Breakfast at the Cathedral

University of Pittsburgh, Cathedral of Learning (photo from Univ. of Pittsburgh)This morning I saw my best bird at the bus stop.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a raptor grappling with prey in his talons.  He looked a lot like a peregrine and, through binoculars, indeed he was.

As soon as he positioned his prey for long distance flight, he straightened up and made a bee line for home, the Cathedral of Learning.

My neighborhood is 1.5 air miles from the peregrines’ home (photo courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh), and we have lots of pigeons – up to 150 near our grocery store.  Yet in eight years of peregrine watching I never saw them catch prey in Greenfield until today.  I guess I was finally in the right place at the right time.

I imagine I saw Erie catching food for Dorothy this morning.  His offerings help her store up nutrients in her body so she can produce eggs in the next few weeks.

Dorothy sleeps at the nest box, 3/6/08 (photo from Aviary webcam)Dorothy usually lays her first egg between March 23 and March 29 so she’s probably “feeling egg-y.”  She visits the nest box quite frequently now.  Sometimes you can catch her on camera, standing on the scrape and staring into space or perched at the front of the box.

In this picture, Dorothy just ate and is feeling sleepy.  Her crop is full so her upper breast feathers are bulging.  Her eyes look white because she has closed her “third eyelid,” the nictating membrane.

Have a good nap, Dorothy.  We’re waiting and watching for your first egg.

2 thoughts on “Breakfast at the Cathedral

  1. Around mid-February, my friend and I spotted a Peregrine sitting on the ground in a corner of her Shaler Township back yard. We thought this was unusual behavior, and called the ARL Wildlife Center in Verona. We were then referred to the Game Commission, and were told that numerous calls had been received that day, regarding a Peregrine sighting in Shaler. We were told to walk towards it to see if it would fly away (it did!)! It was gratifying to know that there were other folks out there, concerned enough to call — and it was a thrill to have a chance to see this beautiful creature up close (well, reasonably so!)!

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