Only One Left

Juvenile female peregrine, 08/BR, at Heinz Chapel, 8 June 2017 (photo by Peter Bell)
Juvenile female peregrine, 08/BR, at Heinz Chapel, 8 June 2017 (photo by Peter Bell)

Yesterday I learned that this juvenile female peregrine, black green 08/BR, was found dead at Allegheny County Airport, apparently hit by a plane on Sunday July 9.

08/BR hatched at the Cathedral of Learning this year and left home to start her new life four weeks after she first learned to fly — right on time.  Just 6.3 miles away she found a big open space in which to hunt.  Alas, she didn’t know anything about airplanes.

The video below by Peter Bell shows her on 8 June 2017 at Heinz Chapel when she was new to flying.


Her death, and the death of her brother 09/AP, leaves only one surviving juvenile from the Cathedral of Learning 2017 nest.  With a 62.5% mortality rate in their first year of life this peregrine brood has now matched the statistics, unhappy as that is.

Meanwhile, as of today July 14, we can confirm that the remaining young female is fine.  She’s been seen and heard nearly every day in Oakland, begging from her parents in a very loud voice.  She’s due to leave home any day now.


(photo and video of Pitt fledgling, black/green 08/BR, by Peter Bell)

UPDATE 21 July 2017:  The young peregrine died at Allegheny County Airport, not Pittsburgh International.  Thanks to Ryan for providing the correct information in the comments.

18 thoughts on “Only One Left

  1. So sad. I’m surprised to see such a high mortality rate among peregrine’s in their first year. It makes you appreciate those who survive into their teens. Are the Gulf Tower fledglings still around?

    1. Helen, I’ve been out of town so I don’t know if any of the Gulf Tower fledglings have been seen lately. They leave home at this time of year so at this point no news is good news.

  2. So sad to hear this. Watching all three falcons grow up, and seeing (and hearing!) them learn to fly down in Oakland was such a wonderful experience – it’s hard not to grow attached to them. How interesting that she’d made it all the way out to the airport while her sister is still hanging around home; here’s hoping that her sister finds safer hunting grounds.

    Grateful for the opportunity to watch and learn about these amazing birds. Rest in peace, 08/BR.

  3. So sad about both the male and the female juvies
    I often see Hope on the perch at the scrape. Will she stay around Pitt most of the time now?

    1. Ev, that is hard to answer. Dorothy, Hope’s predecessor, did stay at Pitt all the time but Hope has been known to fly back to her old territory in Tarentum when she’s not busy nesting. We’ll have to wait and see what she does.

  4. This is the most awful news I have heard. Here I go again crying my heart out for another lost falcon. I pray all year for these birds and their safety. I hope that fledgling 3 has better luck.

  5. Hi Kate,

    This was really such sad news to hear, especially after losing the young male peregrine last month. I hope and pray that the third one is going to be ok.

    I have become so attached to watching Hope and Terzo everyday on the cam. Even after the young ones fledged, I still continue to check in everyday and see Hope and/or Terzo stop by the next box. I’ve noticed that for the past 3 days the camera has been down, just get the twirling dots on the screen. I know you’re not directly affiliated with the camera, but since I don’t know who else to ask, I was wondering if you had any information about why the camera isn’t streaming.

    Thank you so much for all your information.

    1. Carol D., The Pitt streaming cam is apparently off. I will ask someone to check on it. The “checking on it” could take as much as a week because of vacations. Meanwhile you can follow @pittpefaALERT on Twitter to see when the birds appear at the Pitt nest.

    1. I work at Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT)in the Operations department. We submit bird strike reports to the FAA. Allegheny County Airport and PIT are both controlled by the Allegheny County Airport Authority. So we all know what is going on at both airports.

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