Pitt’s peregrine family is in for some excitement this morning when the chicks are banded around 10am. During the banding the National Aviary’s streaming falconcam will be off.
Peregrine banding is unusual now that the species has been removed from Pennsylvania’s Endangered/Threatened Species list in 2021. Fortunately the Cathedral of Learning is one of three sites that continue as part of the PA Game Commission’s Peregrine Falcon Management Plan.
Visits to the three high-profile building nests, University of Pittsburgh Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh, Rachel Carson State Office Building in Harrisburg, and City Hall in Philadelphia, will continue after delisting to evaluate nestling health and verify nesting results and band young. These sites already foster high public interest and provide an excellent opportunity to continue engaging the public. They learn about the challenges and successes when recovering an endangered species. As well as the decision needed to make a difference and the importance of their stewardship in conservation.
When the streaming falconcam restarts after the banding, the chicks will be back in the nest with identification “bracelets” on their legs. Thanks to their bands we will have the opportunity to follow these chicks as adults.
Tomorrow, 14 May 2022, we’ll celebrate World Migratory Bird Day by counting birds on one of the biggest migration days of the year.
Like the Christmas Bird Count, Global Big Day is an opportunity to go birding and share the birds you find with eBird. Unlike the Christmas Count it happens on a single day each year, and it can be hectic because birds are on the move and there are so many of them!
Participating is easy—you can even be part of Global Big Day from home. If you can spare 5 or 10 minutes, report your bird observations to eBird online or with our free eBird Mobile app. If you have more time, submit several checklists of birds throughout the day. Your observations help us better understand global bird populations through products like these animated abundance maps brought to you by eBird Science.
Thirteen of us came out for a walk in Schenley Park on Sunday morning and were thrilled to hear a wood thrush singing near the Visitors Center. The bird was hard to spot in the treetops but CJ Showers got a photo of him from below.
Two First of Year species had just returned: yellow warbler and gray catbird. Male red-winged blackbirds claimed territory and chased females at Panther Hollow Lake, while two spotted sandpipers sidestepped bullfrogs among the reeds.
The red-tailed hawk family on the bridge appears to have babies in the nest, though we could not see them.
And a surprise awaited us around the bend.
Sara Showers saw the profile of this fledgling eastern screech owl perched at eye level on a hackberry branch. Though he wasn’t hidden he was doing his best to look like part of the tree until we gawked at him. That made him raise his ear tufts and look at us through slit eyes.
Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA, Apr 24, 2022 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM. 30 species Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 4 Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica) 2 Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius) 2 Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) 1 — Flyover Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 2 Eastern Screech-Owl (Megascops asio) 1 — fledgling! Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) 1 Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens) 1 Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) 1 Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) 4 Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) 1 Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) 7 American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 3 Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) 1 Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis) 1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Corthylio calendula) 10 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) 1 Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) 2 Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) 1 First of year Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) 2 American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 20 House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) 4 American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) 2 Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) 9 Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) 8 Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) 3 Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) 2 Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia) 1 First of year Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) 8 Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) 6
If you attended the outing and would like me to share the list to you, please leave a comment to tell me so.
(photos by Charity Kheshgi and CJ Showers)
UPDATE 25 APRIL 2022: On Monday morning I took the same walk as on Sunday and found that bird activity was more subdued. Many of the birds we saw on Sunday must have left on Sunday night’s strong south wind, including all but one of the ruby-crowned kinglets. However, I found an eastern screech-owl nest near where we saw the fledgling on Sunday. His sibling was looking out of the hole! (It’s a lousy cellphone photo but you get the idea.)
Trees and wildflowers are blooming. New birds come to Pittsburgh on every south wind. I expect gray catbirds (Dumetella carolinensis) will back in time for this outing. Will we hear one? Will we see him before he hides? I hope so.
Dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. Don’t forget your binoculars.
This event will be held rain or shine, but not in downpours or thunder. Check the Events page before you come in case of cancellation.
Hope to see you there.
p.s. If the birding is good I’ll give an option to continue until 11a.
(photo from Wikimedia Commons; click the caption to see the original)
This sundial in Ecuador at GPS 00.000, -78.103 shows the sun’s shadow falling on the equator during the equinox. Mark the shadow at your own home and see the sun return to this position on the Autumnal Equinox on 23 September.
In Pittsburgh we are gaining almost 3 minutes of daylight per day, in this week surrounding the equinox.
(diagram and photo from Wikimedia Commons; click on the captions to see the originals)
After yesterday’s sunny Spring weather we are waking up to snow this morning. Fortunately Pittsburgh missed the heavy snow and blizzard conditions to our east.
Last night Morela slept in the open at the Cathedral of Learning peregrine nest. You can tell that her feathers provide excellent insulation because several inches of snow did not melt right next to her body.