No Eggs This Year

Morela at the Cathedral of Learning nest, 12 April 2020, 11:09 (snapshot from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

What an unusual year! Not only are we dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic but, on a less important level, Morela has not laid eggs at the Cathedral of Learning peregrine nest and I don’t think she will this year. I would never have predicted this.

I have no idea what happened but I do know that Morela looks healthy and active with good feather quality. If she was egg bound she would look ill and move slowly. (I have seen an egg bound peregrine on camera: Dorothy in 2014.) Notice how active Morela is in this Day In A Minute video from Sunday 12 April, 7am-7pm.

Meanwhile Terzo no longer visits the nest but I’m sure he is around. A male peregrine is providing Morela with food which she sometimes eats at the nest. She sees him, calls and bows, but he won’t come court with her.

I have a story in my head that has no basis in fact, but I will tell you anyway. I like to think that the wailing in the dark on 8 April was Terzo telling Morela that he wanted her to lay an egg. She asks for courtship? He’s done with that! … By the way, my story is wrong. Click here to find out what’s really going on.

2021 should be a better year on many levels. I’m hoping that a happy family at the Pitt peregrine nest will be one of them.

p.s. With very little on camera, I’m rarely checking the Cathedral of Learning nest. If something exciting happens, let me know.

UPDATE 15 April 2020: Folks have pointed out that two different males visited the nest with Morela in the 2p-3p hour. The ongoing conflict would explain why she hasn’t laid eggs. I’ll look for the footage later.

(photo and video from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

21 thoughts on “No Eggs This Year

  1. Wailing usually means distress, the territorial dispute may not be settled to Terzo”s satisfaction yet. We aren’t seeing what is going on out there. There is still time for eggs, I’ve seen them laid late April. I know it’s hard but they may yet surprise us.

  2. I continue to watch the nest, and like you, Kate, haven’t seen much of Terzo lately. I’m not sure of the last time I saw him but would guess it was at least a few days ago. His visits were so quick, maybe a minute or less, that catching him on screen was difficult. If I see him, I’ll post the time.

    FYI – Dorothy’s daughter, Beauty, has laid four eggs. She and her partner are together again atop the Times Square building in Rochester, NY.

  3. So the wailing was Terzo’s broken heart at not becoming a father or maybe he is s was that Hope left him and now he is stuck with Morela. ….

    1. Lk, I wouldn’t go so far as to say his heart is broken. I prefer to think of him being annoyed. 😉

  4. Dear Kate sorry to hear that Morela and Terzo won’t have eggs this year, but I have learned something this year that nature can surprise us. Because I also watch eagles and I live in Florida and the eagles that live at DIck Pritchett Real Estate Office they lost 1 eaglet and 1 egg and Harriet laid a second clutch and everyone was surprised and the 2 eaglets hatched about a week ago. So I won’t give up hope that there still could be eggs. Thanks have a very good day and be safe.

    1. Geraldine, thanks for your encouraging words. I hope you’re right and that my assumption is wrong.

  5. I think Morela is waiting to see the outcome of Terzo and other male’s claim before she lays eggs. Morella’s instinct tells her that she will need a male to bring food to the nest to feed her chicks and help brood them while she stretches her wings. She does not need the males to be preoccupied with fighting each other at hatching time. Despite Terzo’s pleas, it is obvious that the males seem evenly matched and neither one is willing to concede. The unbanded male bringing food to the nest might count more than Terzo’s pleas.

  6. If neither male peregrine gets the upper talon, maybe they will form a cooperative threesome like those three bald eagles on the upper Mississippi River in Illinois?

  7. 6:56 pm Tuesday, Morelia is in the box chipping, sitting on prey. She chips for a while the closes her eyes and is quiet. Then starts chipping again.

  8. Wednesday from about 12:30 to 1:10 pm (quit watching), Morela in the box. Quiet and closed her eyes often. Around 12:50, perked up and moved to the perch. “Calling” and looking in the sky at 1:00.

  9. Was looking forward to seeing babies with a new mate. Morela needs space. Between the two males it is pandomania? Shame

  10. Oh my goodness, hope springs eternal. At 2:17 pm Terzo and Morela are bowing together in the nest. I hadn’t seen him in quite some time so this visit made me smile. Happy to see that he is still around and looking good.

  11. 3:05 PM Wednesday- Was watching the Falcon cam and Morela is looking like she may lay an egg soon. She did a lot of the signs just now at the egg box. She was also with a that is not banded . I’m not sure but they may have Mated. Kate, my advice is to start watching closely cause she may lay an egg soon.

    1. I checked in on the camera and see that she is bowing and ee-chupping (to another peregrine). In the background I heard a peregrine wail.

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