A week ago, on March 3, I began to lose faith that the Downtown Pittsburgh peregrines were going to nest at the Gulf Tower this year.
Peregrines had nested there for 21 years (1991 – 2011) but they abandoned the site in 2012 during installation of the new rooftop lighting scheme and chose a nook on Third Avenue (front on Fourth Avenue). We feared this new site was permanent because they nested there in 2012 and 2013.
The Third Avenue site is inaccessible to humans but difficult for fledglings. It’s lower than the Gulf Tower so fledglings have a hard time staying above the ground on their first day of flight. Three of last year’s four fledglings had to be rescued. It’s also unfortunate for observers because there’s no falconcam for watching the nest.
We had high hopes that the peregrines would return to the Gulf Tower when they spent many days courting there in February, but on March 2 they abruptly changed gears and began focusing their attention at Third Avenue. Oh no! For a week they were never in the Gulf Tower motion detection snapshots. I stopped by Third Avenue yesterday and found a peregrine perched at the old nook opening. Oh no! It looked like they were about to choose Third Avenue again.
This morning I checked the Gulf Tower camera to make sure it was on daylight savings time and behold, Dori was at the nest with an egg!!
I was so surprised I could barely believe my eyes!
Just to be sure, I captured several snapshots including Louie’s first visit before dawn.
Dori has come home!!
Join the fun. Watch the Gulf Tower nest here.
(photos from the National Aviary falconcam at the Gulf Tower)
p.s. Thanks to Gulf Tower management for making this site so attractive to our downtown peregrines.