Peregrines at Two Bridges

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

On Wednesday May 17, Dan Brauning and Tom Keller of the Pennsylvania Game Commission checked for peregrine nests at the McKees Rocks and Neville Island I-79 bridges.


McKees Rocks Bridge:

Four peregrine chicks at McKees Rocks Bridge (photo by Tom Keller)
Four peregrine chicks at McKees Rocks Bridge (photo by Tom Keller)

With PennDOT’s help and a bucket truck, Dan and Tom found four nestlings too young to band at the McKees Rocks Bridge.  About 15 days old, they were so young that their sex could not be determined by weight.  Their nest site didn’t have a place for the chicks to practice flapping before fledging so Dan and Tom relocated them to a safer location nearby. Their mother came close to defend them. Dan noticed that she’s unbanded.


Neville Island I-79 Bridge:

Neville Island I-79 Bridge (photo by Robert Strovers via Wikimedia Commons)

At the Neville Island I-79 Bridge, Dan, Tom and PennDOT staff walked the catwalk all the way to the Glenfield side before they found the nest.  The nest was so far away that the five of us who came to observe the banding missed the entire show.  All we saw was the adult male peregrine strafing the bridge in the distance.

Dan and Tom found and banded four chicks about 21 days old: three females and one male.  The mother peregrine stayed near her chicks the whole time.  Even in this small photo you can read her bands (black/red 62/H), confirming that she’s Magnum from Canton, Ohio in 2010.  (*)

Magnum protects her chicks at the Neville Island Bridge, 17 May 2017 (photo by Tom Keller)
Magnum protects her chicks at the Neville Island Bridge, 17 May 2017 (photo by Tom Keller)


(bridge photos by Robert Strover via Wikimedia Commons.  Peregrine photos by Tom Keller, PA Game Commission)

(*) p.s. Magnum has been at the Neville Island I-79 Bridge since 2013.

19 thoughts on “Peregrines at Two Bridges

  1. I’m glad to see Magnum found a home and had some chicks. There’s a lot of females born this year. Will they attempt to band the McKees Rock chicks later?

    1. Luann, Magnum has been at Neville Island I-79 since 2013. … No, they will not return to McKees Rocks to band them later.

  2. Kate, thanks so much for the info!!! Did they get to band the chicks at Neville Island or was Magnum too close? Also, will we ever know where C1 ended up?

    1. Gary, there won’t be a banding at Westinghouse. It is unclear whether they’re nesting.

  3. Thanks for all this info on the PEFA’s Kate. it’s been a good year in Pittsburgh for our peregrines. I hope to figure out where i can keep an eye on the Westinghouse bridge from Turtle Creek side since i live close. Any suggestions on where to park appreciated!

  4. Did the safer location at the McKees Rocks bridge have a scrape/rocks for the chicks? Did the mother peregrine find them at the new spot? Is it OK to move them like that?

    1. The safer location is in the picture. You can see black substrate — which isn’t critically needed at this point because it’s needed during incubation. Moving nearby: It is safe to move them nearby because they will call and their parents will hear and come. Peregrines have noisy nestlings for this reason. (If you’ve been to a Fledge Watch you’ve heard how they call their parents.)

  5. Hi kate, I was wondering if you or anybody else has seen Hope lately. I started watching the cam around 3:00 pm but I have not see her or Terzo. The chicks were really yelling awhile ago as if they were hungry. I so worry about them, because you never know what Hope is going to do. Thanks.

    1. Janet, an adult fed the chicks at 5:55pm and at 6:25pm, 80 and 50 minutes before you posted your question.

  6. Hey Kate!

    So on top of the Gulf Tower and Cathedral, I have been following the Harrisburg falcons this year; their cameras are amazing! I am hoping you can help answer a question for me. After their banding day, this was posted:

    “The first male weighed in at 585 grams and has a red tape; the blue tape is on the band the other male that weighed 595 grams; and white tape on the 585 gram nestling of undetermined sex”

    So much question is about the undetermined sex of the white tape chick. If they determine the sex by weight, why would they be unsure about this one?

    I know you don’t normally post about Harrisburg, but I was hoping you could help me out on this one! Thanks!

    1. Kristen, the last chick might be much younger than the others (I seem to remember that happened somewhere, maybe Harrisburg?). Young chicks all weigh pretty much the same so their sex cannot be determined by weight.

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