10 May 2021
Western Pennsylvania peregrine families are very active at this time of year but we often don’t see it. In May the parents are feeding hungry chicks but the chicks are typically hidden from view. At most sites we won’t know if a nest is successful until the chicks appear — loudly — when they’re about to fledge in late May or early June. Right now I have news from only 4 (boldface) of our 11 regional sites.
- Pittsburgh: Cathedral of Learning, Allegheny County
- Pittsburgh: Downtown, Allegheny County
- Monongahela Watershed: Westinghouse Bridge, Allegheny County
- Monongahela River: Speers Railroad Bridge, Washington County
- Ohio River: McKees Rocks Bridge, Allegheny County,
- Ohio River: Neville Island Bridge, NO PEREGRINES DUE TO CONSTRUCTION
- Ohio River: Ambridge-Aliquippa Bridge, Beaver County, NO PEREGRINES SEEN FOR SEVERAL WEEKS
- Ohio River: Monaca Railroad Bridge, Beaver County
- Allegheny River: 62nd Street to Aspinwall Railroad Bridge, NO PEREGRINES NOW
- Allegheny River: Tarentum Bridge, Allegheny & Westmoreland Counties
- Allegheny River: Rt 422 Graff Bridge Kittanning, Armstrong County
Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh:
Yesterday the chicks were 14 days old (2 weeks): Their second down is long and fluffy and pin feathers are beginning to emerge at wing tips and tail. The chicks walk around on their tarsi and sit like white Buddhas.
In good weather their parents guard them from the nestrail (bulwark) above the nest. I’ve put yellow V’s on the photo below to show Ecco’s typical perch on the left and Morela’s in the center. When on the bulwark they are not visible on camera but you can see them with binoculars from Schenley Plaza.
Watch the family at the nest on the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh.
We know that the Downtown peregrines are nesting at Third Avenue this spring (yellow arrow) even though it’s impossible to see into the nest from the street. The best vantage point is from the sidewalk on Mt. Washington near the incline. Use a scope.
When they’re ready to fledge we can see them at Third Avenue.
Meanwhile, though the Gulf Tower nestbox is not in use an immature peregrine showed up on 4 May to have a look at the building. Photo by Ann Hohn at Make-a-Wish.
Monongahela Watershed: Westinghouse Bridge
The Westinghouse Bridge peregrines must be too busy to show themselves. Dana Nesiti visited the site yesterday and said, “[It] Took a while to find one of the falcons. It then flew to one of the arches and was hanging out. Didn’t hear any calls.”
Allegheny River, Tarentum Bridge:
On Saturday May 8 Dave Brooke stopped by 1st Avenue in Tarentum to film the Tarentum Bridge peregrines during a feeding. Click on the photo or caption above to see Dave’s video.
The three chicks already have “faces,” a trait that appears at 3 weeks old. Art McMorris estimates they are 18-20 days old. This means they are likely to fledge around 27 May 2021. Be sure to visit Tarentum before they go.
(photos by National Aviary falconcam at Cathedral of Learning, Kate St. John, Dana Nesiti, Dave Brooke)