A Tribute To Dorothy

3 December 2015

Today I’m honoring Dorothy, the matriarch and first female peregrine to nest at the Cathedral of Learning, with this video retrospective of her best photographic moments.

If you’ve only known her since last spring, you missed knowing the real Dorothy.  She was dynamic, energetic, fierce and powerful.  From the time I first saw her in 2001 until her egg bound spring of 2014, she had fire in her eyes.  After that, age-related health issues subdued her. I hope this video gives you a taste of what you missed.

Every year Dorothy raised three to five young peregrines — every year — and many of them went on to raise young peregrines of their own.  With 43 fledglings and a host of descendants she increased the peregrine populations of Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Michigan and the Pittsburgh area … and those are the places we know about!

Dorothy was awesome.  She was the first wild bird I ever knew as an individual and the bird that changed my life.  I will miss her greatness but not her decline.

Yo, Dorothy!  You go, girl!

(YouTube video by Kate St. John with thanks to the photographers who made this possible: Peter Bell, Brian Cohen, Jessica Cernic Freeman, Sharon Leadbitter, Donna Memon, Mike Perzel, Jack Rowley, Pat Szczpanski, Steve Valasek and the National Aviary falconcam at the Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh)

Note: If you cannot play the video above, click here to watch it on YouTube.

Information on Dorothy’s lineage: Mother was Sibella (20V20) of the Peregrine Recovery Program who was captive-bred and released at Feldtman Ridge on Isle Royale National Park, Michigan on 20 July 1988. Father was Bill (74T) of the Peregrine Recovery Program captive-bred and released from Van Hise Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1990. Data from Greg Septon:

56 thoughts on “A Tribute To Dorothy

  1. A gorgeous photo tribute, Kate, and all who helped to produce it. Thank you. It brings back so many wonderful memories. Fly free, Dorothy.

  2. Kate, thank you so much for putting together this beautiful tribute to this beautiful falcon. She was a magnificent example of the wonder of God’s creation! I join you and many others in missing her.

  3. A well deserved tribute for a legendary bird. Fly high and free Dorothy, we will never forget you!

    Thank you Kate.

  4. A wonderful tribute to an amazing peregrine! I was privileged to “meet” her during the banding in 2012, and will never forget the experience.

  5. Thank you, Kate, for putting together this beautiful tribute to Dorothy, our queen of the Cathedral. She was simply unique and will be missed terribly.

  6. Thank You for the Beautiful tribute to Dorothy! She was Tough under any circumstances & A Gentle, Nuturing Mother to many Babies! Miss her already! But What A Legacy she leaves behind! When I see a Falcon flying the skies I like to think “Is that one of Dorothy’s offspring!” Thanks Kate <3

  7. My daily dose of tears, hoping she’s warm & as well as an old bird can be. She’ll never be forgotten…Thank you for this beautiful tribute to her.

  8. Thank you for the beautiful video of some of Dorothy’s best moments. She will be missed. I hope that Hope sticks around to step into Dorothy’s remarkable role.

  9. I did miss her young years, so this is wonderful to see. What a beautiful lady, she is missed. Thank you for putting this together Kate.

  10. I join the rest of you, (through my tears), in recognizing the importance of Dorothy and her offspring. Many happy memories for all of us.

  11. I have watched Dorothy for years and her last year was heart breaking ! I so wanted to watch the video but it wouldn’t open for me. I have tried several times with no luck. Am i doing something wrong ?

  12. Cannot open link. Says invalid. Even went to tube to try and still said invalid. I really want to see this. Could you maybe email it to me to see if that works?

    1. Patti Ferneding, since the link works for so many people I believe the problem is in your computer. If you have ad blocking turned on it mightbe blocking the video because the music has ads in it. Sorry I can’t help much more than guessing this.

  13. I did not see Dorothy in her early years so this is very lovely to see. She sure was a wonderful mother. It is so touching to think of what she endured. I thank you for putting together this tribute to “The Queen”. She will be sadly remembered for all eternity.

  14. Thank you Kate!! We will miss her, but probably not as much as you will! Thanks for your blog and all of the wonderful pictures through the years.Soar high and free Dorothy…..

  15. Kate, Thanks for the video of Dorothy’s greatest moments! I have loved watching her. Thanks for giving us all the opportunity to get to know and appreciate the birds!

  16. Beautiful tribute. Thank you for that, Kate.
    I loved Dorothy dearly. Loved to watch her on cam and read about her as much as I could. I sincerely hope she’s still somewhere out there, and if not I hope her death was soft, without any pain or discomfort.
    Dorothy, You were an excellent mother and mate. You will never be forgotten. Soar high and free, sweetheart.

