The New Pitt Falconcam is Live!

Ecco and Carla touch beaks as they bow at the Pitt peregrine nest, 5 Jan 2024 (image from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

1 February 2024

Today the National Aviary’s new peregrine falconcam at the Cathedral of Learning has begun live streaming for the 2024 nesting season.  If you’ve followed the stream in prior years you’ll find that this new camera is great for watching Ecco and Carla as they court and raise a family. Click here and scroll down to watch.

Last September the 10 year old camera died after limping for years with a broken microphone and infrared light. It took us a while to notice (no one was watching) so the timing was fortunate. We had three months to get advice on cameras, choose a model, install it and learn how to use it before streaming began.

Long time peregrine fan Kim Getz coordinated the project for Pitt I.T. and it all came together on installation day. Lighthouse Electric removed the old equipment, ran wires, and installed the new microphone and camera. Kim volunteered to clean the nestbox and re-secure the green perches with zip ties. She gives a thumbs up to the snapshot camera when she’s done. Thankfully the peregrines did not harass the crew.

The new camera is quite an improvement over the old one with sharper focus, better reach, and of course audio and infrared night light. The nest view is narrower because it’s a tight space and this camera is about 2 inches closer due to the length of the wall mount arm. (All the new cameras have longer arms nowadays.)

Though we cannot change the camera view when the adult peregrines are present — it spooks them! — the presets in the slideshow below will come in handy when the young explore the gully, the nestrail, and the nestbox roof. The slides begin with Ecco preening on the green perch. Kim ran the camera through its paces when no peregrines were around.

What can we expect on camera this season? Last year was a disappointment with no peregrine eggs and chicks because the female, Morela, became egg bound and died in mid May. Two days after Morela disappeared a banded female peregrine, Carla (Black/Blue S/07, Fort Wayne, IN, 2020), arrived on site and has been there ever since. Late May was too late to nest in 2023 so this year will be Carla’s first nesting season.

Carla and Ecco have been courting and bowing since they met last year and are intensifying their attachment this winter. They bowed and touched beaks last month in these snapshots taken before streaming began. When you watch them in full screen you’ll see tiny bones on the gravel and be able to read Carla’s bands.

Thank You to everyone who helped make this project a success, especially …

  • The National Aviary and their Ornithologist Bob Mulvihill, whose commitment to broadcasting the Pitt peregrines’ nest has provided us with a new camera.
  • Pitt I.T. who assigned Kim Getz to manage the project and provided additional tech assistance. Kim’s knowledge, dedication, and connections within the University made everything flow smoothly.
  • Pitt’s Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences, Department of Biological Sciences and Rory Carroll, sponsors of the falconcam within the University.
  • Charles Eldermire at Cornell Bird Cams for advice on camera models and Cornell’s experience with their features.

Click here and scroll down to watch the National Aviary Falconcam at the Cathedral of Learning.

It’s Peregrine Season!

p.s. For those of you following my southern Africa trip, today is the day I leave Africa on a 33.5 hour journey home (flights + layovers). I am spending most of my time in the upper troposphere.

One thought on “The New Pitt Falconcam is Live!

  1. Yes!! Wonderful news on the new cameras. Looking forward to a successful nesting season with these beautiful birds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *