Pitt Peregrines Near the Solstice

Morela and Ecco bow to each other on Christmas Eve 2021 (photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh)

26 December 2021

Around the winter solstice the Pitt peregrines are well aware the days are shorter. They make the most of every minute.

For instance, on 19 December they bowed at the nest at 9:45am.

Then Morela shook off some downy feathers and preened for half an hour.

In mid afternoon 50 pigeons poured off the top ledge of this building in such a tight ball that I suspected a peregrine had caused it. Not just one peregrine. There were two! Morela and Ecco were cooperatively hunting, a sign of their close pair bond.

Pitt peregrine hunting zone, December 2021

Morela dove to break the flock’s ball while Ecco chased the loners that missed rejoining the group. This went on for at least 20 minutes with so many near misses that I began to think the peregrines were having fun as they worked together for their dinner. When it was over the pigeons drifted back to the ledge, unconcerned.

The pigeons are improving their flying skills. So are the peregrines.

p.s. Morela spent more than two hours preening and hanging out at the nest on Wednesday 22 December and the pair bowed together on Christmas Eve (at top). On sunny days check the snapshot camera to see if she’s there. Unfortunately we’re in for several days of rain this week.

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

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