The video above, narrated by PGC’s Patti Barber, shows what the tagging process was like. She fit a young peregrine with a MOTUS tag and released it near its rooftop nest. The peregrine wore a falconry hood during the fitting to keep him calm.
Louie was one of Dorothy's first nestlings, Mothers' Day 2002
One-year-old Louie killed Boris at the Gulf Tower, April 2003
First glimpse of Louie courting with Tasha, April 2003
Good dad, 2004
Louie bows to Tasha, April 2008
Louie at the window on Banding Day 2009
After Dori defeated Tasha, Louie took over incubation, April 2010
Dori's so much larger, April 2010
Louie tenderly feeds the nestlings ...
... and Dori, too. May 2010
Dori and Louie bow, February 2011
Louie with nestlings, May 2011
Louie's famous high-step
Near Macy's Annex, May 2015
Hidden in plain sight, May 2015
Near the Third Avenue nest, May 2016
Over Lawrence Hall, May 2016
Gulf Tower, April 2017
Family time, April 2017
Standing guard, June 2017
At Third and Wood, June 2017
Showing his age, May 2019
Louie reflects on the Rescue Porch, 11 June 2019
Feeding one of this year's fledglings, June 2019
Louie sired 63 young peregrines ... with one of his last.
In late June, after five young peregrines fledged from Pittsburgh’s Third Avenue nest, their father Louie was found dead at age 17. He was exceptionally old for a wild peregrine but longevity was in his genes.
Louie hatched in 2002, the son of Dorothy and Erie during their first successful year at the Cathedral of Learning. Dorothy fledged 43 young at Pitt before she disappeared at age 16.5.
Louie started breeding early. In 2003 he was one year old when he won Pittsburgh’s Downtown territory. It was a tumultuous spring with two females and two males vying for the Gulf Tower nest. In the end Louie fought and killed Boris at the nestbox and became Tasha’s mate.
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.
A lot has happened in the Downtown peregrine family since I left for vacation on June 12. Here’s a summary of the last 17 days with photos from Jason Walkowski, Maria Ochoa, Lori Maggio, and John English.
There were five nestlings at the Third Avenue nest and at least five rescues.
June 12: Second in one day! Rescue from Dollar Bank front steps on Fourth Ave during evening rush hour.
All of this activity kept the rescue porch very busy. Below, Louie reflects from the rescue porch railing outside Maria Ochoa’s apartment on June 11 …
… while Dori bypasses loud whining from one of the fledglings.
On June 12 this bird was a candidate for the fifth rescue, having chosen a lousy place to perch on the Dollar Bank roof.
Within a week the young peregrines were flying well. On June 14 Lori Maggio watched a low-perched youngster fly up to a much better location. On June 19 Jason Walkowski photographed the nanotagged bird outside his window on the 31st floor at USX Tower (photo at top).
Lori Maggio found the nanotagged bird on June 20, perched with a sibling high above Third Avenue.
Dori is now teaching the youngsters how to hunt. Her mate Louie, age 17, was found dead on June 27. He was very, very old for a wild peregrine and outlived his mother Dorothy by 1.5 years. I’ll post a tribute blog for Louie in the coming days.
For now the Fledge Watchers are breathing a sigh of relief. The Downtown peregrine “kids” are airborne on their way. Whew!
(photos by Jason Walkowski, Maria Ochoa, Lori Maggio and John English)
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.