Getting Ready For Nesting Season

Before peregrine nesting begins a few of us visit the Pitt and Gulf Tower nests to conduct routine maintenance.  Sometimes we have a lot to do -- add gravel, clean the nestbox, fix the cameras -- but this year the only thing needed was a cleanup of the weatherproof covers on the National Aviary's falconcams.

Last week when Bob Mulvihill and I visited the Gulf Tower camera we didn't see any peregrines.  Yesterday at Pitt we saw two!

It was 16 degrees when we ventured out on the ledge.  Phil Hieber took photos, Bob cleaned the cameras, and I brought my hiking stick to hold high as a substitute target for peregrine attacks (instead of attacking our heads).

Bob Mulvihill heads out to clean the nestcam covers. Kate St. John follows with a stick to hold up as an "attack" target.
Bob Mulvihill heads out to clean the nestcam covers. Kate St. John follows with a stick to hold up as an "attack" target (photo by Phil Hieber)

We were surprised to see that Hope, the female peregrine, was waiting for us.  How did she know we were coming?

Peregrine falcon, Hope, waits and watches as we approach the nestcams but she says nothing.
Peregrine falcon, Hope, waits and watches as we approach the nestcams but she says nothing (photo by Phil Hieber)

As Bob got closer, Hope flew off, then silently strafed back and forth as you can see on the video.

Hope flies away as Bob approaches the falconcams.
Hope flies away as Bob approaches the falconcams (photo by Phil Hieber)

Soon Terzo joined her. He was silent, too.

A peregrine flies by (photo by Phil Hieber)
A peregrine flies by (photo by Phil Hieber)

 

In less than 3 minutes Bob was finished and we went back indoors.

Bob returns from the ledge. The job took less than 3 minutes! (photo by Phil Hieber)
Bob returns from the ledge. The job took less than 3 minutes! (photo by Phil Hieber)

 

Hope and Terzo are staying close to home this month.  They're getting ready for nesting season, too.

 

p.s. This morning it's 2 degrees F and windy so the wind chill makes it feel like -16.  Good thing we were out there yesterday.

(photos & video shot by Phil Hieber on Bob Mulvihill's mobile)

3 thoughts on “Getting Ready For Nesting Season

  1. Hi Kate,

    I happened to be watching the cam when I saw (and heard) someone come out to clean the lens of the camera. At first I couldn’t figure out what was going on, but then realized some maintenance was taking place. Just after you went back inside and I heard the door close I heard one little chirp off camera – I’m assuming it was Hope voicing her displeasure!

    Thanks so much for the video. It was really great to see that Hope and Terzo are doing just fine in this awful weather. Looking forward to this year’s nesting season.

  2. Capturing the strafing birds on video and then posting it for us, thank you so much! Hope and Terzo seem to have really bonded. Praying for a drama-free nesting season in 2018. PS – stay warm!

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