.  Keep an eye out for peregrines if you're in the vicinity.

 

5. Neville Island I-79 Bridge, Allegheny County

Neville Island I-79 Bridge (photo by Robert Stovers on Wikimedia Commons)

The peregrines at this bridge were identified two years ago as Magnum (Canton, 2010) and Beau (Cathedral of Learning, 2010, son of Dorothy and E2).  Anne Marie Bosnyak saw lots of mating and courtship activity, most recently on March 18 and 19.  It's a good sign that this pair is probably incubating by now.

 

6. Monaca East 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)

I can't find any recent reports of peregrines in the Beaver-Monaca area but that doesn't mean they aren't there.  If you're in the vicinity, check for peregrines near this bridge and near the big black railroad bridge that crosses from Monaca to Beaver.  Peregrines have used both sites. Note! See Cindy's comment below. She's seen peregrines at this bridge.

 

7. Tarentum Bridge, Allegheny-Westmoreland County

Peregrine falcons mating at Tarentum Bridge, 21 Mar 2017 (photo by Steve Gosser)

Peregrine falcons mating at Tarentum Bridge, 21 Mar 2017 (photo by Steve Gosser)

The Tarentum Bridge has been very active in recent weeks.  Site monitor Rob Protz sees or hears a peregrine nearly every day and Steve Gosser photographed the pair mating on March 21.  Though we still don't know their identities (the male is banded) we have our fingers crossed for a successful nest this year.

 

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

Peregrine falcon at the Graff Bridge, Kittanning, 29 Mar 2017 (photo by Anthony Bruno)

Peregrine falcon at the Graff Bridge, Kittanning, 29 Mar 2017 (photo by Anthony Bruno)

Last year peregrines nested successfully at the Graff Bridge near Kittanning, PA and they're present this year, too.  A few weeks ago they were seen copulating on the bridge and on Wednesday Tony Bruno found this one.  The birds are quiet now so perhaps they're incubating.  Watch for more activity around hatching time in late April or early May.

 

9. Erie, PA Waterfront, Erie County

View of Erie, PA from the Centennial Tower (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

View of Erie, PA from the Centennial Tower (photo from Wikimedia Commons).  A favorite peregrine perch is on the old smokestack at the left.

Mary Birdsong confirms that Erie's peregrines are setting up housekeeping inside the Donjon Shipyard building again (shown below). Last year the pair was Nomad (Cleveland, 2008) and an unbanded female.   If you want to see peregrines in Erie, check the top of the old smokestack in the photo above.  Here's a map.

DonJon Shipbuilding, Erie, PA (photo linked from donjonshipbuilding.com)

DonJon Shipbuilding, Erie, PA (photo linked from donjonshipbuilding.com)

 

(photo credits:
photos from the National Aviary falconcams
Peregrine at Westinghouse Bridge by Doug Cunzolo
McKees Rocks Bridge, Neville Island I-79 Bridge and Erie, PA Waterfront from Wikimedia Commons
Peregrines mating at Tarentum by Steve Gosser
Peregrine at the Graff Bridge by Anthony Bruno
DonJon Shipbuilding, Erie, PA, linked from donjonshipbuilding.com
)

 

7 responses so far

Mar 23 2017

A Familiar Face at Tarentum?

Published by under Peregrines

Peregrine falcons mating at Tarentum Bridge, 21 Mar 2017 (photo by Steve Gosser)

Peregrine falcons mating at Tarentum Bridge, 21 Mar 2017 (photo by Steve Gosser)

On Tuesday afternoon, March 21st, Steve Gosser was lucky to be near the Tarentum Bridge when a pair of peregrines showed up.  He was even luckier to photograph them mating.

This closeup shows that the male is banded, the female is not.

Closeup of peregrines mating at the Tarentum Bridge (photo by Steve Gosser)

Closeup of peregrines mating at the Tarentum Bridge, 21 Mar 2017 (photo by Steve Gosser)

No, we don't know who the male is.  The photo is too distant to read his bands even when Steve blows it up.

But I have an idea about the female.  In the closeup you can see she has lots of stripes and speckles on her breast that are similar to the unbanded female intruder who's been visiting the Cathedral of Learning for the past year.   Here are two views of that female from her March 16th visit.

Female intruder at the Cathedral of Learning,16 March 2017 (screenshot from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Female intruder at the Cathedral of Learning,16 March 2017 (screenshot from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Speckled female intruder at Pitt, 16 March 2017 (screenshot from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Speckled female intruder at Pitt, 16 March 2017 (This screenshot was enhanced using photo software)

Could the Tarentum female be the same bird that visits Pitt?

We need more photos and observers to know for sure.  If you'd like to help, click here for a map of the best viewing location for the Tarentum peregrines.

 

(photo by Steve Gosser)

17 responses so far

Mar 17 2017

Why Is She Shouting? and Other News

Hope shouts at Terzo, 2:20pm 15 Mar 2017 (screenshot from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope shouts at Terzo, 2:20pm 15 Mar 2017 (screenshot from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Ever since the female peregrine at Pitt laid her first egg on March 15 lots of people have been watching her on camera. The first question on everyone's mind has been, "Why is she shouting?!?"

Indeed, Hope spent a lot of time shouting at the top of her lungs on Wednesday.  Here's just a tiny dose of her voice.

She's always been a vocal bird but this is over the top.  People can hear her inside the Cathedral of Learning and as far away as O'Hara Street behind Soldiers and Sailors Hall.  Peter Bell @PittPeregrines said, "She’s so loud you can hear her over all the traffic!"

