Green Boy, Rest in Peace

Exhuberant, active and always curious, Green Boy was found dead today in the chimney at Webster Hall.

His body was found because his sister, Yellow, was stuck in the chimney too.  Though dehydrated, she was still alive and screaming for food. 

Dorothy and E2 knew their youngsters were stuck but could do nothing about it except try to entice them out with food.  Just this afternoon I saw Dorothy deliver food to the Webster Hall roof but I didn’t know the real reason she stayed there.  I could not hear her daughter’s voice.

Fortunately Yellow’s noise prompted rooftop workmen to call the Game Commission.  The workmen said they couldn’t get on the roof because they were attacked by an adult peregrine.  

Beth Fife came to the rescue, then called to let me know what happened.  Yellow is getting medical attention and will likely be back to normal soon.

Not so for Green Boy.  Help came too late. 

He didn’t know the Webster Hall chimney was a trap.  The chimney is tall, narrow and made of white metal.  It’s big enough that a young peregrine can misstep on its rim and fall in, but too narrow and slippery to climb or fly out.  One of Pitt’s 2009 juvenile peregrines was found dead inside it last October but no one knew why.  Now Green Boy has died and Yellow is lucky to survive. 

Beth Fife has mandated that Webster Hall cover the chimney immediately.  I’m sure they will gladly do so.  They love these birds too.

Poor Green Boy.  I’ll miss his antics.  He held such promise.

(photo of Green Boy on the Cathedral of Learning 25th Floor roof in a moment of curiosity, by Kimberly Thomas)

p.s. Update on Yellow, June 25, 9:20am: News from Beth Fife is that Yellow hadn’t eaten for two days but after rehydration and a little meat is doing very well.  Yellow will stay a bit at the rehabber to make sure she’s in top condition.  (No other news since this date/time.)

p.s. Update on the chimney, July 1, 9:00am:  Today I was in the Cathderal of Learning where I could see the chimney from above.  It is indeed covered quite well.  It was covered the day after the accident and that’s why it looks so different from the ground.

47 thoughts on “Green Boy, Rest in Peace

  1. How sad! Green boy brought such funny thoughts in your descriptions of him and his antics – especially with the pigeons as you described. Too bad they weren’t made to cover the chimney last year when the other chick died. Poor Dorothy and E-2 how helpless they must have felt to see their babies in distress and unable to do anyting about it. Tears are flowing!

  2. Brutal. They had better cover that chimney without any excuses or procrastination.
    Horrible, horrible! news.

  3. Oh, Kate. What terrible news, and to think that it could have been prevented with a simple cover – even a piece of chicken wire would have been enough. The workmen are to be commended for notifying the game commission before both fledglings were lost. Green Boy’s horrible passing is so hard to bear.

  4. Unbelievable. I have written many thoughts and then keep deleting them. So I shall say thank you instead. Thank you to everyone that doesn’t turn away from the animals on this planet. Thank you to everyone that reaches out a hand to offer care and support in so many different ways. Thank you to all of you.

    I am so sorry Green Boy.

  5. Wow, sad. Hasn’t been a good 48 hours for the peregrines in Oakland and Downtown. Hope they get that chimney covered ASAP. Any idea how long they were in there?

  6. This is just terrible! And to think of how easily it could have been prevented! I hope it is covered asap.

    It is great that the workmen stepped in to help!

    Kudos to Beth Fife for her care and concern for the Peregrines!

    And a BIG thank you to you, Kate, for being such a great observer of these birds, which helps determine if something is wrong. (and keeping everyone informed)

  7. Kate – really sad to hear this news. Thank you for sharing. Last evening I was thrilled after working late to be rewarded w seeing 2 juveniles (COL and Heinz chapel) and one of the adults with food on top of Webster Hall. How sad to wonder if it was still there looking for its baby?

  8. Such sad news Kate, I’m so sorry for all of you. I hope they get that chimney covered ASAP!

  9. No words for this for sure. We were all so encouraged this year by the mere number of babies we had to enjoy & hope for a good future. What a mournful day. So lively & curious in a so deadly spot. I am sure they will fix this problem. I wonder what other dangers are out there. With all these abandon buildings I am sure there are many dangers out there for our young peregrines. Thank you Kate for letting us all know. Like we need a group hug & this is as good as it gets.

  10. In my hurt and anger, I failed to tell you that your tribute to Green Boy was beautifully written – straight from the heart. It helps to be reminded of all the joy he brought to us in his short life. Thank you for all that you do.

  11. Kate – thanks for all the updates and the related stories regarding last year’s loss – tears are still flowing from last night…… Do you know who gets to bury Green Boy? Have you heard how Yellow Girl is doing? How horrible it must have been for him stuck in the chimney as hot as it was the last few days. As Faith said, we do need a group hug –

  12. I’m too so stunned and saddened; I was so attached to that adventurous little Peregrine and his endless curiosity and playfulness. So hard to keep emotions away after watching these wonderful birds. Foremost, so thankful of your dedication to help their long struggle.

