Arctic Peregrine Makes Unplanned Stop in Pittsburgh

Juvenile arctic Peregrine Falcon found downtown (photo by Todd Katzner)

6 November 2008

John Moore had a surprise last month at the construction site where he works on Fort Duquesne Boulevard downtown.  There on the balcony, apparently trapped, was a juvenile peregrine falcon.  He immediately called the National Aviary and the PA Game Commission.

Todd Katzner arrived from the Aviary and captured the bird.  The peregrine was unbanded so he knew at a glance it was not one of those born in Pittsburgh.

The bird’s plumage gave the nod to its origins.  This peregrine was born in the arctic, probably Canada, and was traveling to the tropics and beyond on his first migration.  He had become trapped on the construction site and was undernourished and dehydrated.

The National Aviary does not rehabilitate birds so, coordinating with Wildlife Conservation Officer Beth Fife, Todd took the peregrine to the Animal Rescue League Wildlife Center in Verona where it was fed and rehydrated.

Time is of the essence.  This peregrine has far to go to complete his migration and he needs food along the way.  He arrived here with the push of migratory birds (his food source) and he needs to resume his journey while there’s still enough to hunt on the wing.  His destination is South America, a journey as long as Elizabetha’s.  He can’t afford to linger in Pittsburgh.

Fortunately, after two weeks of rehabilitation, Jill Argall of the Wildlife Center deemed that this peregrine is in good condition and ready to leave.  He was released this morning at 9:30AM.

Good luck to him.  We wish him well in this, his first and hardest year of life.

p.s.:  See the video of his release at

(photo by Dr. Todd Katzner of the National Aviary)

4 thoughts on “Arctic Peregrine Makes Unplanned Stop in Pittsburgh

  1. A heartwarming story. How grateful I feel to know such caring folks exist that will tend to this bird’s needs so he can continue his journey.

  2. I saw on the Noon News on Channel 2 that the Peregrine was released and got a tag incase it’s found again…Interesting it was trapped on the balcony. Didn’t show how it could have gotten trapped, but it also sounded like it needed some care since it’s weight was almost 1/2 compared to when it was released…Guess it knew Pittsburgh is a good place to stop, esp if you are a Peregrine. Thankfully the “Natives” didn’t see it or it may not have been such a happy ending…

  3. That picture really shows off those predator talons! I’m glad I’m not a sparrow or pigeon. Go, little bird, go!

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