This week was a busy one for nesting peregrine falcons. Here’s a long report from our nine peregrine locations in southwestern Pennsylvania. Today the blog is All Peregrines, All The Time.
1. Downtown Pittsburgh’s peregrines: formerly at Third Avenue
Dori and Louie’s four chicks, taken from their nest on 8 May 2018 via a USFW Special Taking Permit, continue to thrive at Humane Animal Rescue. Click here or on the screenshot above for a video from Humane Animal Rescue’s Facebook page.
Humane Animal Rescue, Update, May 15 at 6:22pm: Rehabilitators at our Wildlife Center continue to provide care for the four chicks removed from a Third Avenue building in Downtown Pittsburgh last week. While the birds are still reliant on staff members wearing our Peregrine puppet for food, they’ve begun to show interest in eating on their own.
Meanwhile, Dori and Louie are rarely seen at their former Third Avenue nest site. Click here for the entire story.
2. Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh
Two chicks were banded at the Cathedral of Learning on 11 May 2018. On Wednesday, May 16, one was bumped off the nest into the gully a few feet below, so now one is topside and the other is underside.
The underside chick’s movements are easy to follow from Schenley Plaza because his mother and father, Hope and Terzo, perch above him along the bulwark.
Yes, the chicks are being fed. There are no photos of the underside feedings but here’s one, above, from topside yesterday. Watch topside activities on the National Aviary’s Cathedral of Learning falconcam.
3. Westinghouse Bridge over Turtle Creek, Monongahela watershed, Allegheny County
On Thursday May 10, Dan Brauning and April Sperfslage of the PA Game Commission visited the Westinghouse Bridge to check on nesting activity. They found three chicks too young to band — about 15 days old — and two protective parents. The male’s bands were confirmed as black/green, 19/W, nicknamed George. The female is unbanded, nicknamed Rose for her rosy cheeks.
If you’d like to watch onsite, click here for a map of 3 viewing locations. The best one is Elder Street (yellow X).
4. Elizabeth Bridge, Monongahela River, Allegheny County
Our newest peregrine family is nesting at the Elizabeth Bridge over the Monongahela River at Elizabeth, PA. Click here for details and where to watch.
5. McKees Rocks Bridge, Ohio River, Allegheny County
On May 11, PGC’s Dan Brauning and April Sperfslage checked the McKees Rocks bridge for signs of nesting activity but only found two unattended eggs at last year’s nest site. When John English and I stopped by on Tuesday May 15, we saw no peregrines on the bridge but two soaring together downriver. It appears that this nest has failed.
6. Neville Island I-79 Bridge, Ohio River, Allegheny County
Whenever you visit the Neville Island I-79 Bridge you are likely to see a peregrine but it’s always on the Glenfield side. Dan Brauning says the nest is on that end of the bridge this year, though he couldn’t get up there to check when he and April visited on May 10. We can’t be sure of the adults’ identities but they were confirmed three years ago as Magnum (Canton, 2010) and Beau (Cathedral of Learning, 2010, son of Dorothy and E2).
Click here for a map if you’d like to see for yourself.
7. Monaca-East Rochester Bridge, Rt 51, Ohio River, Beaver County
When John English and I visited Rochester’s Riverfront Park on May 15, we were surprised to see an osprey nesting on top of the Monaca-Beaver railroad bridge. I’d assumed the peregrines would nest there this year but Scott Gregg reports that they have moved to the Monaca-East Rochester Rt 51 bridge because of conflicts with the ospreys. On 4/26 Scott found the peregrines nesting on the same platform under the Rt 51 deck as in prior years. However on 5/6 and 5/13 he couldn’t confirm chicks. John and I saw no peregrines there at all on May 15.
If you’re in the vicinity, look for peregrines on the power towers near the bridge. Let me know what you see.
8. Tarentum Bridge, Allegheny River, Allegheny-Westmoreland Counties
The Tarentum Bridge is one of our newest success stories. Several years before she moved to Pitt, Hope used to nest in cubbyholes in the arch of the Tarentum Bridge but her nest sites were always over water and dangerous for fledgings. In 2015 the PA Game Commission installed a nestbox on the bridge pier. Hope never used it but this year a new peregrine couple has taken up residence.
On Monday May 14 when John English and I visited the bridge we found the female in the nestbox. John’s photo above shows the location of the nestbox. My digiscoped photo shows the female inside it. Stand on the sidewalk on 1st Avenue with a scope or high-powered camera for this view.
On Tuesday evening May 15, Rob Protz reported the first food delivery to the box at 5:40pm. The eggs have hatched!
The parents at this site are a male banded black/green 48/BR at the Westinghouse Bridge in 2014 and an unbanded female who has distinctive dots on her breast.
If you’d like to see this family for yourself, click here for a map.
9. The Graff Bridge, Route 422 Kittanning, Allegheny River, Armstrong County
This photo by Tony Bruno in 2017 shows there are indeed peregrines at the Graff Bridge, Rt 422 Kittanning, but now they are hard to see. On Monday May 14 John English walked the Armstrong Trail at Manorville to get under the bridge for a better view. We moved upriver a bit and were pleased to see a peregrine arrive with prey and pluck it vigorously on the West Kittanning side. We think they’re nesting.
Peek through the trees along the Armstrong Trail, upriver from Manorville, and you might see a peregrine. Bring a scope or a high-powered camera!
1. Downtown: screenshot from a video on Humane Animal Rescue’s Facebook page,
2. Cathedral of Learning: photos from the National Aviary falconcams
3. Westinghouse Bridge: photos by April Sperfslage, PGC
4. Elizabeth Bridge: photo by Dana Nesiti, Eagles of Hays PA
5. McKees Rocks Bridge: photo from from Wikimedia Commons
6. Neville Island I-79 Bridge: photo by April Sperfslage, PGC
7. Monaca-East Rochester Bridge: photo by Steve Leiendecker, PGC
8. Tarentum Bridge: photos by John English and Kate St. John
9. Graff Bridge, Rt 422: photo by Anthony Bruno)