  13. Update June 25, 9:20am (also added in p.s.): News from Beth Fife is that Yellow hadn’t eaten for two days but after rehydration and a little meat is doing very well. Will stay a bit at the rehabber to make sure she’s in top condition.

  14. What terrible news, but the other was rescued in time so Hooray! I actually wanted to come to the blog first thing this morning to share about my walk into work today and give my update on the Pitt group, but didn’t expect to find this.

    Anyway, maybe some good news to cheer us up? My path to work has been taking a detour of late to catch a few final glimpses of the Pitt peregrines before they’re shooed from Dorothy and E2’s territory. This morning as I was walking down Craig across from St Paul’s I was just south of Oakland Catholic surveying the steeples looking for the odd shadow that would be a peregrine perched somewhere. Looking and looking I see nothing but then I hear those familiar juvenile calls! But they’re behind me – I turn around just in time to see two peregrines come flying over, lower than the tallest of the cathedral steeples. Looked to me like a kid chasing a parent – the one in back was making all the noise, and it also kept it’s tail fanned wide compared to the one in front being more streamlined. I believe the kids fly like this as it gives them better control, like training wheels for a kid learning to ride a bike.

    Anyway, they disappeared behind the cathedral in the direction of the Cathedral of LEarning so I went chasing them in that direction. As I got over towards Heinz Chapel I could see two on the steeple! One about 3 “rungs” down from the top, and the other on the lowest of the extra long “rungs.” While I didn’t have binocs or my camera, the one up top seemed to be the parent as it appeared to have a white breast in the sun. The other was in the shade. Then as I continued around the side a little further a third peregrine became visible about halfway down the steeple. Not too long after, the kids began making more noise. I haven’t heard them so noisy since we watched the nest box.

    Well, as I left it appeared the adult wasn’t leaving the side of these two for a bit, standing guard at the top of the steeple as the kids did their thing below. Hope knowing these three (and presumably the other parent) are all doing well is good news that will cheer some of you up!

  15. Yay, Peter! I am SO GLAD you saw three juveniles! My thanks to you & everyone who watches these birds & reports what you see. It helps so much to have many eyes on them. I only saw two this morning & was worried about #3.

  16. Thank you so much for the encouraging observations, Peter. It helps ease the pain, and brought a much-needed smile to my face.

  17. Peter, thank you so much for your report. Some good news is what we all need now. Kate, thanks for the update on Yellow’s condition. It’s good to know that she is recovering. Thanks to everyone else, for sharing. It means a lot.

  18. Peter – yes, thanks… you’re story does help to take away some sadness. I’m like you… my morning and evening routes have been altered (as have my trips to Starbuck’s) to include passing by Heinz chapel or St. Paul’s!

  19. News at 11:30am from Kimberly Thomas who works in the Cathedral of Learning & took the photos of Green Boy: I just saw two peregrines fly by my window and am watching one of them flying around in circles as I type : )

    Another YAY for the day.

  20. I am crying. It is so heartbreaking to read that we lost one of our babies. I will miss you little one. You were a joy to watch while in the nest. Rest in peace.

  21. What Carol said.

    And while I’m happy Yellow will recover, I am angry that the chimney was not covered in the first place, especially after another peregrine had already died there. Maybe they “didn’t know why” at the time, but with all due respect, it’s kind of a no-brainer to me.

  22. A thought I just had. It seems odd that from 2002-2008 no chicks became trapped in the Webster Hall chimney (at least according to the nesting history) while there have been 3 entrapments and 2 fatalities in the past 10 months. Was there work being done on the roof of Webser Hall during which previously existing covers were removed and not replaced or perhaps a previously existing cover broke or became detached? Or is it just really bad luck?

  23. Good thought, J. I bet they changed the chimney though I have no reason to know that. These new metal chimneys are springing up all over. At WQED we have chimney swifts nesting in ours… so sometimes they’re OK.

  24. I was afraid I’d have to write in and clear up confusion because I was pretty sure I’d seen 2 juveniles and 1 adult this morning so we hadn’t accounted for everyone. It’d be easy to lose that, I have a tendency to ramble on! 🙂

    Anyway, instead I am able to report that all three are definitely still out there as they were all around St. Paul’s today around 5pm. At first I only saw one on the right hand (from the front) spire, then I spotted a second on the left hand one. And despite them being pretty boring just sitting there trying to stay in the shade and snoozing or preening I couldn’t make myself go home. I was rewarded then when a third came flying in, looked around a bit from the right spire and then flew back behind the left hand one. At some point either that third one (maybe red) or one of the parents came flying very, very high over head before turning and diving. I suppose the kids should be learning this move, but I don’t really know.

    Anyway, I wanted to share a few of the shots I got. Some are a little blurry and out of focus, but I thought the peregrines were being interesting enough I had to share!

