10 January 2021:
In the next 10 weeks peregrine falcons will court and claim nest sites in southwestern Pennsylvania, then lay eggs mid-March to early April. Right now through mid-March is the best time to see them. Here’s an update on recently active sites and information on locations where observers are needed. Get outdoors and look for peregrines! I hope you can help.
Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh:
It’s easy to watch peregrines at the Cathedral of Learning because they’re on camera. The snapshot camera captured Morela and Terzo courting on 8 Jan 2021 as shown in the slideshow above. Stop by Schenley Plaza and look for them on or above the building. The streaming camera will start running in February.
If I was to bet where the Downtown peregrines will nest this year, I’d say there’s a 90% chance they’ll be at the Third Avenue site, shown above, where they’ve nested for the last three years. Though the roof rehabilitation project is done at the Gulf Tower, the nestbox probably hasn’t been reinstalled. I’m awaiting news from the Game Commission. Meanwhile, observers are needed Downtown! Let me know if you see anything.
OHIO RIVER, Neville Island I-79 Bridge — no nest in 2021 and 2022.
PennDOT’s rehabilitation of the Neville Island I-79 Bridge will encompass the full length of the bridge through the 2021 and 2022 peregrine nesting seasons. Peregrines will be excluded from the bridge during that entire time so they can’t start to nest and then fail. We hope the bridge pair finds an alternate site nearby, but we won’t know where they are until we look for them. Observers needed! Look for peregrines in the Ohio Valley. Be alert for battles over an existing site.
OHIO RIVER, Monaca Railroad Bridge:
Speaking of the Ohio Valley, on 4 Jan 2021 Jeff Cieslak found a peregrine pair at the Monaca Railroad Bridge, perching, bowing and flying as shown in the slideshow above. If you’d like to see for yourself, stop by the north shore of the Ohio River in Beaver and Bridgewater PA at the sites marked by Jeff Cieslak on the map below.
OHIO RIVER, Ambridge Bridge:
Again in the Ohio Valley, Mark Vass saw a peregrine at the Ambridge Bridge on 3 Jan 2021. This bridge had an active pair in spring 2020 though nesting was not confirmed. Watch this bridge for more excitement.
TURTLE CREEK, Westinghouse Bridge:
The Westinghouse Bridge pair is gearing up for nesting as seen by Dana Nesiti on 2 Jan 2021. Click here for more photos.
ALLEGHENY RIVER, Tarentum Bridge:
Both peregrines were at the Tarentum Bridge when Dave Brooke stopped by on 29 Dec 2020. Click here for more photos.
ALLEGHENY RIVER, Rt 422 Graff Bridge, Kittanning:
Margaret and Roger Higbee saw a peregrine at the Graff Bridge on 6 Jan 2021 (and also in December). Peregrines have nested here since 2016. Stop by to see for yourself.
Two other bridges were active in 2020 / 2019 which may be active this year as well. Observers are needed at:
- OHIO RIVER, McKees Rocks Bridge, active in 2020
- ALLEGHENY RIVER 62nd Street Bridge, active in 2019, not in 2020.
Get outdoors and see peregrines! Let me know what you find.
(photos by National Aviary snapshot camera at Cathedral of Learning, Kate St. John, John English, PENNDOT, Jeff Cieslak, Dana Nesiti, Dave Brooke, Wikimedia Commons)