Look for Peregrines in the Next 6 Weeks

Peregrine pair at Tarentum Bridge, 19 Feb 2024 (photo by Dave Brooke)

25 February 2024

From now until the middle of April peregrine falcons in southwestern Pennsylvania are courting and claiming territory, perching prominently, and performing conspicuous aerial displays. As soon as they start incubating eggs they’ll become very secretive so if you want to see a peregrine or record breeding activity for the new Breeding Bird Atlas 2024-2029, this is a great time to do it.

Look for peregrines in the next 6 weeks.

The red and blue pin drops, 1 Dec 2023 — 24 Feb 2024, on the eBird map below confirm that the best places to look are near tall buildings or bridges. There are also a few surprising locations such as Mammoth Lake Park in Westmoreland County.

Peregrine sightings in Southwestern PA, 1 Dec 2023 to 25 Feb 2024 (screenshot from eBird Explore)

11 peregrine territories have pairs present since January. Here’s the simpler map.

Peregrine falcon pairs in southwestern PA as of 25 Feb 2024 (map by Kate St. John)

Of those 11 sites, five raised young last year and two more have a long history of nesting (7 boldface names below). The new and promising sites are boldface in the Notes column.

Peregrine Sites to Watch!

Looking for some excitement? Want to add Peregrine Falcon to the PA Breeding Bird Atlas? Check out these “hopefuls” for 2024.

Rt. 40 Bridge in West Brownsville, PA (Washington County). New nest (to us) last year, will they use it this year? Click here to read about this nest.

Female peregrine clutching prey and shouting, West Brownsville Lane Bane Bridge, 26 May 2023 (photo by Jeff Cieslak)

East Liberty Presbyterian Church in the City of Pittsburgh. Very hopeful signs at this site! Click here to read all about it.

Location of peregrine focus (potential nest site) at East Liberty Presbyterian Church, 12 Feb 2024 (photo by Adam Knoerzer)

West End Bridge over the Ohio River, Pittsburgh. This site often has pairs but no indication of nesting … yet. Click here to read all about it.

Sewickley Bridge over the Ohio River. This site also has pairs but no confirmation of nesting yet.

Peregrine at Sewickley Bridge 11 March 2023 (photo by Jeff Cieslak)

Monaca bridges over the Ohio River: RR Bridge or Rt51 Bridge. We know there are peregrines here but it’s hard to confirm breeding. Let this be a challenge to you!

Peregrine at Monaca RR Bridge, 9 Jan 2023 (photo by Jeff Cieslak)

Rt 422 Graff Bridge over the Allegheny River, Kittanning. We know there are peregrines here too, but with few observers we often don’t confirm breeding. Allegheny Valley People, let this be a challenge to you!

And … if you miss finding a peregrine in person you can usually count on a peregrine on camera at the Cathedral of Learning. Today they courted at dawn.

Carla and Ecco bow at dawn at the Cathedral of Learning, today — 25 Feb 2024, 6:52am (snapshot from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Keep your eyes peeled. Yes, there are peregrines out there!

Please leave a comment if you’ve seen anything. I always want to know!

(photo credits are in the captions)

2 thoughts on “Look for Peregrines in the Next 6 Weeks

  1. Last week my grandchildren told me about watching a large “hawk” in their neighborhood devour a pigeon. I was astonished to see their photo–it was a Peregrine. This happened at 1400 Fifth Ave, Arnold, PA. I assume it’s coming from the Tarentum bridge which isn’t too far from there for a bird.

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