Terzo & New Male Peregrine Vying for Pitt

Terzo at the nest, 28 Feb 2020, 17:47 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

2 March 2020

Yesterday morning I was surprised to learn that a new male peregrine was at the Cathedral of Learning nest last Thursday, 27 February. After much research I’ve discovered that …

Terzo and an unbanded peregrine have been vying for the Cathedral of Learning nest for at least a week. The contest is ongoing and there is no clear winner yet. Sometimes Terzo is at the nest, sometimes it’s the new guy. Here’s what has happened so far:

24 February, 3:40p: Terzo rules. As proof, he and Morela bow at the nest for about five minutes.

Morela and Terzo bow at the nest, 24 Feb 2020, 15:40 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

25 and 26 February: For two days there is almost no activity at the nest, indicating that the peregrines are busy with other concerns. Morela makes four short visits alone. During her last visit on 26 February at 11:47am, she bows to a peregrine off camera who never appears.

27 February, 3:44p: New unbanded male peregrine at the nest. He and Morela bow for three minutes.

New unbanded male peregrine bows with Morela, 27 Feb 2020, 15:44 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Friday 28 February 2020 is a back and forth day. Terzo rules at dawn and dusk. The new male bows with Morela at 1:07pm. Three photos below.


28 February, 7:00a: Terzo bows briefly with Morela before dawn.

Terzo and Morela before dawn, 7:00 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

28 February, 1:07p: New male courts Morela for seven minutes. See the video here.

New male peregrine bows with Morela, 28 Feb 2020, 13:07 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

28 February, 5:42p: Terzo is back at dusk.

Terzo at the nest, 28 Feb 2020, 17:42 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

29 February: Terzo is still in charge. He bows with Morela for two minutes at 7:33a.

Terzo and Morela bow, 29 Feb, 7:33 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

1 March 2020: Inconclusive! The peregrines spend so much time away from the nest that they don’t notice when two ravens soar over the Cathedral of Learning and swoop near the nest at 11:07a. Ravens are very unusual on campus and would have been chased away by the peregrines … if they’d been at home.

In the afternoon, Morela spends less than half an hour at the nest. Twice she bows to a peregrine off camera.

Morela waits at the nest, 1 March 2020, 15:41 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Today, 2 March 2020, 7:35a: Terzo rules. Morela visited the nest twice before dawn and bowed to an unseen peregrine. Then Terzo visited the nest alone at 7:35a.

Terzo at the nest, 2 March 2020, 7:34 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
Terzo at the nest showing his bands, 2 March 2020, 7:35 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

The contest is still in progress. Watch the National Aviary falconcam at the Univ of Pittsburgh to see what happens next!

(photos from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

9 thoughts on “Terzo & New Male Peregrine Vying for Pitt

  1. Very interesting, and a little bit worrisome. Just hoping that neither bird is harmed during their effort to be “top peregrine” at the Cathedral. Morela is one lucky girl, attracting not one but two suitors.

    Thanks for the update and photos, Kate!

  2. So how will we know who is the father of the chicks? Will the father step up and be at the nest when she lays her first?

    1. Lori, we won’t know & it won’t matter. Whoever wins will be on hand and help raise them.

  3. I feel sorry for Terzo, having to put up with Hope’s behavior for four years, and now when he hopefully has a normal mate, he has to fight for ownership of the nest. I hope he wins out, but if not, I hope it’s not a violent change of ownership and he gets to nest somewhere else.

  4. Mystery solved ! I saw Morela and what I thought was Terzo bowing , and wondered what happened to Terzo’s bands . I lern a lot about Peregrins life, Thank You.

  5. I tuned in around 12:30pm today and saw Morela calling but no male. Then a male tries a couple of times to come up from the gully, and eventually the new male made it up into the nest but only stayed for a minute. After he left, Morela went up on the perch and “wailed”. Wonder if she was complaining that he left so soon. I was hoping the males weren’t fighting in the gully.

    Can anyone tell what is happening from the ground? Has anyone seen all three of the birds perched on the building at the same time, or the two males chasing each other?

    1. Mary Ann, I believe that was Terzo bowing with Morela at 12:34p.
      UPDATE on 4 March! I looked more closely at the snapshots this morning. That was the new male. Wow!

    2. I wasn’t sure, I didn’t clearly see any bands on his leg and his white patch on his cheek didn’t look heart shaped, but maybe that’s because his head is down. I took a screenshot of the snapshot camera, and now that I’ve enlarged it, maybe there is a band on his leg. I’ll be happy if it is Terzo.

      Poor Morela was sitting on the perch in that steady rain for a long time earlier this morning. I wonder why she wouldn’t find a more sheltered spot. Maybe just to keep her claim on the nest.

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