28 June 2022
This morning at around 10:30am Red Boy, the juvenile male from this year’s Pitt peregrine nest, was found dead on the runway at the Allegheny County Airport, apparently hit by a plane. Game Warden Doug Bergman called with his band numbers Black/Green 03/BZ and the fact that he still had the red tape on his USFW band that gave him the nickname “Red Boy.”
Red Boy was always inquisitive and ready to go. He was the first to fledge and the first to leave home around 17 June. On the map he flew 6+ miles due south and found a place with plenty of birds that are easy to catch when they fly across the runways.
Red Boy was already on his big adventure. Unfortunately, he had no idea how quickly a plane could overtake him.
Sad as this is it is not unexpected. Young peregrines have a 62.5% mortality rate in their first year of life. Read more at Musings on Peregrine Mortality.
p.s. The lack of news about equipment damage leads me to believe that the plane was fine after the encounter … but see the comment from Dick Rhoton.
(photos by Kate St. John and from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh)