New Peregrine Family At Elizabeth

Peregrine falcon carrying food at Elizabeth Bridge, 12 May 2018 (photo by Dana Nesiti)
Peregrine falcon carrying food at Elizabeth Bridge, 12 May 2018 (photo by Dana Nesiti)

May 15, 2018

There’s a new pair of peregrines in the Pittsburgh region and they’ve already got a family.

Back on March 4 I saw one peregrine perched on the Elizabeth Bridge as I was driving home from Westmoreland County.  I was excited because March is peregrine nesting season, they’d never nested at this bridge before, and they hadn’t been seen here since 2015.  One bird doesn’t mean a pair … but it was worth a look.

Reports fell silent for seven weeks and then two peregrines were active at the bridge in late April.  Did their eggs hatch?  If so, where?

On May 2, Elizabeth Cain saw them checking out several cubbyholes.  On May 6 Dana Nesiti photographed an adult carrying food into this truss connector.  They certainly have chicks!

Food delivery to the chicks, 12 May 2018 (photo by Dana Nesiti)
Food delivery to the chicks, 6 May 2018 (photo by Dana Nesiti)

Dana circled the peregrines’ location on his photo below. The connector is labeled “U9” because the bridge is under renovation.  Notice the paint-shrouding at deck level!

Peregrine nest site at Elizabeth Bridge, 12 May 2018 (photo by Dana Nesiti)
Peregrine nest site at Elizabeth Bridge, 6 May 2018 (photo by Dana Nesiti)

Here are more of Dana’s action shots.

Unbanded adult peregrine at Elizabeth Bridge, 12 May 2018 (photo by Dana Nesiti)
Unbanded adult peregrine at Elizabeth Bridge, 12 May 2018 (photo by Dana Nesiti) “Look, Ma, no bands!”
Peregrine perched on Elizabeth Bridge, 12 May 2018 (photo by Dana Nesiti)
Peregrine perched on Elizabeth Bridge, 12 May 2018 (photo by Dana Nesiti)
Free fall! Peregrine at Elizabeth Bridge, 13 May 2018 (photo by Dana Nesiti)
Free fall! Peregrine at Elizabeth Bridge, 13 May 2018 (photo by Dana Nesiti)

 

I stopped by the Elizabeth Bridge on Sunday May 13 and saw the peregrines team up to chase away a turkey vulture and wail at a passing raven.  They were invisible from the gazebo on South Water Street so I digi-scoped them from the Waterfront parking lot.  Notice that the female has closed her eyes!

Adult peregrines at the Elizabeth Bridge, 13 May 2018 (photo by Kate St. John)
Adult peregrines at the Elizabeth Bridge, 13 May 2018 (photo by Kate St. John)

 

If you’d like to see these birds for yourself, stop by Elizabeth Waterfront Park on the Monongahela River in Elizabeth, PA. Go all the way down to the river. They might be out hunting when you arrive, but be patient and they’ll come home. Here’s a map:

 

The Elizabeth Bridge peregrines bring our southwestern Pennsylvania total to 9 nest sites:

  1. Downtown Pittsburgh
  2. Cathedral of Learning
  3. Westinghouse Bridge (Turtle Creek near Monongahela River)
  4. Elizabeth Bridge (Monongahela River)
  5. McKees Rocks Bridge (Ohio River)
  6. Neville Island I-79 Bridge (Ohio River)
  7. Monaca-Beaver area bridge (Ohio River)
  8. Tarentum Bridge (Allegheny River)
  9. Graff Bridge, Rt 422, Kittanning (Allegheny River)

Erie, PA’s peregrine pair makes it 10 nest sites in all of western Pennsylvania.

I’m doing a tour of the other peregrine nest sites this week.  Stay tuned for more news.

 

(photos by Dana Nesiti, Eagles of Hays PA and Kate St. John (see captions). Map embedded from Google maps)

6 thoughts on “New Peregrine Family At Elizabeth

  1. Thank you so much for all your efforts. The photos are beautiful. It is so gratifying to see all the peregrine nests in SW PA. I keep hearing that the peregrines are slow coming back around here and so many young do not survive.. sadly. Hopefully, things are improving. I cannot wait to learn more about the nests. Thank you again.

  2. Wonder if the adult unbanded one is one of Dori’s and Louie’s from one of their more inaccessible nests (ie, non-Gulf Tower) from a previous year?

  3. Kate,
    Did something happen to one of the chicks at Pitt? I saw both of them a few hours ago and now I only see one. I looked at the snapshot cam and there is only one in the nest. Right now at 4:34 pm I can hear the other one crying but don’t see it anywhere in the nest. I’m really getting worried.

    Thank you.

  4. I live in Elizabeth and have seen the peregrin falcons on several occasions. Beautiful creatures. Hopefully the bridge construction won’t disturb the family.

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