15 May 2022
This year Dori, the resident female peregrine in Downtown Pittsburgh, is 16 years old — quite elderly for a wild peregrine falcon. Nonetheless, on 17 April I confirmed incubation at her nest when I spotted a peregrine inside the Third Avenue nest site.
A week later I confirmed that this bird is Dori when I found her perched on Third Avenue on 24 April and read her bands through my scope (Black/green M/93). Unfortunately she obscured half the numbers just before I snapped this photo.
Why was Dori off the nest? Was Terzo incubating while I was there (unseen in the nest)? Or was Terzo not helping at all, similar to his behavior with Morela in 2020?
I got a hint when Steve Mortimer emailed me on 26 April.
Yesterday [25 April 2022], at about noon, I had the windows open. I live in the former Alcoa building in the corner closest to the William Penn Hotel. I kept hearing a bird chirping. It seemed right outside my window. After scanning for a bit I noticed the peregrine on the box gutter of the William Penn Hotel. That wasn’t the caliber of bird I expected from that noise. … This happened over and over again until around 5:30 PM when I spotted a new falcon. Perched higher up on the building. Smaller, sleeker, much more elegant looking. … My noisy neighbor continued in her spot. … She was still there when it was very dark and there was just enough light to barely make her out. I could hear her in the morning through the windows … she took off around 9:30 AM. Moments later I noticed a bird soaring around in the distance. Then two. Then one again. Then none. She hasn’t returned since.— email from Steve Mortimer, 26 April 2022
The unbanded female Steve photographed is bowing to another peregrine. Who?
Steve did not see a second peregrine (male) until much later and only from a distance, labeled “Newcomer” in his diagram.
Two weeks passed with no news.
… and a banded male. He’s Terzo, the resident male in Downtown Pittsburgh.
Here’s a closeup of his bands.
Just like humans, peregrines can see when another of their species is not in tiptop shape. Both Terzo and the unbanded female know that Dori is elderly and, as we know from Dorothy at Pitt in 2015, elderly female peregrines can lay eggs but few are viable and any chicks that hatch have disabilities.
Terzo seems to have changed loyalties. The new female is waiting in the wings. The Downtown peregrines are embroiled in Peyton Place.
(photos by Kate St. John, Steve Mortimer and Amanda Linn @amandolin_)