Jun 06 2014

Peregrine News Around Town

Published by at 7:00 am under Peregrines

Dorothy at Pitt, no egg (photo from National Aviary falconcam)

Dorothy at Pitt, no egg (photo from National Aviary falconcam)


Peregrine activity at Pittsburgh's two fledged nest sites has moved out of easy view but three locations still await the excitement of first flight.  Here's the latest peregrine news in a long blog post.  Don't miss the end as the best is always last.


Cathedral of Learning:

PGC's Tom Keller collects the unincubated egg at Pitt (photo from the National Aviary snapshot cam)

PGC's Tom Keller collects unincubated egg at Pitt (photo from the National Aviary snapshot cam)

Yesterday Tom Keller of the PA Game Commission removed Dorothy and E2's unincubated egg.  This was not to change Dorothy's mind about standing at the nest but to test the egg.  Dorothy and E2 always visit the nest at this time of year and Dorothy loves to sunbathe there.

Some of you were worried that the peregrines were sad about the egg.  I don't think so.  Not sad, just bored.

Meanwhile the infrared lamp that provides night vision has burned out so the nighttime video looks like "snow."  We will replace the lamp before the next nesting season.


Gulf Tower:

Two fledglings exercise their wings on the Gulf Tower pyramid roof, 31 May 2014 (photo by Anne Marie Bosnyak)

Two fledglings exercise their wings on the Gulf Tower pyramid roof, 31 May 2014 (photo by Anne Marie Bosnyak)

Last Saturday at Fledge Watch we saw two juveniles on the Gulf Tower roof while the remaining three nestlings waited to launch.  By dawn on Wednesday only one female remained at the nest.  She looked as if she was ready to fly but she was cautious -- a good trait in the urban environment where buildings, glass, and chimneys pose unnatural threats to survival.  She flew on Wednesday.
One juvenile at the Gulf Tower nest at dawn, 4 June 2014 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

That same day at the U.S. Steel Tower, a friend of Steve Gosser's sent him a mystery photograph, "What is this bird?"  A juvenile peregrine outside the office window!  The Gulf Tower "kids" are exploring Downtown.

Peregrine fledgling outside a window of the USSteel Tower, 4 June 2014 (photo by Anonymous)

Peregrine fledgling at U.S.Steel Tower, 4 June 2014 (photographer is anonymous)


Green Tree water tower:

Green Tree water tower, nesting territory of a pair of peregrines (photo by Shannon Thompson)

(photo by Shannon Thompson)

No peregrines have been confirmed at the Green Tree water tower for many weeks though several of us have looked while driving by. This site has been disappointing for two years in a row. If you do see a peregrine at the water tower, let me know.


Tarentum Bridge:

Peregrine "Hope" at the Tarentum Bridge (photo by Steve Gosser)

Mother peregrine, Hope, at the Tarentum Bridge (photo by Steve Gosser)

Though there were two fledglings at the Tarentum Bridge on May 29, only one has been seen since then.  Time will tell if the second one is merely hiding or gone missing. If you see one or both at Tarentum, let me know.


Westinghouse Bridge:

Westinghouse Bridge (photo by Joseph Elliott, Library of Congress)Tom Keller checked the Westinghouse nest on May 30 and found the female still on eggs.  He'll check again in mid-June.


McKees Rocks Bridge:

McKees Rocks Bridge (photo by Robert Strovers on Wikimedia Commons)

McKees Rocks Bridge (photo by Robert Strovers on Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons license)

Old news, but good news...  On May 23, the PA Game Commission and PennDOT used the bucket truck to search for the peregrines' nest at the McKees Rocks Bridge. Despite their efforts they were unable to locate the nest because the peregrines defended an inaccessible area. They confirmed that the female is unbanded while the male is still Bravo (V over H (blk/green)) from Cleveland's Terminal Tower in 1999, son of Zenith and Bullet. He was first recorded at McKees Rocks in 2008. This year he's 15 years old. His unbanded mate indicates that female peregrines from remote sites (or perhaps from man-made inaccessible sites) are finding homes in Pittsburgh.


Neville Island I-79 Bridge:

Magnum walks the I-beam toward her nest (photo by Anne Marie Bosnyak)

Magnum near her nest at Neville I-79 Bridge, 25 May 2014 (photo by Anne Marie Bosnyak)

At the Neville Island I-79 Bridge one female chick is getting ready to fledge.  She was 22 days old when banded on May 28 so she'll probably fly June 14-19.  The nest location makes for an easy Fledge Watch so stay tuned for dates, times and directions. The Watch will probably begin on Friday, June 13th -- perhaps sooner! Pittsburgh Falconuts, look for news from Anne Marie Bosnyak.


