Bad News Again, Hope Kills Chick 3

  • Terzo was incubating when Hope arrives at the nest, 24 April 2019, 5:22pm

Hope, the mother peregrine at the Cathedral of Learning, has done what we prayed she would not do. This evening she opened Egg #3 as it was hatching, then killed and ate the chick inside.

The slideshow above spans more than half an hour. Here’s a summary of what happened.

  • 5:22pm  Terzo was on the nest. Hope returned, got close to the eggs and opened egg #3, which was close to hatching. She doesn’t harm the chick at that point. Terzo watches her intently.
  • Hope and Terzo stare at each other. Eventually Terzo turns away and leaves.
  • Hope broods on the nest for about half an hour
  • 5:51pm: Hope looks up, leaves the nest.
  • She returns and thinks for a bit.
  • Then she goes to the nest, pulls Chick #3 away from nest, kills it and begins to eat it.
  • Chick #3 is now food so she carries it to the other chicks and feeds them.

Keep in mind that Hope’s behavior is abnormal. We don’t know why she does this. No one knows why. I won’t even speculate. We do know that she does it every year.

There are two eggs to go, so …

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

(photos from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh)

11 thoughts on “Bad News Again, Hope Kills Chick 3

  1. It is heart-breaking to watch this behavior continue to occur. Such strange behavior. Birds already have such a high mortality rate.
    Poor Terzo….

  2. I shared live pixs of Pitt falcons with a 3 yr old and his mother in the Drs office. Thank goodness we did not see the “event.” My bad!

  3. Maybe hope knows something about the chick she sadly kills that we humans do not? I wonder if this happens “in the wild” so to speak

    1. I assume the best, in that Hope does this because she knows something is wrong with the chick. I can’t imagine any other reason for the behavior.

  4. is it possible for the chick in egg three to have something abnormal going on only the peregrine could possibly know about would like to think that would be a factor here survival of the strongest just a suggestion

  5. The first 2 chicks look nice and strong so they have an excellent chance of fledging. Maybe it is good she laid 5 eggs. Hoping that these next 2 will be ok but I am thankful that we will have babies to watch in this nest. So crazy to see her act like this each year, at least viewers have been warned. I happened to watch it and I knew with her back turned to camera that she was eating chick. Dad looked puzzled at what was happening. She will be a good mom to the ones that are lucky survivors.

    1. Lin, Hope’s offspring are banded so if they nest somewhere with a camera we could find out. So far, none of her offspring have been reported/seen outside of Pitt’s campus.

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