Pitt Alumna wins nest site in Rochester, NY

Female Peregrine born at Pitt, now in Rochester NY (photo by Jim Pisello)
Female Peregrine born at Pitt, now in Rochester NY (photo by Jim Pisello)

20 April 2009

It’s been an exciting spring in downtown Rochester, New York, a little too exciting if you’re a peregrine fan.   

Last fall the crumbling condition of the historic Kodak Building tower forced removal of the peregrine nestbox that was well used for 11 years.  Two other nestboxes were erected, one at the Powers Building, the other at the Times Square Building in hopes the local adult peregrines, Mariah and Kaver, would choose one of them.  Since both of them migrate everyone had to wait for spring to see what would happen.

Mariah returned from migration in early February and consistently hung out at the Kodak Building.  She’s 13 years old, has always nested there, and didn’t seem inclined to change.  Meanwhile her mate Kaver never returned.  Mariah attracted another mate, Tybropa-Cree, but his body was found next to a busy highway on March 17th.  Undaunted, Mariah stayed on and waited for yet another mate.

By early April a new male was seen mating with Mariah and hopes went up that soon she would lay eggs at one of the new nestboxes.  Rochester’s peregrine watchers went to work to identify the male.  By April 17th they learned his name is Archer and he’s from Port Colborne, Ontario, but by then things had gotten very complicated – and sad for Mariah’s fans. 

On Easter Day peregrine watchers were dismayed to see Mariah repeatedly attacked by a new female and her mate, Archer.  Apparently the new female had injured Mariah on April 10th and won Archer’s heart, so by April 12th they were determined to drive Mariah away.  True to her fighting spirit, Mariah tried to hold her ground but nearly died in the attempt.  Fortunately she was rescued and is now in rehab in Syracuse.

Again Rochester peregrine watchers went to work to identify this second new peregrine.  Joyce Miller took her picture and was able to read her bands: 81/Y.  Today the news reached me that she’s someone I should know. 

I don’t recognize her in Jim Pisello’s photo (above) because the last time I saw her she was a gawky brown-and-white fledgling.  She’s a University of Pittsburgh peregrine alumna, class of 2007, daughter of Dorothy and her first mate, Erie.  She was born the year the exterior of the Cathedral of Learning was being cleaned (remember that project?) so she has some experience with buildings under construction.  Still, I think she’ll choose one of those nice new nest boxes. 

81/Y will soon get a name for her efforts.  She joins her brothers and sisters in the Pitt peregrine alumni “hall of fame” (i.e. the ones who are nesting).  Louie (2002) is the father bird at Pittsburgh’s Gulf Tower.  Stammy (2003) is on territory in Youngstown, Ohio.  Hathor (2003) nests in Mt. Clemens, Michigan.  Belle (2003) nests in the bell tower at University of Toledo and Maddy (2004) nests on the Valley View I-480 bridge near Cleveland.

We wish 81/Y well and are looking forward to hearing about her.  You can follow her story on the Rochester peregrine journal:  Imprints   

And special thanks to Jim Pisello for his picture of 81/Y.  He writes a blog, too:  Peregrinations.

(photo by Jim Pisello)

4 thoughts on “Pitt Alumna wins nest site in Rochester, NY

  1. Kate, I’ve been watching the webcams at the Biodiversity Research Instituion and today there was a hatching of 5 tiny house finches – amazing. I want to personally thank you for the story on Dorothy and E2’s 2007 daughter in Rochester, NY – I have a photo of her I sometimes use as an avatar on other web sites – I will be so happy to be able to follow her progress in raising cane, er, I mean family…lol

    Thanks again for your blog – it’s wonderful. Stay safe and wonderful, Kit

  2. Hi Kate,

    Thanks so much for your wonderful post. I see you’ve been reading up on the Rochester falcons soap opera! One slight correction for you– while the picture you posted above is indeed mine, the definitive picture of 81/Y showing her band most clearly was taken by one of my fellow falcon watchers, Joyce Miller. To be fair, I took one too (actually several dozen, but who’s counting?) that showed her band, but mine wasn’t as clear as Joyce’s, and I had to guess at the “Y”.

    Thanks for watching 81/Y and keeping her safe when she was a youngster. Rochester welcomes her, and we’ll take good care of her and her progeny!

  3. Hello Kate – I’m actually one of the two Falcon Watchers (Brian H was the other) that rescued Mariah from certain death on Easter Sunday morning. I just wanted to add a few things about the situation here in Rochester, NY. Actually Joyce Miller was the lucky photographer that got a clear picture of your girls bands. We all tried hard that day. It was definitely a team effort. In a strange twist of fate, Archer is Mariah & Kaver’s grandson. He is the son of their first son Freedom. Mariah rarely left Rochester during the Winter months, but for some reason, she did this year for a short time. So it looks like there is a new pair in Rochester and both are very welcome. 81/Y is a beauty for sure! Carol P.

  4. Jim & Carol, thanks for the clarification. I’ve made the correction above.
    And thanks for keeping us up-to-date about 81/Y. When I get a chance I’m going to go back through my notes to see if she did anything interesting as a fledgling.

    On the other hand, *everything* was interesting about that spring because the building 81/Y was born on was being power-washed. The Univ of Pittsburgh was very careful not to distrub the peregrines while nesting and patiently waited until the youngsters fledged. As soon as they were flying the scaffolding went up to the top. 81/Y and her siblings perched on the Heinz Chapel steeple watched people power-washing their home. I often wonder what they thought of it.

    A photo of the Cathedral of Learning (when it was dirty) with Heinz Chapel in the foreground can be found here: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HeinzSpireCathedral.jpg

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