22 October 2021
Last year’s work-from-home COVID restrictions kept most University of Pittsburgh faculty, staff and students away from campus. The peregrines could perch anywhere on the Cathedral of Learning with no one to see. Now everyone is back and the peregrines are observing people inside the building. On Tuesday morning Morela looked into Dr. Alan Juffs’ window from a favorite dining ledge where he first saw her back in 2019.
The peregrines eat at this perch but also cache food for future meals. When Morela left the ledge, Juffs photographed some cached prey.
Mike Fialkovich helped me identify the two birds in this pile. On the left an American woodcock, on the right an eastern meadowlark.
Neither of these prey species lands on campus because both require wilder habitats. American woodcocks live in young forests and shrubby fields, meadowlarks require grasslands. However both are migrating over the Cathedral of Learning this month. They migrate at night.
Peregrines capture their prey in flight so to catch these birds they would have been hunting at night in the glow of the city lights.
By Thursday morning the meadowlark had been eaten, the woodcock was still cached.
(photos by Dr. Alan Juffs, University of Pittsburgh)