Terzo In Charge, Then Challenger Returns

Terzo sunning at the nest, 13 March 2020, 13:33 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

UPDATE 15 March 2020, 9:47a: The unbanded male peregrine is back. His contest with Terzo is not over!

New male bows with Morela, 15 March 2020, 9:47a

The report below covers Friday 13 March and Saturday 14 March 2020.

Terzo was challenged by an unbanded male peregrine on 10-12 March, but he was clearly in charge at the Cathedral of Learning for two days.

On Friday 13 March Terzo visited the nest five times, often bowing with Morela. His challenger never appeared.

Terzo and Morela, 13 March 2020, 7:41 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
Morela and Terzo bow, 13 March 2020, 18:11 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

By early Friday afternoon Terzo was so confident that his rival was gone that he basked in the sun for 25 minutes, opened his wings, and sometimes turned his back to the sky (photos at top and below, 1:20p-1:46p). Click here for the 26-minute video of Terzo.

Terzo at the nest for more than 20 minutes, 13 March 2020, 13:27
Terzo sunning at the nest, 13 March 2020, 13:31

That night Morela perched at the front of the nest, a sign that she’s feeling egg-y.

On Saturday 14 March, Morela and Terzo’s nest activity increased as seen in the Day In A Minute video below. 15 visits! Terzo in 10 of them. No challenger.

The pair also instituted an unusual courtship display.

Male peregrines always provide food for their mates during courtship but they normally don’t bring it to the nest until there are chicks to feed. However, Morela brought her breakfast with her on 6 March when Terzo called her to bow at the nest.

By Saturday this morphed into Terzo bringing food as Morela waited at the nest. His gifts are small, completely plucked morsels. She accepts them as part of the ritual and after a few bites she takes them elsewhere to eat.

Terzo hands off a gift to Morela at the nest, 14 March 2020, 16:37
Morela with a little gift from Terzo, 14 March 2020, 16:38

Watch the National Aviary falconcam at Univ. of Pittsburgh for the latest developments. The contest will continue until someone wins.

(photos and video from National Aviary falconcam at Univ. of Pittsburgh)

10 thoughts on “Terzo In Charge, Then Challenger Returns

  1. Well, Terzo survived Friday the 13th. Now he faces the Ides of March. Guess if he could also rise above Hope’s insanity, he can overcome this next challenge from Mr X. Does the male power struggle end with egg laying? And we thought this season was gonna be a breeze.

    1. The contests can go on for a while. I’ve even heard of some flaring up when there are 3-week-old young in the nest. Peregrines create their own timelines.

  2. Has Morela been observed mating with the unbanded male? You previously showed some photos of her and Terzo mating on the Dining Ledge. So some eggs are likely to be Terzo’s. Is it possible for Morela to deliver a “mixed” clutch of eggs?

    1. Tom, I have no idea if someone has seen the new male & Morela mating. Pitt is closed due to coronavirus so there aren’t many people around to see anything.

  3. Although my picture is not very clear, I’m pretty sure that I saw two non-banded birds in the nest a couple of times today. Hope it isn’t so but it appears Terzo’s rival is back. Has Terzo been seen today?

  4. Someone on BCAW got a photo today of a 14 year old female with Terzo – assuming she read the bands correctly – Black/Green – M/50.

    1. Kathy, I suspected that Morela had some competition too but a 14-yr-old female??? That’s amazing! Where is she from?

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