Sooooo Cute!!

Peregrine Falcon chicks, 12 days old, University of Pittsburgh, May 12, 2008I captured this photo on the Pitt peregrine webcam today and my first reaction was “They’re soooo cute!” 

These three little white birds are 12-day-old peregrine falcon chicks, Dorothy and E2’s nestlings at University of Pittsburgh.  They’re in the cute downy phase before they start to grow feathers. 

Such bright-eyed babies!  I’m amazed at how white they are.  Even their beaks are white.  And their feet are so large that they sit like little Buddhas with their toes in front of them. 

I can tell they ate recently.  There’s a bulge at the top of their chests showing their crops are full.  (Many birds have crops, a muscular expandable section of the esophagus where they store food prior to digestion.) 

Soon these babies will get sleepy and sprawl flat on their bellies.  

Eating, sleeping, growing.  That’s all they’re going to do until early June when they’re ready to ledge-walk and learn to fly. 

4 thoughts on “Sooooo Cute!!

  1. This is an adorable picture! I was watching the cam at about the same time but I couldn’t get the still shot that you got.

    You mentioned that the chicks sprawl flat on their bellies. I’ve noticed in the past that they go through what seems to be a “rubber chicken” type phase…Are their bones somewhat soft at this stage of their lives or does it just appear that way??

    Another question–I’d like very much to make a donation in support of the peregrine program but I’m not sure who I should send it to. I’m a member of WPC and have donated to them in the past, designating the peregrine program to receive the donation. Is the National Aviary now assuming the cost of maintaining the webcam? Thanks. Kathy McCharen

  2. Kate,

    Why are the walls of the nest box so messy? Do you think it’s the baby’s instinct to “do their business” on the walls to keep the floor of the nest clean and free of germs that can cause disease?


  3. I’m not sure about the state of their bones but I don’t think they’re soft. The “rubber chicken” appearance is probably because they are top-heavy and uncoordinated – just like human infants.

    Yes, the National Aviary has assumed the cost of the peregrine program and they would welcome your donation!

    As you can tell, they need a better camera at Gulf Tower and it costs money to have a live streaming service.

    To make a specific donation to the peregrine program via check send your donation with a note on how you’d like to direct it to:
    Dr. Todd Katzner, Peregrine Program
    National Aviary
    Allegheny Commons West
    Pittsburgh, PA 15212

    To donate online to the peregrine program click here and designate your donation for “Urban Peregrine Falcons”

    For more information on peregrine funding opportunities, and to contact Dr. Katzner, call him at 412-323-7235 ext.210 or email him at todd.katzner {at}
    Please substitute an @ sign for the {at}

  4. Why are the walls so messy?
    Lauren, you guessed correctly. The chicks instinctually “poot” away from each other. The result is messy walls.

    Because the nestbox at Pitt is new and the walls are smooth the poot is quite obvious. At Gulf Tower the walls are old, rough cedar but if you look closely you’ll see that box has white streaks too.

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