Pitt Peregrines: A Look Back at 2023

Ecco and Carla bow at the nest 18 May 2023 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

14 January 2024

As we anticipate peregrine nesting season at University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning, let’s take a look back at last year’s highlights. Well actually “low lights.” The nest was not successful last year but the reason why gives us hope for great things for 2024.

Pitt Peregrine Highlights in 2023 (click the links for more detail)

The year began at the Cathedral of Learning with Ecco and Morela, the resident male and female. We hoped for a first egg around St. Patrick’s Day, 17 March.

In early February Morela seemed distracted, obviously checking the sky during a courtship session on the 6th. The distraction continued.

Morela is distracted while Ecco tries to court her, 6 Feb 2023 (photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh)

By 21 March Morela had not laid an egg, yet she disappeared for four days so I wondered if there was a female challenger for the nest. When Morela returned on 25 March the intruder did not stay away. For 4-5 weeks Morela tried without success to lay an egg.

Morela looks ready to lay an egg, 23 April 2023, 6:18am (from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

By May Morela was egg bound and increasingly ill. She disappeared forever on 12 May.

Morela looks ill at Pitt peregrine nest, 8 May 2023 5:34pm (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

On 14 May a banded female peregrine, new to the Cathedral of Learning, showed up on camera. Carla hatched at the Indiana Michigan Power Center (IMPC) Building in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 2020 and flew here on her own. Carla was named when she was banded (Black/Blue S/07).

Though it was too late to start a family in late May, Carla and Ecco have strengthened their pair bond ever since. This 4 minute video from 30 July, sped up to double-time, shows the pair bowing for an extended period. Notice that there was no sound on the video last year. I promise there will be sound this year!

video from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh, 30 July 2023

Carla will nest for the first time this spring as we watch her on the National Aviary’s Falconcam that will begin streaming on 1 February.

Until the stream begins, view the nest from the CL snapshot page and get in practice ahead of time. Click here to learn how to tell Carla and Ecco apart.

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

(credits are in the captions)

One thought on “Pitt Peregrines: A Look Back at 2023

  1. Happened to see two adults on a wire above 28 at the New Ken exit (likely the nesting pair there, yeah?), then a lone one soaring high above the Allegheny as we crossed the 31st Street Bridge today. Lucky weekend!

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