So why is she shouting?

I don't know but I can tell you what was happening off camera.

Before Hope began shouting, she and her mate Terzo were communicating softly over the egg and bowing in courtship.  (Note!  This behavior is a happy thing. It is not fighting.)

After he bowed, Terzo flew up to a perch above the camera about six feet away from the egg.  Hope looked right at him and began shouting.  When he flew away she shut up and sat down on the egg.  When he came back she resumed shouting.

Peregrine shouting, also called wailing, means "I want [____] to change."  None of us speak 'peregrine' so we don't know what's in that blank.

 

In Other News:

Hope was silent on Thursday March 16 because she was busy chasing off an unbanded female intruder.  The intruder visited the nest twice and even bowed with Terzo at 12:24pm.

In the video below you can hear Terzo and the visitor chirping for 30 seconds before Terzo jumps into the nest.  Look carefully at the female and you'll see she resembles a bird who visited three times last year: April 8, August 2 and November 14.

 

Will this be a quiet nesting season at the Cathedral of Learning?  No.

Watch the nest on the National Aviary falconcam at the University of Pittsburgh ... and be ready to press the mute button.

 

p.s. Here's information on what happens when intruders show up: Peregrine Fidelity to Their Mates, Fighting.

p.p.s  Three eggs at the Pitt nest as of Monday morning, March 20.

(screenshot and videos from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh streamed by Wildearth.tv)

19 responses so far

Mar 15 2017

First Peregrine Egg at Pitt

Published by under Peregrines

Hope appreas to be looking at her first egg of 2017 (photo from National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope looking at her first egg of 2017, 15 Mar 6:35am (photo from National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Early this morning it looked like Hope has laid her first egg of 2017 this morning around 6:30am.  We waited for her to stand up ... just to be sure.

How did I guess that she had an egg?  Because she's lying flat on the scrape to keep it warm on this 14oF morning!

Hope is keeping something warm in the nest ... the first egg, 15 Mar 2017 (photo from the Naitonal Aviary snapshot cam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Hope is keeping something warm in the nest ... the first egg, 15 Mar 2017 (photo from the Naitonal Aviary snapshot cam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Click here to watch her on the National Aviary falconcam at the Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh.

 

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

49 responses so far

Mar 14 2017

Nesting in a Snow Storm

Peregrine incubating in a snow storm, Harrisburg, PA, 14 Mar 2017, 6:00am (snapshot from the DEP Falcon Cam)

Peregrine incubating eggs during snow storm, Harrisburg, PA, 14 Mar 2017, 6:00am (snapshot from the DEP Falcon Cam)

One of Pennsylvania's peregrine falcon families has a big challenge today.  They're incubating three eggs in Harrisburg where the "Nor'easter" will bring 9 to 13 inches of snow and blustery winds until 10pm tonight.

Their nest is on a ledge of the Rachel Carson Building where four cameras provide live streams of their activity. Two snapshots taken before dawn show there was already a lot of snow at 6am.   Below, a view from the closeup camera.

Peregrine incubating in a snow storm, Harrisburg, PA, 14 Mar 2017, 6:00am (snapshot from the DEP Falcon Cam)

Peregrine incubating in a snow storm, Harrisburg, PA, 14 Mar 2017, 6:00am (snapshot from the PA Falcon Cam)

The situation looks awful to us but it's all in a day's work for peregrine falcons.  Here's why:

  • Snow is a normal challenge during the nesting season.  Peregrines lay eggs in late winter so that their young will hatch when food is plentiful during spring migration. There are many stories of successful peregrine nests after blizzards in the Snow Belt. Ask folks from Cleveland, Ohio and Rochester, New York about their peregrines!
  • Feathers provide excellent insulation.  These birds are wearing down "coats" underneath their smooth body feathers.  Notice the unmelted snow on the female's back.  This is good!
  • The brood patch (bare skin on their bellies) keeps the eggs quite warm.

During a brief respite in the snowfall, the female peregrine stood up at 6:25am.  You can see that her body has kept the nest free of snow.  Don't worry, she was back on those eggs within 30 seconds!

The peregrines' nest has been kept warm, 14 Mar 2017, 6:25am (photo from the DEP Falcon Cam in Harriburg, PA)

The peregrines' nest has been kept warm, 14 Mar 2017, 6:25am (photo from the PA Falcon Cam in Harriburg, PA)

Click any one of the photos above to go directly to the Live PA Falcon Cam or click here for the complete website.

Meanwhile, here in Pittsburgh we have no snow at all.

 

(snapshots from the PA Falcon Cam in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)

p.s. Why are the time stamps different on the Harrisburg cameras? The wide-angle PA Falcon Cam is on Eastern Standard Time (EST); the closeup camera is on Daylight Saving Time (EDT).

4 responses so far

Mar 08 2017

First Egg at the Gulf Tower, 2017

Dori with her first egg of 2017, Gulf Tower, 8 March 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Dori with her first egg of 2017, Gulf Tower, 8 March 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Dori laid her first egg of 2017 at the Gulf Tower this morning (8 March 2017) at 8:29am.

Hooray, she chose the Gulf Tower!

Closeup of Dori with her first egg of 2017, Gulf Tower, 8 March 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Closeup of Dori with her first egg of 2017, Gulf Tower, 8 March 2017 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Click here to watch her on camera.

 

(photos from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

46 responses so far

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