21 May 2023
Just one week ago the new female peregrine, Carla, appeared on camera at the Cathedral of Learning. Since then she and the resident male, Ecco, have been courting every day, sometimes as often as 10 times a day, and Carla has shown an interest in the scrape.
Now that these two are a permanent couple how do we tell them apart? Here are some tips for comparing and identifying each bird.
Banded: The easiest clue is that Carla is banded and Ecco is not.
Coloration: Carla’s chest has tiny dark flecks. Ecco’s chest is pure white.
Carla’s back is nearly uniform charcoal brown while Ecco’s back shows light-dark contrast between his paler gray back and black wingtips and tail.
Size: Male peregrines are 1/3 smaller than females. Carla is always the bigger bird as shown in photo at top. Compared to Ecco, Carla’s body is longer and she is bulkier. If only one bird is on camera, compare it to the size of the nestbox or camera view.
And now we’re ready for a quiz. See if you can identify who is who.
The more we watch Carla and Ecco the better we’ll get at identifying them.
(photos from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)