10 May 2020
Welcome to the strangest peregrine nesting season I’ve ever seen at Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning. Since late February an unbanded male has been challenging Morela’s mate Terzo for ownership of the Pitt nest. Neither male has won and the contest continues, so when Morela didn’t lay eggs by the end of April I thought she never would … until she laid one at 12:42am on Saturday 9 May.
Naturally we wondered, “Who’s the father?”
For peregrines, the biological father doesn’t matter at all but an active participating father is key to egg and chick survival. The male provides food from courtship through brooding, shares incubation duties, and hunts for the entire family after the eggs hatch. A solo female will eventually abandon her eggs if her mate does not return.
Morela has the opposite problem but I figured we’d learn which male is the active father by watching who showed up to examine the egg. They both did.
Terzo visited from 1:38 to 1:43pm on 9 May.
Ecco, the new unbanded male, made several visits in the 5pm and 6pm hours and bowed with Morela.
Here’s a video of his first two visits: 5:38pm and 5:47pm.
Meanwhile, who is feeding Morela? Who will incubate the eggs? Will there be more eggs?
We still don’t know what’s going on, but with your help we’ll find out. Watch the National Aviary falconcam at Univ. of Pittsburgh and let me know what you see.
A big Thank You! goes out to everyone who’s left comments on the activity at the nest. Keep up the good work! It’s much appreciated.
(photos from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
p.s. What an unusual title for Mother’s Day!