Magnum Visits The Cathedral

Now that the Pitt peregrine nest is empty, most of us aren’t watching the falconcam so I was surprised when Megan Briody posted this comment on my blog yesterday:

Kate, did you see that Terzo has a new “visitor” at the nest?  I saw her on the camera today (6/22) at 3:58 PM.  At first, I thought it was Terzo because she also has a black/red band, but the band numbers didn’t seem familiar so I checked the video archives later.  The bands are black/red, 62/H on her left leg and purple on her right leg.  Your peregrine history pdf says that this is Magnum from the Neville Island Bridge!  Later at 4:40 PM, Terzo was in the nest, he called her in, and they bowed and chirped at each other.   I went back farther in the archives, and she was on camera last night (6/21) at 18:58.  If you have any thoughts on this development, we’d love to hear them!  It seems strange that Terzo would be courting a new female so soon after C1 fledged, but after this year, I guess we should expect the unexpected!

Wow!  Good job, Megan!

Here’s a closeup of Magnum’s bands.:  Right leg = black/red 62/H.  Left leg has a purple band .

Magnum at the Cathedral of Learning (snapshot from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
Magnum’s bands seen at the Cathedral of Learning, 22 June 2016 (snapshot from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Indeed Magnum, hatched in Canton, Ohio in 2010, raised up to four nestlings per year at the Neville Island I-79 Bridge since 2013.  This spring site monitors reported two fledglings at the bridge but weren’t able to confirm the pair’s identity because the nest was moved out of sight.

We don’t know if Magnum nested, but we do know that Hope was challenged by two females: On April 8 by an immature unbanded female, and on April 23 by a banded adult female with black/red on her left leg and a purple band on her right leg.  Perhaps that adult was Magnum, waiting her chance take the Cathedral.

Was there a fight?  Not that we know of.  Many watchers are scanning the sky for a glimpse of C1 and none of them reported a fight.

Meanwhile Peter Bell’s @PittPeregrines video (above) indicates that Terzo and Magnum are already establishing their pair bond so that means Hope is gone. (No she isn’t. See UPDATE below)

A prime nest site like the Cathedral of Learning can change hands at any time.  Fortunately Hope was able to keep the site while C1 was still in the nest and still primarily her responsibility.  At this point in C1’s life, her welfare is Terzo’s job.

So the peregrine drama continues.

Thank you, Megan Briody, for letting us know it happened!

UPDATE: Hope never left the Cathedral of Learning. Magnum merely stopped by for a visit.

(video by Peter Bell (@PittPeregrines) from the archives of the National Aviary falconcam at University of PPittsburgh)

67 thoughts on “Magnum Visits The Cathedral

  1. Wow, this is very interesting. Kate do you think C1 will be ok since she is still young?

    Poor Hope. This could be made into an interesting documentary about strange behaviors of Perigrines.

    1. Lori, C1 is Terzo’s responsibility and he is still very much present. Remember that C1 is hard to ignore when she’s hungry. 😉

  2. Very interesting development. Whatever the story, I hope C1 will be safe and continue to thrive. Good luck to Magnum and Terzo!

  3. Although interesting, I’m not surprised. Hope’s behavior as the eggs hatched was odd to say the least. Maybe Terzo sensed something was wrong with her. Maybe we will see her at another nest or maybe she is deceased. The saga continues at the Cathedral of Learning! Looking forward to what happens next and to next year. Thank you for posting about this situation.

  4. So what happened to Hope? Did she just leave? I thought she’d stick around to look after C1 for awhile longer.

    What a strange year this has been!

  5. That’s good to know that Magnum will not exhibit any hostility towards C1.
    So, clearly Hope has not been spotted somewhere else as of yet? It would be nice if she shows up somewhere, so it can be verified that she’s o.k. By the way, the phrase “…so that means Hope is gone,” has an ironic twist to it… we wouldn’t want all Hope to be lost! 🙂

    1. Marta, C1 was seen yesterday. She was on Heinz Chapel steeple while 2 adults (Terzo & Magnum) were together on the Cathedral.

  6. I must say, I’ll be happy to see Magnum move in. I will not miss Hope. I think that any mother that kills and eats her young should not be contributing to the gene pool. I’m still of the opinion that there was something wrong with Hope since she did not really defend her territory properly, couldn’t keep a mate, and did not have particularly successful nestings over the years.

  7. No worries folks. At 8:30 C1 was fed on St. Paul’s Cathedral. Could not see which adult it was, but it flew from CoL in a stoop past the church and almost immediately brought back food, plucked it and gave it to C1.

  8. Wow, that was surprising news to read! Kate, are there “times” during the yearly cycle that are more common for displacement?

