Her Name is Carla

Carla, the new female peregrine at Pitt, 15 May 2023, 12:15p (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

16 May 2023

Today’s happy news is that the new female peregrine, Black/Blue S/07, who visited the Cathedral of Learning nestbox on Sunday was back again yesterday for 30 minutes. It was another hot sunny day so of course she decided to sunbathe …

The new female peregrine at Pitt sunbathing on 15 May 2023 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

… but before stretching out in the sun she spent some time looking around. Here are two minutes from her half hour visit.

New peregrine at Pitt, Carla, visits the nest on 15 May 2023 (video from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Watch for her and the resident male, Ecco, on the National Aviary Falconcam at the Cathedral of Learning.

Also yesterday, peregrine fans researched her early days and banding history. Kathy Majich sent me a news article that said S/07 was named “Carla” on Banding Day.

For the eighth consecutive year, falcon father Jamie and mother Moxie squawked loudly and angrily Monday as their baby chicks that hatched atop Indiana Michigan Power Center (IMPC) were briefly removed from their nest to receive identification bands.

The three male chicks were named Bolt, Unity and Artemis, and the one female was named Carla.

… We used the opportunity to invite I&M employees to select the names – and they submitted more than 650 names for consideration.

… [The name] Carla is in recognition of one of I&M’s respected leaders, who is retiring this summer after more than 30 years with the company.

Indiana Michigan Power Press Release: 4 Falcon Chicks Named and Banded at Indiana Michigan Power Center, 19 May 2020

Who is Carla’s namesake? I contacted Tracy Warner in Media Relations at Indiana Michigan Power, a subsidiary of AEP, and he confirmed that Carla the Falcon was named for Carla E. Simpson who retired in the summer of 2020.

Carla Simpson started as a clerk/cashier in 1988 and by the time she retired was a director of the company and listed in the Annual Report.  Interviewed in 2017 for the AEP Retirees newsletter, Carla Simpson said something that really resonates with me.

Q (asked of Carla E. Simpson): What is the biggest challenge you have faced and overcome in your career at AEP?

A: The biggest challenge I have faced as a woman is not being heard at times. Sometimes I can make a suggestion or statement and it is overlooked, but another person may make the same suggestion and be heard. This is a challenge that I have not yet overcome but I am working on it. It sometimes requires me to restate what I said or ask for clarity as to how the other person’s suggestion or statement is different from mine.

AEP’s Outstanding Women: Carla Simpson, March 2017

Check out the full interview here.

We’ve also learned that the Cathedral of Learning was not Carla the Falcon’s first stop in Pittsburgh. In early April Jeff Cieslak tracked down a new pair of peregrines at the West End Bridge, a place where none have ever nested before.

West End Bridge peregrine viewing (Google map marked up by Jeff Cieslak)

The female was banded and by 4 May Jeff finally got a shot of her bands pictured below. Jeff wrote, “This kinda looks like S/01 Black/Blue? Could be green. …. [The bird] flew off and dropped a feather into the river, P5 left, I think, and that pretty much confirms that it’s the female.”

Carla at the West End Bridge, Pittsburgh, PA, 4 May 2023 (photo by Jeff Cieslak)

I can understand why Carla left the West End Bridge for the Cathedral of Learning. In 2020 she hatched on a 27-story building, the Indiana Michigan Power Center.

Indiana Michigan Power Center, Fort Wayne, Indiana (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

She is now preparing for a long stay on a 40-story building, the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning, as seen from Flagstaff Hill in Schenley Park below.

Cathedral of Learning, Univ of Pittsburgh, as seen from Flagstaff Hill in Schenley Park (photo by Kate St. John)

You can watch Carla and her future mate, Ecco, on the National Aviary Falconcam at the Cathedral of Learning. It is probably too late in the season to start nesting so they won’t be on camera frequently. However Carla and Ecco are getting to know each other and that may involve bowing at the nest. Wait and see.

(see photo and video credits in the captions)

9 thoughts on “Her Name is Carla

  1. Welcome Carla from my home state, Indiana! She is cute! I love the white “rings” around her face when you see her head on view. A good mate for poor Ecco.

    1. Janet, we know Carla’s age because she is banded was a chick in 2020 (3 years old now). We do not know Ecco’s age because he was never banded. He showed up in 2020 age age 2 or older so he is at least 5 years or older.

  2. Thank you for deciding to keep her original name! Sounds like her namesake is a strong, determined woman. I love that.

  3. Until this morning, I wasn’t lucky in seeing Carla in the nestbox, but at 7:00, there she is, all fluffed up. She stirred and exposed her leg bracelets. Let us hope that if she is the one to take up residence at the Cathedral, she and Ecco will produce lots of healthy young ones!

    1. Pa Gal, at 8:55am I was at a stoplight facing the CL and saw the pair in courtship flight. Yay!

  4. Oh my! They are moving right along. Happy for them, but sad that we have lost Morela. I liked her a lot.

  5. Didn’t you once mention that Dorothy’s namesake was also an employee at the building where she hatched, parking lot attendant I think?

    1. J, yes I did. Dorothy was named for a parking lot attendant who watched the peregrine family & worked at the building where the nest was located.

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