This morning it was raining when I woke up at 4am and saw this snapshot of Morela wide awake and hunched over the scrape. What was she doing?
I pulled the 4am video and found out she was listening intently and sometimes ee-chupping to a peregrine wailing in the dark.
Ee-chupping is a greeting to a potential or current mate. Wailing means “I want [unknown something] to change.” Morela was speaking to a male peregrine and a male peregrine was wailing. We don’t know who was wailing and we don’t know why.
At this point I doubt there will be a peregrine egg at the Cathedral of Learning this year though Morela has been trying. This short video from Sunday 5 April 2020 at 6am shows her pulsing her vent. It looks as if her plumbing is stopped up.
We are left with more questions than answers.
Who was wailing and why?
Is Morela egg bound? Is she feeling ill?
Is Terzo still at the Cathedral of Learning or did the other male peregrine take over?
What will happen next with Terzo, Morela and whoever else might be at the Cathedral of Learning?
One of my favorite YouTube stars is Petra the African grey parrot who is so smart that she carries on conversations. Here she asks Google a question.
African greys are the smartest birds but they’re not the only parrots that can mimic humans voices. How do parrots speak like humans when they don’t have the same equipment we have, such as lips and teeth, to form words? The video below shows how.
p.s. I’m sure you noticed that the parrot-speaking video ended abruptly when a woman began to talk. She’s going to promote the WIX website tool but it looks as if she’s going to talk about parrots. She doesn’t. It’s very confusing! So here’s her promo and her link to WIX.
(screenshot from Petra Grey video. To watch the videos on YouTube, click on the word YouTube at bottom right after the video begins)
Peregrine news is sparse this year because we are (and should be!) staying close to home to stop the spread of COVID-19. Fortunately Dana Nesiti is monitoring the Westinghouse Bridge where he photographs the peregrines despite very poor lighting.
On 1 April Dana confirmed there’s a new pair at Westinghouse — an unbanded male and a banded female — when he captured clear images of the female’s bands.
Spring keeps coming to Pittsburgh in fits and starts. In the last week we’ve gone from +22 F degrees above normal (29 March) to -3 F degrees below normal (31 March) and yet the flowers and leaves keep coming.
To illustrate I took two photos of the same sedge in Schenley Park. The buds on 27 March burst open two days later in 77 degree heat.
Leaves are starting to pop, too. Yellow buckeyes (Aesculus flava) have their first leaves …
… and these reddish, toothed, compound leaves are opening on shrubs along West Circuit Road in Schenley Park. It’s a cultivated alien I can’t identify.
There are also flowers in the trees: Northern magnolia, crabapple buds, blooming (invasive) Callery pear, and flowering cherry.
I am so grateful that Schenley Park is still open.
As we shelter indoors, wildlife is reclaiming our neighborhoods faster than we thought possible. Limpkins in Florida, deer in Pittsburgh, and wild boars in Italy!
Limpkins in Florida:
Now that human activity has slowed in Boca Raton, my sister-in-law says that limpkins have moved into the neighborhoods and are shouting all night to attract mates and establish territories. If you’ve never heard a limpkin you’d think it’s a human in distress and you might call 911. Ooops! It’s a bird. Limpkins are a thrill to birders but annoying if you’re trying to sleep. Here’s what one looks and sounds like from 2012. You can hear other limpkins in the distance.
Deer in Pittsburgh:
Deer are getting bolder and coming out during the day now that Pittsburghers are not outdoors. Yesterday, 31 March, Donna Foyle found a family group right next to a front porch in Brentwood.
The last day of March was another confusing day at the Cathedral of Learning peregrine nest. Morela courted with two mates — Terzo and the unbanded male — yet she still has not laid an egg, though she looked as if she was ready to do it the day before.
Yesterday’s Day In A Minute video shows 12 hours of the revolving door, 7a-7p, in only a minute. It sure looks busy!
Thanks to all of you who’ve reported nest activity, we have a partial picture of what’s going on. I’m sure we’ve missed something.
6:43a Terzo before dawn (Kate St. John)
8:25a Unbanded male (Pa Gal)
10:46a Terzo (Kate St. John)
11:47a Unbanded male (J)
12:30p seen from Schenley Park: male peregrine on lightning rod of CL while Morela at nest (Kate St. John)
2:10p Terzo (Pa Gal & Mary Ann Pike)
2:23p – 2:53p Terzo alone (Mary Ann Pike, Pa Gal, Luann Walz, John English)
3:56p Terzo (Pa Gal)
At this point the males have reached a stalemate. They chase each other but neither one wins.
The parks have been our solace in these troubled times but EVERYONE must obey the COVID-19 rules or Pittsburgh’s parks will close as they have in other cities.
A message from the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, 31 March 2020:
Pittsburgh, it’s in our hands to keep the parks open. We have to follow the guidelines set by the City of Pittsburgh, our national government, and the CDC.
Be safe in #PittsburghParks – practice physical distancing (6-8 feet) – wash your hands before and after a park visit – avoid surfaces: benches, railings, fences, exercise equipment – playgrounds are closed – no contact sports – no playdates in parks for kids – no pavilions – park facilities and amenities will be closed – no restrooms, water fountains, etc. – if you are experiencing symptoms stay home!