    1. Sonja, the blog post explains this can happen at any time … though more commonly in April.

  9. I for one will miss Hope. I know these things happen, but I will miss her. Kate, my question is why was Dorothy able to hang onto the nest for so long and Hope unable to?

  10. Ok, peregrines, listen up. You guys are killing me. It’s like a Cathedral of Learning telenovela. Please have a calm and peaceful year. My heart can’t take anymore!

    All joking aside, after the stability of Dorothy’s reign at the Cathedral, this has been a crazy year!! Welcome, Magnum!

  11. Quite a year at the COL nest box. It’s been interesting in an “American Horror Story” kind of way to observe it unfolding. I try not to speculate or assign human feelings to these birds– but it is an interesting narrative of life, death, survival and resilience.

  12. I thought I saw Hope in nest on 6/19 she seemed to be resting. I thought it strange she was pushing gravel around as if she was going to lay eggs??

  13. I really hope that Hope is alive and well and has just moved on, but I agree with Cindy. I’ve wondered if she’s right in the head, too. Her behavior with C2 and C4 was disturbing, to say the least, although she was wonderful with C1.

    Maybe someone will spot her soon.

    I hope Magnum is good with C1. Her own chicks have just fledged, so there’s the question of what happened to her mate or if she just up and left. One of her fledglings was killed on the bridge a few weeks ago.

  14. This just further proves how special Dorothy was to rule that roost for all those years.

  15. Kate, Dorothy WAS one of a kind. I often ask myself, “what would Dorthy do?” 🙂 I have her photo on my door at the Cathedral and when students ask about the photo, I tell them all about her reign at the COL and her awesomeness.

  16. What a soap opera I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that E2 committed suicide when he realized he was stuck with Hope. Or maybe she hired a hit peregrine and made it look like an accident! Stay tuned.

  17. again with the off-topic queries: a crow is sitting on the top of my neighbor’s tree, repeatedly calling “chk…chk…SPROinnnnng” (a sort of busted-spring sound with descending pitch). Never heard that before. What’s he want?

    1. There. were quite a few female’s coming to visit Terzo this year. In the bird world he must be one handsome stud.

      From the first time I saw him I said he has a very soft gaze. I wish him all the best with his possible new mate.

  18. Dorothy and the Es spoiled us- kind of like the Steelers; we got used to stability and forgot what it’s like when your team changes QBs every year 😉 if you follow C&C’s Ohio peregrine page they also have a lot of drama sometimes.

  19. Kate, I know Peregrines fight to the death to defend their territory, but is it possible Hope went back to Tarentum or is it more likely she died? I am so very sad.

    1. Janet, it is likely that Hope flew away. She didn’t have a deep reason to stay.

  20. Holy cow. Who’d have thought that Hope would be ousted so soon. Just goes to show what a special PEFA our Dorothy was, truly queen of the Cathedral. And E2 was pretty amazing, too. Good luck, Magnum and Terzo. You’ve got some mighty big shoes to fill!

  21. Kate, when you say Hope had no reason to stay weren’t her and Terzo a pair, and wouldn’t she still be responsible to bring food for C1 even after she fledged until she leaves the area? Would she just abandon them?

    Also I checked the archives and the last time Hope was on camera in the scrape was on June 21 from 11:13 until 11:37. Earlier that morning at 5:36 am a falcon came into the scrape, and Hope immediately flew in and chased it off. At first I thought it was Terzo, but it was probably Magnum. I couldn’t tell the band colors because the IR camera was still on.

    There were other comings and goings that day, but Hope left at 11:37 then at 18:58 Magnum came in for about minute, you can clearly see her band numbers. So whatever happened to Hope must have happened between those times.

    This has been such an up and down year with all the things that have happened, and as horrified as I was with what Hope did to C2 and C4, I have grown to care about her and really hope that she is ok.

    1. Carol D, a resident falcon’s desire to stay increases with time, number of successful nests and chicks in the nest. Compared to Dorothy who lived there almost all her life and raised 43 young, Hope’s 7 months and semi-successful nest with 1 chick is much less reason to stay .. especially when there are no eggs and young currently in the nest.

  22. So sad to hear about Hope; she did a wonderful job in raising C1 despite everything else that happened in this bizarre year at the CoL. Here’s hoping she’s happy and healthy somewhere else (eh … that is at least somewhat slightly possible, isn’t it?). I’ll be looking forward to seeing what next year brings to the Cathedral peregrines!

