Seen This Week

Sunrise on the last day of Excessive Heat Warning in Pittsburgh, 22 June 2024 (photo by Kate St. John)

22 June 2024

Most of us didn’t see much of the outdoors this week. It was just too hot. Fortunately today is the last day of Pittsburgh’s Excessive Heat Warning. Tomorrow we’ll have rain, thunderstorms and wind, though it will reach 90°F. Certainly hot. Not “Excessive.”

Yesterday while it was 93°F, one of the Pitt peregrine youngsters (“Blue”) tried to beat the heat by resting in the shade at the front of the nest. She opened her wings and gular fluttered (like panting) to cool herself off.

Blue is “panting” at the nest, 21 June 2024, 5:15pm (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Two days earlier her father, Ecco, was sunbathing at noon! The sun’s heat kills feather lice and forces the live bugs off the bird’s back to places where it’s easier to preen them away. After roasting a bit, Ecco spent time preening in the shade.

Ecco sunbathing, 20 June 2024, 12:09pm (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Some day soon (I hope!) it will be pleasant enough to take a walk in the sun as I did on 12 June at Aspinwall Riverfront Park. Every time I go there I look for peregrines but have not found any.

Common mullein at Aspinwall Riverfront Park, 12 June 2024 (photo by Kate St. John)

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