Caution For Hatch Day 2019

APRIL 24, 2017: Hope picked up her first pipped egg. Later she killed and ate it. (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
APRIL 24, 2017: Hope picked up her first pipped egg. Later she killed and ate it. (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)


The peregrine eggs at the Cathedral of Learning nest are due to hatch next week, but here’s a word of caution:  You won’t want to watch.

My calculation says that hatch day for Hope and Terzo’s eggs will be next week, some time between Monday April 22 through Thursday April 25, 2019.

However, it won’t be a happy event. Hope has a habit of opening some of the eggs with her sharp beak, killing and then eating some of her chicks.  Her behavior is abnormal and upsets nearly everyone who sees it. She has done it every year.

In 2016 Hope killed and ate two chicks before they could emerge from their eggs.  In 2017 she killed one. In 2018 she killed two.

We don’t know why she does it but my word to the wise is this:

Caution! Don’t watch the eggs hatch at the Cathedral of Learning if it upsets you to see a mother kill her young.

p.s. After hatching is over Hope is a good mother, caring for her chicks and guarding them against danger. From 2016 through 2018 she fledged six youngsters from the Cathedral of Learning.

(snapshot from 24 April 2017 from the National Aviary falconcam at University of Pittsburgh)

13 thoughts on “Caution For Hatch Day 2019

  1. Thank you for the head’s up, Kate. I thought the hatch date was coming soon. Coward that I am, I’ll wait until it’s over.

  2. I’ve wondered what Hope would do if it so happened that Terzio was sitting on the egg when the first one hatched so that by the time she came back to the nest to sit on them the chick would have already been out of it’s shell and laying under him. would she still try to kill it?

  3. Kate,
    I’m not sure if anyone else saw, but I was down by the Cathedral for my lunch at around 1:40 and saw what I believe to be two falcons chasing each other. I was near the carousel so there was a building in my way at the time, but I saw them chasing and then a deep dive and didn’t see either one come back up. Could it be an intruder?!

    1. GeorgAnne, it might have been an intruder but since both adults were visible on camera (incubating) after this episode, it must have worked out.

  4. Lots of other nests to watch for the next week or two. Sure hope to have at least 3 survive out of 5. Maybe it is good that she laid 5 this year. Always more fun with multiples. I will admit that their babies grow up to be beautiful. Very puzzling about this behavior she exhibits and it is sad.

  5. something seems to have caught her attention today at 2:45. Don’t hear any noise like Terzo calling her or another bird.

    1. I checked at 2:52pm. That’s Terzo on the nest. Maybe he’s looking at her. Maybe she’s on the ledge above the camera. … But who knows.

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