On Wednesday July 3, Joe Stavish of Tree Pittsburgh saw an immature peregrine standing on a rock pile in Tree Pittsburgh‘s parking lot below the 62nd Street Bridge. Joe emailed me:
I found an immature peregrine in the parking lot at Tree Pittsburgh (under 62nd street bridge) on Wednesday, July 3, 2019. We have noticed [peregrine] adults flying around the tree nursery this spring. This one was a bit clumsy moving around the rock pile but ultimately flew off. I could not see any band on the legs. Not sure if it came from the 62nd street bridge but perhaps!
Joe Stavish email, 5 July 2019
Here’s a Google Street View of that end of 62nd Street. Tree Pittsburgh is beyond the chain link fence on the left side of the image, though it didn’t exist when Google took this photo.
At this point (early/mid July) it’s too late to find the peregrines’ nest but keep an eye out for them beginning next January at the 62nd Street Bridge.
NOTE! A nestbox was installed on the bridge in January 2008. If it’s still on the bridge the peregrines might be using it.
This spring a pair of blue jays nested in my backyard and fledged a single youngster before Memorial Day.
The fledgling was short-tailed, perky and adventuresome, often standing wide-eyed in exposed open places. His parents followed him everywhere and seemed to say, “Be careful! Don’t stand out in the open like that!”
But the fledgling was too naive. By the third day he went missing, undoubtedly dead. His parents started to build a new nest.
They scouted together in my backyard, gathering moss and rootlets. According to the nest description in the Petersen Field Guide to Birds’ Nests blue jay nests are …
Bulky, well hidden in crotch or outer branch of coniferous or deciduous tree, 5-50 ft above ground, commonly 10-25 ft. Built by both sexes of thorny twigs, bark, mosses, string, leaves; lined with rootlets.
The second nest is so well hidden that I didn’t find it, but here’s what it would look like (photo by Henry T. McLin).
The pair has time to raise a second brood, especially if the female laid eggs in the first week of June. From first egg to fledging takes 38 to 45 days:
Blue jay egg laying takes 4-6 days (one egg per day, clutch of 4-6)
Incubation lasts 17-18 days
Nestlings fledge in 17-21 days.
I hope to see baby blue jays around July 15. I’m wishing them better luck this time! See more news below(*).
p.s. There’s a story behind the blue jay family in the nest above. Click here to read.
(*) Unfortunately the second brood failed, too. I saw a nestling on the ground, too young to fly, on July 7. I repeatedly placed it up high in the vicinity of the nest but the nestling kept hopping back down to the ground. Eventually it hid under the lip of our bird bath.
As of 8:25am this morning, 12 June 2019, Lori Maggio reports that the peregrine nest at Third Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh looks empty. She found 4 of the 5 youngsters and — great news! — the one on the Rescue Porch this morning has a MOTUS nanotag so we’ll know where he goes!
The tagged bird is probably the one rescued from 304 Wood Street on Monday. Because he’s tagged & returned we know he isn’t injured.
Thankfully everyone waited for the Game Warden to arrive & rescue the bird. Thanks to MOTUS we will know where he goes. Click here to read more about the nanotags.
(photo by Lori Maggio)
UPDATE at 11:15a, 12 June 2019 (while I wait in an airport): 4th bird found down in a bus shelter on Boulevard of Allies & taken to Rescue Porch at 11:10am on 12 June 2019.
UPDATE at 5:15p, 12 June 2019: 5th downed peregrine found standing on Dollar Back steps on Third Avenue. PGC called to rescue. I’m waiting to hear if this one gets nanotagged.
So as of 13 June 2019 there have been 5 rescues of 5 birds. They could still land on the street so keep an eye out for downed peregrines in Downtown Pittsburgh.
Tomorrow I’m leaving town on a two-week birding trip so here’s the latest Downtown peregrine news just before I go.
3 fledged, down, and rescued. 2 to go. As of Monday 11 June at 5pm, three of the five nestlings have flown, but all of them landed on the ground and had to be rescued. Frankly, this site is way too low for a peregrine nest. The rescues were …
Saturday 8 June, 2:15pm
Fledgling #1 flew from the nest and eventually landed on Third Avenue. Retrieved by Animal Control, the bird was returned to Downtown Pittsburgh by Deputy Game Warden Bob Fickley and placed on the Rescue Porch. As of noon on Monday June 10 this bird was flying from rooftop to rooftop. More info and photos of him here.