    We definitely had all three juveniles there today!

  25. Peter – thanks for the pictures. I don’t know how I missed you! Once I spotted all the juveniles from the top level of my parking garage on Henry St (around 5)…I had to go to ground level to find out where the 3rd juvenile, who had been on Webster Hall (GET OFF OF THERE! I wanted to shout) having dinner, but then flew to the Cathedral. This must be the one you saw fly in. I think you and I should have been hard to miss with our binoculars and cameras.. when everyone else was just rushing home with backpacks and briefcases in hand! Amazing!
    Anne Marie

  26. Some good news about the chimney. Yesterday I noticed it looked different. It took me a while to realize that the chimney is SHORT now. The top section is gone and what remains probably has a grid over it (the grid where the peregrines were found). They will need the top section when heating season comes but by then they’ll have a cover on it.

  27. Thanks for all the updates Kate. Thank you to Peter; viewed all your pictures. A charming way of spending my Saturday morning. They are truly magnificent birds. You have some wonderful shots of the wing spread etc. Thank you so much. When I go to church on Sun. AM I have to drive 79 from Bridgeville to Beaver County. I have seen most mornings when I happen to be near the Conrail Rail yards a falcon or two from that area. Really reassuring that some of those are doing well. Lots of pigeons & birds hand out looking for grain that falls from boxcars probably.

  28. Good question, Anne Marie! I was a bit off the sidewalk up on the front patio of the Software Institute where there was some shade. Maybe I was just far enough back off the sidewalk that we missed each other. I was a bit surprised that no one waiting for the busses asked what on earth I was up to.

  29. Thanks for the update, Kate. And, Peter, thanks for posting the photos! I’m glad the rest of the COL family is fine & well! Now I need to get over to 5th and Craig and look for them.

    I’ve been at Schenley Pool most every day, and I always keep and eye on the sky while I’m there — but hadn’t spotted any of our Peregrines yet. Now I know where they’re hanging out, so I won’t worry if I don’t see them. Red-Tails abound, though!

  30. Another thank you Kate for more updates and such well-written articles.

    A big thank you to Peter for the great pics and info. It is good to know the rest are doing well. Like Donna said, your stories and pics help to ease the pain a little.

  31. All – was just on Gulf webcam and Ontwoman was there… she alerted me that the parent’s had just visited. We were both excited to see them. I made a hotspot of the event. There was lots of chirping and chattering between the two. Kate, can you explain what may have been going on? Thanks.

  32. The adults maintain their pair bond throughout the year & do visit the nest occasionally in June & July. Since Louie & Dori are a relatively new pair they would be likely to court there. Very sweet.

  33. It was so wonderful to see Dori and Louie today!!! Thank you for the hotspot Anne Marie. A special thank you to both Kate for her reporting and NDPeter for those beautiful photos. “Very sweet”, indeed.

  34. Thanks Kate for the updates……it was awful to learn about Green boy, but heart-warming to know that Yellow is in rehab and hope we hear good news about her. Many thanks to Peter for the good new about the others. Your photos are excellent. Reading your comments and seeing your photos was definitely a big help to me. I’m glad that top portion of chimney was removed. At least we know no others will be trapped there. It’s still hard to accept it was not done sooner, but that cannot be undone….so we must put it behind. I’m so glad Yellow was rescued.

  35. I go to church at Bellefield in Oakland, and have more than once been surprised by a falcon blazing through our parking lot. In fact, many years ago, a friend came out to find a falcon with a pigeon sitting on her car. She turned right around and went back into church! I have been reading your blog since the eggs were laid; thank you for wonderful reporting.

  36. Wow. I just read the news about ‘Elmo’ (as my husband and I called Green boy). It’s so sad. He was our favorite, from the time we watched him get knocked off his perch onward. I’m going to hate to have to tell my husband the sad news.

  37. So sad about Green Boy! I had been away from the computer since Thursday and was so upset when a friend told me the news. Nature is crule and we humans don’t make it much better.
    Thank you Kate for all the information and explanations about the falcons and for bringing them into our world. And thank you to Peter for the great pictures and all the others who watch our falcons. It has been sush a joy to watch from the egglaing to the babies first peck out of the shell and now they are out flying around! I will miss getting on the computer every day to see what’s going on with our Peregrins.
    I’m going to Denmark this summer where my young nephue has been watching our Peregrins too and I will bring some pictures. He had some problems with his computer so I don’t think he knowes about Green Boy.

  38. A tribute to Green Boy – we should get together and put a screen on that CHIMNEY at Webster Hall ourselves if THEY DON’T. It is ashame this had to happened. I cried for 2 days over him. He was a joy to watch. My husband emailed Beth about this and she is upset too. Hopefully, something will be done and done SOON.

  39. I’ve seen them grow, it became kinda personal….Sad…very sad….
    Peregrines are such beautiful birds….

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