13 March 2020:
While the coronavirus spreads, stock markets crash, and we fear for our health, peregrine falcons are fighting for territory in the run-up to egg laying. There are more adult peregrines than nest sites and the nesting window is closing soon. Adults without a territory are pressuring any resident that shows the smallest sign of weakness.
At the Cathedral of Learning, the female Morela has a solid claim but her mate Terzo is vulnerable. An unbanded male peregrine with bright orange legs, cere, and eye rings has been challenging Terzo since 25 February 2020. The contest abated for five days, 4-9 March, but resumed on the 10th. For two days, 10-11 March, no male appeared on camera while Morela waited alone for hours. The males were busy with other concerns.
Yesterday, 12 March 2020, both males visited the nest. Terzo’s visits were extremely brief at the beginning and end of the day. The unbanded male visited three times and stayed longer. Here’s the play-by-play in snapshots and video from 12 March 2020. All photos are from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ. of Pittsburgh.
8:52a and 9:02a: Terzo is briefly on camera twice with Morela. Less than a minute, then 30 seconds. He appears distracted.
11:36-11:39a: New male bows with Morela for three minutes. See photo at top and video below. Notice his bright orange legs, cere and eye ring. He and Morela approach closely, then he looks for Terzo. The contest continues.
1p – 2p: Morela visits the nest three times, calling and calling. Perhaps she sees one or both of them.
3:02-3:08p: New male bows with Morela for 6 minutes. Click here for the 6-minute video.
4:46-4:51p: New male bows with Morela for 9 minutes! Click here for the video. Terzo is still out there somewhere.
5:41p: Terzo appears for 17 seconds.
Lingering until 7:06p: Morela waits at the nest for more than an hour, then leaves to roost.
Looking back on the day’s activities, Terzo appears harried while the new male looks calm.
The contest continues until someone wins. Watch today for the latest developments at the National Aviary falconcam at Univ. of Pittsburgh.
UPDATE 13 March 2020, 7:40a: Terzo bows with Morela for just over a minute.
(photos from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ. of Pittsburgh)