Sunday 9 June, 8:30pm
Fledgling #2 left the nest and made it to the Boulevard of the Allies where he was found standing on the roof of a car at 8:30pm. The owners of the car wanted to leave but the bird just stood there. Point Park Police corralled the bird and placed him on the Rescue Porch. Thank you, Point Park Police!
Monday 10 June, 4:30pm (At Fledge Watch we saw 4 peregrines including the adults but couldn’t find Fledgling #3.)
Early Monday morning Lori Maggio saw Fledgling #3 on the third floor ledge of Lawrence Hall but he wasn’t seen again until evening rush hour, standing near the bus lane at 304 Wood Street. The PA Game Commission dispatched an officer at 4:24p. Meanwhile the bird attracted a crowd. Volunteer Michael Leonard guarded the bird until Deputy Game Warden Jonah Thompson arrived. Thank you, Michael!!
There are two more to go and some may need to be rescued multiple times. Keep an eye out in Downtown Pittsburgh and call the PA Game Commission at 724-238-9523 if you find a peregrine on the ground. Corral the bird and wait patiently until the officer arrives.
Since May we thought there were four chicks at the Downtown peregrine nest on Third Avenue. We’ve counted them several times and several ways but we were fooled. Yesterday we found out there are five!
On Saturday morning the first chick flew from the nest and eventually landed on Third Avenue. A passerby called Pittsburgh Animal Control … who took the bird to a rehabber … who confirmed he had no injuries and called the Game Commission. Deputy Game Warden Bob Fickley retrieved the fledgling from the rehabber, took the bird back Downtown, and placed him on the Rescue Porch. (Thank you, Bob Fickley!) By the time the bird got home he’d been to the suburbs and back.
Peregrine fledglings who land on the ground must be placed up high to start over. The Third Avenue fledglings go to the Rescue Porch because (1) the nest is inaccessible, (2) the porch is as close as we can get to the nest — across the street and within sight of it, and (3) the porch is a better place to start over because it’s 70 feet higher than the nest. Sometimes the parents perch on the railing to watch the nest. They definitely notice when a fledgling is there.
At 2:30p Lori Maggio stopped by Third Avenue and found the fledgling perched on the railing (photo above). Then she went to Mt. Washington to take long distance photos of the bird on the railing and the remaining chicks at the nest.
I arrived at 5pm and expected to see 1 bird on the porch (yes) and 3 birds at the nest opening but I counted four. 1 + 4 = 5!
Lori’s photos also show one on the Rescue Porch and …
Yesterday during Downtown Fledge Watch all four peregrine chicks lined up at the nest opening. One of their parents was visible so they whined … of course!
The adult (we think it was Dori) stopped by for a visit. Lori Maggio captured her leaving the nest.
Where did she go?
She was high atop Oxford Center, just out of sight of the nest ledge. No more whining.
Stop by Third Avenue any time to watch the peregrines. We expect them to fledge in the next week, June 8-15.
If a juvenile lands on the ground during its first day of flight (normal at this site, unfortunately) it will just stand there and attract a crowd. Keep an eye out for a juvenile on the ground, usually in the vicinity of Wood St – Third Ave – Smithfield St – Blvd of Allies – Fourth Ave.
UPDATE, Sat June 8, 2:15pm: The first fledgling landed on the ground. It’s healthy and in good condition so Deputy Game Warden Bob Fickley placed it on the Rescue Porch at Lawrence Hall.
If you find a downed peregrine call the PA Game Commission at 724-238-9523 so they can come rescue the bird and put it up high to start over.
Downtown Pittsburgh’s four young peregrines are getting ready to fledge. Here’s what three of them looked like yesterday when Lori Maggio stopped by. One of the adults watched from above on the Lawrence Hall gargoyle.
Join us today, 7 June 2019, noon-1p, at Downtown Pittsburgh Peregrine Fledge Watch. We’ll be on Third Avenue between Wood & Smithfield. Click here for more information.