  23. Hi Kate, I have a question in follow-up to Carol D.’s questions. I am not in Pittsburgh and only know what I read on your blog or on Facebook, but it seemed from my distant (and perhaps distorted) perspective that Hope took a less active role from the moment that C1 fledged. Normally, do both PEFA parents continue to feed and teach the fledglings, or does just the male bird assume that responsibility? I’m new to learning about PEFAs, but it appears that in other PEFA pairs in other cities right now both parents are continuing to watch over and feed their fledglings, and not just the fathers.

    1. Karen, I agree that Hope took a less active role than Terzo. That is either her normal behavior or she was perhaps distracted by pressure from Magnum (& we were unaware of it.)

  24. This year at the Cathedral nest has been so interesting and I have learned so very much about the Peregrine Falcon. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us.

  25. Terzo and Hope did not have much of a courting time. She just needed him for the last egg and help with the feedings. They did not have the bonding time, even less time than E1, Dorothy’s mate. Perhaps they will both move on and find their true life mate. I like to think that is the case. Magnum and Terzo will have quality time together before mating season.

  26. Fun fact… since I monitored Magnum at the Neville Island bridge I gathered her history and Beau’s into one spreadsheet with info from the nice nest monitor in Canton, Chad Steele, from Kate’s info compiled on her blog and from googling. And I think Magnum’s ancestry will serve her well and make her successful at the Cathedral of Learning (i know.. only 2 days in.. but I’m optimistic!)
    Why.. because Erie, E2 and Magnum all descend from the unbanded male Bandit from Columbus, Ohio!

  27. Will Magnum and Terzo stay at the nest to keep defending it all summer and in the fall or will they just come back in the spring to reclaim it as everyone has said this is been a wild season for our peregrine falcons

    1. Patty, that will stay all year. There’s enough food in the winter and it’s too valuable a site to leave.

  28. Do you think Magnum will now step in and help Terzo with C1 ,or is she totalally unrelated to this situation.

    1. Gjlfdl, I don’t know. My hunch is that Terzo will do it alone… But again I don’t know.

  29. I wonder if Hope left her previous mates or they left her (obviously E2 didnt leave). I just wondered if this is Hope’s normal behavior with mates or if they leave her. Or if other females are always more agressive than she.

    1. Dee, Hope nested/stayed at the Tarentum Bridge for 6 years, often alone. Her mates left Tarentum.

  30. Kate, was Magnum’s mate at Neville Island, Beau, Dorothy’s son? I was wondering if Beau is still around and will challenge Terzo for the COL site and then re-pair with Magnum.

    1. Ev, in 2015 photos confirmed that Beau, Dorothy & E2’s son, was nesting at the Neville Island Bridge. This year site monitors have not been able to identify the male and female at the bridge so we don’t know if Beau is still there. He might be. As for coming to the Cathedral of Learning, that is highly doubtful because he was born there. Peregrines must disperse from their birthplace, not return to it.

  31. I shouldn’t have been surprised when I read this, but I was. I’ve had a place in my heart for Hope, after Dorothy was gone, she gave us “hope” for the COL nest, and she also gave us C1. I like to think she flew away, like the free spirit and wanderer that she is. That being said, welcome Magnum! I hope you stick around a bit longer. Thank you Kate for the updates.

  32. Is it known who Magnum’s mate was this year? Could it have been Terzo? We know some males have two mates and nest sites (Jack in Etobicoke comes to mind, and DotCa in Rochester).
    [[As for coming to the Cathedral of Learning, that is highly doubtful because he was born there.]]
    In Brussels (Belgium) a mother and son form a pair for two years now. Raised four and three young.
    In Amsterdam-Hemweg a 2014 son is now his mother’s mate, they raised two.
    In Montreal Spirit mated with her son Eole.
    So it is possible that a parent mates with a son or daughter.

    1. Ingrid, we do not know if Magnum nested because we have not been able to identify either adult at the Neville Island Bridge this year. Even if Magnum nested, it is unlikely that Terzo led a double life this spring. The bridge is 17 miles away from the Cathedral of Learning making for long commutes *and* during Fledge Week at Pitt both adults were present at Neville at the same time both were present at Pitt (I.e. four adults).
      Here’s why Magnum may not have nested this spring: If she was the intruder at Pitt on April 23 it means she wasn’t nesting at Neville. At that nest the mother bird would have been very busy incubating eggs only a week away from hatching. That mother would not have left her eggs to attempt a takeover at Pitt.

  33. Has anyone seen Hope take food to C1? Or is she completely focused on the territorial dispute with Magnum?

  34. Hope was in the nest with Terzo this morning, they did their bowing and Hope shouted at Terzo. Terzo was there for an hour before Hope joined him. He was also laying on the gravel it looked like he wanted to swimm. Hope did the same after Terzo left I hope the are a pair now. Looking forward to next spring.

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