Monaca East Rochester Bridge:

Female peregrine at Monaca-East-Rochester Bridge, 2012 (photo by Steve Leiendecker)

Female peregrine at Monaca-East-Rochester Bridge, 2012 (photo by Steve Leiendecker)

Four chicks -- three females and one male -- were banded at the Monaca-East Rochester Bridge on May 21 at 18 days old.  They will probably fledge from June 11 to 16.  Start watching on June 10 (or earlier!) and you'll see lots of activity beneath the bridge.  It's easy to see the bridge from the community park on the Monaca downriver side.  Keep an eye out for the mother peregrine!  I hear she is very fierce.


(photo credits are in the captions except for: Westinghouse Bridge photo by Joseph Elliott, Library of Congress and Gulf Tower juvenile at the nest from the National Aviary falconcam at the Gulf Tower)

20 responses so far

20 Responses to “Peregrine News Around Town”

  1. SUe Vertosickon 06 Jun 2014 at 9:25 am

    Thanks for the update, Kate. It was great to see you on QED last night!

  2. Leslie Ferreeon 06 Jun 2014 at 11:25 am

    Thanks, Kate. Did Tom Keller get results from the COL egg yet? I also saw you on QED last night. Great show, and Bird Sense is on my list to read.

  3. Kate St. Johnon 06 Jun 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Leslie, the egg will go to a lab. It will take months/forever to hear about the egg’s test results. I am not sure what they will test for other than “Was it fertile?” Even that will be a challenge because it is undoubtedly rotten.

  4. kcon 06 Jun 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Has anyone ever observed peregrine falcons attempting to nest for a second time in one season after incubating for a full thirty days the first time around?

  5. Kate St. Johnon 06 Jun 2014 at 1:01 pm

    kc, they will reclutch if they lose eggs early in the season but June is too late to restart. Has it *ever* happened? Maybe but it would be a HUGE exception. (I will check my reference books when I get home.)

  6. Leslie Ferreeon 06 Jun 2014 at 2:47 pm

    OK, I thought they could just candle it. I hope they enjoy an uneventful, relaxing summer.

  7. Pa Galon 06 Jun 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Hi Kate –

    I may have missed the final breakdown of gender at Gulf Towers. When banding day arrived, not all the babies’ sex could be determined. Do we know how many males and females there are? Thanks for the info!

  8. Kate St. Johnon 07 Jun 2014 at 4:26 am

    Pa Gal, the final breakdown of gender at Gulf Tower is still 2 males, 1 female and 2 unknown. Here’s the explanation: http://www.birdsoutsidemywindow.org/2014/05/20/two-males-one-female-and-two/

  9. Ramona sahnion 07 Jun 2014 at 11:11 pm

    Great job keeping us up to date!
    Love your posts

  10. Jill Dunmireon 11 Jun 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Have been watching for Greentree birds for the last three weeks on the way to and from work. Stopped and watched for about two hours on Saturday. Haven’t seen a thing.

  11. Kate St. Johnon 11 Jun 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Thanks, Jill. Sorry to hear they’re gone but I’m not surprised. It was weird there this year.

  12. Anne Marieon 11 Jun 2014 at 4:55 pm

    From the Falconuts FB page:
    I-79/Neville Island Bridge Pre-Fledge Watch Activity

    I haven’t seen the baby since Sunday (I even checked on my way to work today – and no, the bridge isn’t on my way to work!) I think now that the baby is mobile, it can probably get up onto the catwalk and walk away from the nest area that is visible from the PAT Park and Ride lot. I hope it decides to come back because, further away from the nest means over the middle of the river! Kate StJohn posted that fledging may occur June 14th – 19th.

    I will be at the bridge Wed/Thurs evening from 7-8 pm hoping to see some signs of the baby. Will probably spend more hours there on Saturday/Sunday – will post times on the weekend.

  13. margie omalleyon 14 Jun 2014 at 6:53 pm

    I live in Green Tree and spotted the Peregrine sitting on the railing of the water tower. He was facing the Parkway. We saw him on Sat. June 14th at 635 p.m. This is the first I have seen him or her in about 3 weeks.

  14. Kate St. Johnon 14 Jun 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Margie, thanks for that news!

  15. margie omalleyon 23 Jun 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Today on June 23, TWO peregrines were sitting on the top rail of the Green Tree water tower. They were sitting about 20ft apart and facing the parkway west. They were spotted at 6:57 p.m.

  16. Kate St. Johnon 23 Jun 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Great news, Margie!

  17. margie omalleyon 24 Jun 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Saw an adult falcon watching Greentree Road from the water tower, first sighting at 1:45pm still there at 3:30pm. june 24th

  18. margie omalleyon 27 Jun 2014 at 9:44 am

    We once again saw an adult falcon on the greentree water tower, 6-25 at 7 pm, then again the next morning , 6-26 at 10;50 am, watching the lunch crowd at the Olive Garden.

  19. Carolynon 08 Jul 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Saw an adult peregrine at the Greentree water tower today, around 1:00, perched beneath the “r”. I pulled into Greentree park to get a slightly better look with the binoculars.

  20. Kate St. Johnon 08 Jul 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Carolyn, thanks for checking!

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