Peregrine News: Good Day at Pitt, Bad Day Downtown?

Morela at the scrape, 5 April 2023, 1:48pm (snapshot from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

6 April 2023

Good news at the Pitt peregrine nest!

After lamenting Wednesday morning that Morela was again distracted and not spending any time at the nest she was there yesterday for nearly 3 hours. She even dug the scrape (where she’ll lay eggs) and stood over it for a minute looking rather pregnant as seen in the video below.

Morela at the scrape, 5 April 2023, 1:48pm (video from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

I slowed down yesterday’s 12-hour timelapse and cut out the empty spaces to create this 2-minute look at Morela’s nearly 3 hours on camera. Notice Ecco perching for an hour in the late afternoon and their 3 bowing sessions. Three!

(video from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

If this keeps up we could see eggs this month. Fingers crossed!

Bad Day for the Downtown Peregrines?

Meanwhile Downtown Pittsburgh’s peregrine pair is already nesting at Third Avenue but something is happening at the Gulf Tower less than half a mile away. Ann Hohn, whose Make-A-Wish office is near the unused Gulf Tower nest, emailed me yesterday:

There is something going on up here. Two falcons are buzzing the building and one of them lands and chirps at the other and then they buzz the building (or each other) again. Been going on for a few hours. This doesn’t appear to be the juvenile that was here the other day. Video is the chirper. Turn up volume.

Kate – no bands on this bird.

— email from Ann Hohn, 5 April 2023

Here’s Ann’s photo of the dark-plumage peregrine seen the other day at the Gulf Tower. At the time we thought this was juvenile plumage but notice the horizontal stripes on the legs, the sign of an adult.

Dark plumage peregrine at the Gulf Tower, approx 3 April 2023 (photo by Ann Hohn)

Yesterday’s “chirper” peregrine is dark colored, too, and loud enough to be heard through double-pane windows.

(video by Ann Hohn via YouTube)

Birds of the World explains that this sound “in wild birds, is given during aerial encounters with conspecific intruders around nest site.” The chirper must be telling another peregrine to go away.

Chances are that this event was an encounter between an intruder and a member of the Downtown pair. Is one of them this very stripe-y female, seen last May with Terzo at BNY Mellon? There’s no way to know. None of them are banded.

Unbanded adult female seen with Terzo at BNY Mellon, 11 May 2022 (photo by Amanda Linn)

My hope is that Downtown’s troubles don’t fly over to Oakland and distract Morela and Ecco again. Additional fingers crossed!

Stay tuned to the National Aviary Falconcam at the Cathedral of Learning to find out what happens next.

(yesterday’s Downtown photo and video by Ann Hohn, last year photo by Amanda Linn, Cathedral of Learning photo and videos from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

5 thoughts on “Peregrine News: Good Day at Pitt, Bad Day Downtown?

  1. I feel like it’s a good thing that we have so many falcons that they are arguing over territory. Am I actually right?

  2. No shortage of drama at both sites in recent years. If another falcon or pair is trying to claim the Gulf Tower nest, I’m guessing that would be too close for comfort for whoever is nesting at the 3rd Ave. site. Is the camera still active so it can be checked to see if anyone is actually visiting the nest box?

    And speaking of cameras, is something wrong with the infrared light on the Cathedral of Learning camera? The amount of illumination at night seems to be somewhat inconsistent but mostly darker than I remember it being in years past. Someone (I’m guessing Morela) was snoozing on the front perch as of a few minutes ago though.

    1. The camera at Gulf Tower has been off for several years. Ann Hohn can see the nest box outside her window and let’s me know if there’s activity, hence the photo & video.
      The camera at Pitt has two issues — inoperable infrared light & scratchy microphone — which have been problems off & on for the past 2 years. Every year we forget about them in the off season when we could actually fix them. I’ll put them on my calendar right now!

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