Keep Looking for Peregrines: 4 Weeks To Go

Peregrine falcon at opening to Third Ave nest, 10 March 2024 (photo by Kate St. John)

11 March 2024

Two weeks ago I issued the Southwestern PA Peregrine Challenge — Look for Peregrines in the Next 6 Weeks. The challenge won’t end in early/mid April but it will be a lot harder to find peregrines when they become secretive at their nests. We have 4 weeks before that happens. Meanwhile we have preliminary results. (See news after the map.)

The map below shows peregrine site observations in the past two weeks. The map has a …

  • Yellow checkmark = a pair was seen,
  • Yellow line = solo bird (We need to check again)
  • Yellow circle = NO ONE LOOKED HERE.

Notice the yellow circles. Ohio Valley birders, the challenge is on!

Don’t stop looking where you see a checkmark. There’s a spreadsheet at the end with site names and details.

Peregrine falcon pairs/nests in southwestern PA as of 10 Feb 2024 (map by Kate St. John)

Meanwhile, GOOD JOB!

Downtown Pittsburgh: (photo at top) Yesterday, 10 March 2024, I stopped by the Third Avenue nest site in Downtown Pittsburgh and found a peregrine at home.

Cathedral of Learning, Univ of Pittsburgh: Carla’s new behavior is a good sign. Last weekend she initiated courtship at the nest and Ecco brought her breakfast on camera. Watch the Pitt peregrines online at the National Aviary Falconcam at the University of Pittsburgh.

Carla and Ecco at the Cathedral of Learning nest (video from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

East Liberty Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh: Many birders have confirmed the peregrine pair in East Liberty including videos from Adam Knoerzer at Pittsburgh Falconuts Facebook group and this ebird photo by Malcolm Kurtz. I visited on 4 March and found both birds on the steeple. Where and when will they nest?

62nd Street / Highland Park / Aspinwall Bridges (Allegheny County): No photos but on 8 March Justin Kolakowski reported at Six Mile Island, “Watched as a male and female pair chased off a Bald Eagle that was flying upriver, and then perched on the water tower.” (Six Mile Island is between the 62nd and Highland Park Bridges.)

Tarentum Bridge (Allegheny-Westmoreland County line): Dave Brooke, Meredith Cellitti, Dick Nugent and I have all visited the site in the past two weeks. On 7 March I confirmed incubation with the photo below. Hatch is expected in mid-April.

Female peregrine incubating at the Tarentum Bridge nest, 7 March 2024 (photo by Kate St. John)

Rt 422 Graff Bridge over the Allegheny River, Kittanning: Hooray for Dave Brooke! He found a peregrine here on 25 February.

Peregrine at the Graff Bridge, 25 Feb 2024 (photo by Dave Brooke)

Westinghouse Bridge: Hooray for Dana Nesiti who found both peregrines at home on 3 March.

Peregrine at Westinghouse Bridge, 3 March 2024 (photo by Dana Nesiti)
Second peregrine at Westinghouse Bridge, 3 March 2024 (photo by Dana Nesiti)

Speers/Belle Vernon Bridge: Kudos again to Dana Nesiti for finding a peregrine at the Speers/Belle Vernon bridge on 25 February. This site had not been viewed since May 2023.

Peregrine at Speers/Belle Vernon Bridge, 25 February 2024 (photo by Dana Nesiti)

4 Weeks To Go!

There’s still time to look for peregrines before they get sneaky in early/mid April. Visit one or more of these sites and let me know what you see. Leave a comment with sightings or questions.

(photo credits are in the captions)

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