Tarentum Bridge, Allegheny River
The Tarentum Bridge peregrines have three very active chicks this week, walking and wing-exercising on the bridge pier.
Susan Krouse, who watches them often, writes: “I first saw a chick standing on the front ledge of the nestbox on Sunday June 2. Then on Monday morning June 3 I saw two outside it, one near the box opening and one on the middle of the pier, far from the box. I eventually saw 3 chicks all outside the box. These 3 are exploring out on the pier more each day. There’s also a significant amount of wingercise….wing spans seem huge!“
Dave Brooke stopped by last evening to photograph them. Their mother paused with the chicks, below. (You can recognize the mother because her breast is very spotted.)
The Tarentum nestlings will fledge around June 15. For best looks, visit the Tarentum Boat Launch while they’re still in sight before they fledge. Click here for a map.
(photos credits: Downtown Pittsburgh by Lori Maggio, Tarentum by Dave Brooke)
Downtown Pittsburgh Fledge Watch begins Friday June 7, noon to 1pm.
The four peregrine nestlings on Third Avenue will fly soon and may need our help. I’ll be Downtown at lunchtime on three weekdays beginning this Friday June 7. Stop by and join me.
What:Downtown Peregrine Fledge Watch is a drop-in event to watch the young Downtown peregrines, educate the public about peregrines, and alert the PA Game Commission at 724-238-9523 if a fledgling needs to be rescued from the ground. Come when you can. Bring binoculars or camera if you have them. Be sure to check the blog for updates in case of weather cancellation.
Where:3rd Avenue between Wood and Smithfield in Downtown Pittsburgh, approximately at 341 Third Ave, which is parking lot. Click the link for a map. When: On weekdays, Fri June 7, noon-1p. Mon-Tues June 10-11, 11a-1p. Who: I’ll be there with John English of Pittsburgh Falconuts Facebook group. Notes: There is no official Fledge Watch on June 8-9 weekend but John and/or I may be there. On-street parking is free on Sundays. (Some streets will be closed on Sunday 9 June for the Pride Parade.)
Keep in mind that Fledge Watch is weather dependent. It will be canceled for rain or thunder.
Do you need a reminder of the PA Game Commission phone number? Click on the flyer below to download one for yourself.
Yesterday, 5 June 2019 at around 4:20pm, Michelle Kienholz watched both young peregrines flying at the Cathedral of Learning. “Yellow” landed on the 30th floor balcony. “Red” flew so well that he chased his parents, trying to grab food from them.
Michelle noticed the birds because they were so vocal. If you hear squawking in the air near the Cathedral of Learning, look up and you may see the peregrines.
No Fledge Watch on Wed 5 June 2019. Pitt Peregrine Fledge Watch has ended.
Yesterday at Pitt Peregrine Fledge Watch we were confused for about half an hour when we thought both youngsters had fledged. We saw one on Heinz Chapel steeple and another on the 16th floor at the Cathedral of Learning. It was the same bird. Red is flying so well that he fooled us.
His brother, Yellow, flapped from the nest rail and perched in the keyhole, below.
There will be no official Fledge Watch today though you are welcome to watch on your own. Leave a comment to let me know what you see.
Neville Island I-79 Bridge (also called the Glenfield Bridge), Ohio River
Laura Marshall reports that this year’s scrape is located under the first catwalk on the Neville Island side. Though she has seen only one chick being fed on the I-beam ledge there are probably more. Stop by here on Neville Island to watch them fledge. Let me know what you see.
Tarentum Bridge, Allegheny River
Rob Protz reports that on Monday evening, June 3, he saw, “a downy feathered nestling on the pier exploring – mostly right in front of the nestbox. The nestling stayed out for quite a while, even went behind the box but when Mom flew up to the railing at 7:04 he was on the downriver side of the bridge foot and scrambled back behind the box.”
Ledge walking is a good sign that these chicks will fledge in mid-June. They’re easy to see from the Tarentum boat ramp. Stop by and let me know what you see.
(photos by John English. Neville Island I-79 Bridge from Wikimedia Commons)