Peregrine Goings On in Early December

12 December 2021

The Cathedral of Learning peregrines remain on campus all winter, keeping tabs on their territory making it safe for future nesting.

On Friday I saw an adult red-tailed hawk circling up over the museum and thought for his sake, “You’re asking for it!” Sure enough, both peregrines popped off the Cathedral of Learning and zoomed down to relentlessly dive on the hawk until he flew low between buildings at Carnegie Mellon.

Scaffolding has been rising at Heinz Chapel but I paid no attention until a peregrine found it interesting. On Wednesday 8 December I noticed a dot on the top rung. Through binoculars I identified Morela checking out the new view (circled).

What’s that dot on top of Heinz Chapel scaffolding? A peregrine! 8 Dec 2021 (photos by Kate St. John)

Meanwhile Morela and Ecco are thinking of spring even though the winter solstice is more than a week away. Their abbreviated bonding rituals are becoming more elaborate as they bow they turn their heads, nearly touch beaks. Both have been digging the scrape(*) and Morela sometimes pauses to stand in it.

Here’s a selection of their goings on in early December.

  • Ecco waits for Morela to arrive

p.s. The scrape (*) is the depression in the gravel where Morela will lay her eggs.

(photos by Kate St. John and from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

6 thoughts on “Peregrine Goings On in Early December

  1. Not sure if it’s a peregrine but I’ve (twice now) seen someone perched on the top of the arches of the Aspinwall Railroad Bridge over the Allegheny.

    1. Thank you for the heads up, Andrew. I went over on Sunday afternoon to check the bridge but of course there was nothing there at the time. Keep me posted!

    1. I haven’t seen any activity on the bridge until right now. There are two possible peregrines on the bridge right now. I don’t have binoculars to confirm but they definitely aren’t ravens (which is what previously seemed to control the bridge).

    2. Latest update: No peregrine sightings at the Aspinwall Railroad Bridge. However, this afternoon while looking at the river from the park I saw a bald eagle (!!!) trying to fish in the river while being harassed by a gull. The eagle gave up and went to perch in a tree along the opposite bank. I waited a good 15 min or so to see if the eagle would come out again but no dice.

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