  17. I have watched this wonderful tribute to our beloved Dorothy with tears flowing down my cheeks. Thanks so much. You are quite a lady. Fly free Dot. You and Fuzzy are together again.

  18. I wanted to say ” Thank you Kate ” for the beautiful tribute to Dorothy. I enjoyed looking back at her and the little ones. She was a good mother to the end. I shed many tears watching her and Fuzzy. Hope she soars high and free and maybe with Fuzzy. That would be a great ending !!!!!!

  19. Thank you, Kate, for the lovely tribute! And thank you, Queen Dorothy, for the joy you’ve brought to me & so many others! You have been an amazing creature and a blessing to the Peregrine population! I’m in tears! Hug my buddy Fuzzy for me & fly free!

  20. I’m watching this just before walking over to the Cathedral, and it’s making me all misty-eyed – thank you for the lovely tribute. There was always something magical about knowing Dorothy and E2 were up in the Cathedral. She will be missed greatly.

  21. As a watcher of one of Dorothy’s offspring “Beauty” in Rochester NY and her grandbabies…thank you Kate for honoring Dorothy.

  22. Thank you for for this beautiful tribute to such a magnicient falcon. She has left us with such a legacy and her beautiful daughter Beauty continues on with it here in Rochester. Fly Free Grand Dame <3

  23. Thank you. I could not get the video, but from what I have read a beautiful memorial….I love the up dates and love the Falcons. I will miss Dorthy, she is the first Falcon I started to watch, with her babies, a few years ago. Great happiness and deep sadness.
    Thank you for all that you do.

  24. I have been following Dorothy and her family for years. I have lost a friend and feel sad about it. Dorothy has done so much for all Peregrine falcons.
    Thank you, Kate, for all your falcon information.

  25. Thanks for this so beautiful tribute to such a great matriarch. She’s now in her own legend forever and ever.

    1. Giovanna, so glad you commented! I love your video of SW & it inspired me to make one for Dorothy. Thank you so much for *your* beautiful video.

  26. May I never hear that 2nd mvmnt again without thinking of Dorothy.It was a blurb about her in the Pitt alumni mag. that brought to me your blog. Thanks, Dorothy, thank you, Kate.

  27. I’ve followed Dorothy and E2 for years from the news, falconcam, and Kate’s blog. A couple of years ago on a trip to Pittsburgh I was in Oakland, thought “there’s no way,” and walked by the Cathedral and there they were, soaring above. It was a special thrill. Thanks for the video Kate!

  28. Thank you Kate for the lovely video. E2 and Dorothy were the first falcons I got to know and loved to watch and have spend many hours watching waiting for the eggs to hatch! But I knew it was her time to go. Lets hope E2’s new lady stays. She has big shoes to fill.

  29. Thank you Kate, for the tribute. Just started watching her on the falcon cam this year after heard about it. Couldn’t comprehend some things about the Queen being dead, but do now. Looking forward to another Peregrine falcon in the nest box carrying on Dorothy’s legacy.

  30. For me, Dorothy was always a constant at Pitt. From when I started my undergrad in 2005 until now I would always look for her at the cathedral. To me, they almost became synonymous with each other. I’ll miss her dearly but have nothing but the best wishes for Hope and E2 as they embark on their adventures together for hopefully many years to come.

  31. Thank you for bringing Dorothy so close to us through the years, and for this lovely video to remind us of her greatness.

  32. Thank you Kate for putting together such a lovely tribute to Dorothy, who will be remembered by many!! I picture her just relaxing on a cliff or in a tree somewhere now that she’s old and perhaps she’ll do a flyby now and the to remember her wonderful years at the Cathedral. She gave so many people joy and I’m sure you will miss her the most, but she will live on in our hearts. A true pioneer woman in the avian world.

  33. Thank you, Kate, for the beautiful tribute to Dorothy! I only knew her through this last season, when she lovingly (and creatively!) raised Fuzzy/Silver. What an amazing life she had! May she and Silver fly strong and free together…
    (The Washington Post recently had an article about a 64-year old albatross who just returned to her nesting grounds, and all the miles she must have flown in her lifetime.

  34. For those unable to view Kate’s link directly: Google search “YouTube Tribute to Dorothy Falcon.” It should then come up at the top in your news feed. Good luck. Worth the search! -C.

  35. Thanks, Chris, for the tip about the google search — was finally able to access it. What a beautiful tribute! Thank you, Kate, for putting it together. Dorothy was an amazing bird and is a legend indeed.

  36. This tribute to Dorothy is beautiful! Dorothy is my first bird interest and I got to know her through the cam. Also, I brought Dorothy into the lives of children who were also in awe of seeing Dorothy in the nest feeding her chicks. Dorothy wasn’t much of a housekeeper with meal left overs left about the nest but she was a good mom!

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