It’s Been 10 Years

Morela feeds 4 chicks, 28 April 2021, 6:52pm (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

30 April 2021

If you’ve been following the Pitt peregrines for a couple of years you know that this nesting season is very special. We are watching good, attentive parents raising four healthy chicks.

It’s been 10 years since we’ve had a normal nesting season with a large family at the Cathedral of Learning. The last time was in 2011 when Dorothy and E2 raised four chicks.

Dorothy with Four Fluffy Chicks in 2011

Dorothy was twelve years old that year and at the pinnacle of her breeding success. As she aged her fertility declined to zero, 2012-2015. She was replaced by Hope, the aberrant female peregrine who killed and ate some of her chicks every year, 2016-2019. Morela replaced Hope in late 2019 but last year, 2020, was a failure because of Terzo and Ecco’s unresolved competition. Ecco triumphed in February 2021.

This year we have a happy family. Enjoy this 12-minute video of Morela feeding her chicks on Wednesday 28 April 2021 at 1:00pm. As the video opens, Ecco has already handed off prey to Morela and is guarding the chicks until she returns.

In case you miss the feedings, rest assured that the chicks are fed seven times a day. Watch for the feedings from 5:30am (before dawn) through 7:00pm in this Day-in-a-Minute video on 28 April. NOTE: It was so hot that day (81 degrees F) that Morela draped her wings over the chicks.

This table shows the history, 2011-2021.

Peregrine Nesting Success at Cathedral of Learning, 2011-2021

YearPeregrine PairChicks FledgedNotes
2011Dorothy & E24 chicks
2012Dorothy & E23
2013Dorothy & E212 of 5 eggs hatched, 1 died
2014Dorothy & E20Dorothy was eggbound
2015Dorothy & E21 disabled chick
2016Hope & Terzo14 eggs: 2 killed + 1 died on its own
2017Hope & Terzo34 eggs: 1 killed
2018Hope & Terzo24 eggs: 2 killed
2019Hope & Terzo25 eggs: 2 killed, 1 unhatched
2020Morela, Terzo, Ecco02 eggs, not incubated
2021Morela & Ecco4 chicks(not fledged yet as of 4/30/2021)

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

8 thoughts on “It’s Been 10 Years

  1. It seems like the microphone is working this morning. I haven’t heard anything up to now, but I can hear Ecco wailing off camera, and Morela is watching. I can hear traffic too. Still some static sounds, but that could be from the wind today.

  2. It is truly wonderful to have a happy family again. Morela is a wonderful mom! Her calls are so much quieter than Hope’s too! My goodness she was a shrieker!

  3. My goodness….as awful as it was, I do NOT remember Hope and Terzo having 4 seasons together. Perhaps because it was so awful. ….. I am so thankful for the new couple, and the doting parents.

  4. Congratulations ! It’s so nice to see this precious clutch of 4 at our Beauty’s birthplace after the past several years of sadness there.

  5. Will definitely enjoy watching these cuties grow and thrive. Both parents are doing an awesome job keeping them well fed and safe. Outcome looks very promising to have 4 beautiful birds survive and eventually fledge the nest.

  6. I remember watching Dorothy huddled up in the nest box when she was egg bound and how loving she was with her disabled chick. I watched in horror as I realized Hope was eating her chick. The second time I saw her do that I had to back off watching. She was something else. Very happy for this new family but where does the time go?

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