Category Archives: Peregrines

Both Young Peregines Flying at Pitt

Second young peregrine, “Yellow,” on 30th floor ledge, 5 June 2019 (photo by Michelle Kienholz)

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.

p.s. Michelle posted videos on Facebook, available to Pittsburgh Falconuts members at this link:

(photo by Michelle Kienholz)

Peregrine News, June 5

Location of young peregrines during Fledge Watch on 4 June 2019 (photo by John English)

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.

Red is perched on the far left spot, partially hidden from view (digiscoped by John English)

His brother, Yellow, flapped from the nest rail and perched in the keyhole, below.

‘Yellow’ is perched in the keyhole (photo by John English)

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

Neville Island I-79 Bridge (photo by Robert Stovers on Wikimedia Commons)

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

Tarentum Bridge shoing peregrine nestbox, 14 May 2018 (photo by John English)
Tarentum Bridge showing peregrine nestbox, 14 May 2018 (photo by John English)

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)

One Fledged, One To Go

Youngster #1 exercising his wings at 25th floor edge (photo by John English)

UPDATE, 4 June 2019, 9:50am: For a short time we thought both had fledged. But only Red flew — back and forth to Heinz Chapel steeple. Yellow was still on the nest rail as of 1:15pm.

Yesterday at the start of Pitt Peregrine Fledge Watch, we figured out that a youngster had flown because his parents were perching and flying to unusual places. About 10 minutes later Hope and Terzo flew together — kind of crazy — and John English saw a third bird flying with them. Alas, I missed seeing that third bird.

But I found him on the 25th floor corner in the shade.

First fledgling, 25th floor, 3 June 2019 (photo by John English)

Eventually the sun moved.

He warmed up and flap-walked to the corner of 25 (top photo) and then disappeared, probably down to the patio. His parents flew above and perched nearby to check on him.

Youngster #1 kept going. By 3:40p, Peter Bell saw him on the edge of 16 facing Heinz Chapel. He’d already completed the circle tour of the Cathedral of Learning.

Meanwhile his brother was still on the nest rail when Fledge Watch ended at 1pm. He will probably fly today.

Come on down to Pitt Peregrine Fledge Watch today at Schenley Plaza, 11a to 1p. I predict this will be the best day to watch.

CANCELLATION UPDATE: We are canceling tomorrow’s Fledge Watch for Wed 5 June. Thunderstorms are in the forecast and the birds will be flying too well to find them. I chased ‘Red’ around the building twice today. This means that Fledge Watch ended today, Tues 4 June.

p.s. In case you haven’t noticed it’s All Peregrines, All The Time this week.

(photos by John English)

Up Early

The peregrine family at the Cathedral of Learning was up before dawn this morning. By the time the sun rose at 5:50a, Hope and Terzo had already been gone 10 minutes to get food. The youngsters waited and watched for breakfast.

Above, a youngster watches the sky for incoming parents. Below, he climbs higher for a better view.

Then he hops over to the nestbox roof …

… and shows the red tape on his right legband.

We’ll have good weather today for Fledge Watch at Schenley Plaza, 11a to 1p.

My hunch is that one of the young peregrines will fledge today. Let’s see if they prove me wrong. 😉

p.s. To see this wider view of the nest on the snapshot camera, click here.

(photos from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Pitt Fledge Watch News + Forecast on June 2

Young peregrine walks on the nest rail, 1 June 2019, 12:57p (digiscoped by Kate St. John)

Yesterday at Pitt Peregrine Fledge Watch we saw Hope and Terzo give flight demonstrations and perch up high. The youngsters ledge walked back and forth from the nest to the nest rail. Half the time they were up above, the other half they were out of sight.

Here are a few photos from Saturday June 1. The captions tell the story.

Hope on the roof edge. The equipment is not near her, it just looks that way (photo by John English)
Two youngsters on the nest rail, 1 June 2019 (photo by John English)

When they’re not on the nest rail they explore near the nest. Can you see both of them in these photos?

Two young peregrines at the nest, 1 June 2019, 12:01p (photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh)
Two tails visible at the nestbox roof, 1 June 2019, 12:16p (photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh)
Young peregrine gazing down from above (digiscoped by Kate St. John)

At this moment (6am on June 2) it looks like there will be a gap in the storms just in time for Fledge Watch. If so we’ll be there from 11a to 1p. We’ll cancel for rain or thunder.

(photos by Kate St. John and John English)

Help The PA Peregrine Tracking Study

This year the PA Game Commission will track a few young peregrine falcons using nanotags and MOTUS technology.

Nanotags are very small transmitters that communicate with cell towers using MOTUS technology. The nanotags are so small that even a migrating dragonfly can wear one, shown below. Click here to read how the tags work and see one on a piping plover.

Dragonfly with MOTUS nanotag (screenshot from MOTUS website)

How will they attach the tags?

During the typical banding nest visit peregrine falcon chicks are not old enough to attach the transmitters — they need to have real feathers. Instead, PGC Endangered Species Biologist Patti Barber will attach the tags to healthy grounded fledglings that are rescued and about to be released by PGC Game Wardens.

As always, if you find a fledgling on the ground corral it to a safe zone and call the PGC “rescue” number: 724-238-9523. The Game Warden will contact Patti Barber and, if she’s in the area, she’ll come attach the tiny tracking device. The fledgling will be on its way … and we’ll know where it goes!

(photo of young peregrine by Nancy Weixel in 2011, screenshot of dragonfly from MOTUS website)

Young Peregrines Seen: Downtown and Pitt

Peregrine chick at the nest opening, Downtown Pittsburgh, 30 May 2019 (photo by Lori Maggio)

The peregrine falcon chicks at Pittsburgh’s two city nests were active yesterday, 30 May 2019.

In Downtown Pittsburgh Lori Maggio saw one of the four chicks at the nest opening before 8am. Their presence was variable, though. When Mary de Vaughn stopped by in the evening there was nothing to see.

Meanwhile at Pitt the chicks were very active. They spent most of the day ledge walking but came down to the nest for a variety of reasons.

At 7:13a one of them made a visit while Terzo was on the green perch.

A chick comes down to the nest while Terzo is there (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

… and visited the snapshot camera.

Eyeing the snapshot camera (photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh)

At 7:20a Yellow spent time “wing-ercising.”

Wing-ercising, 30 May 2019, 7:20a (National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)
Yellow pauses on the green perch, 30 May 2019, 7:20a (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

This Day-in-a-Minute video shows how often they visited the nest yesterday (30 May 2019) — a lot more than we realize.

Come down to Pitt Peregrine Fledge Watch at Schenley Plaza today, Friday 31 May 2019, noon-1p. Anne Marie Bosnyak saw a lot of activity last evening. I think we’ll have a good show today.

(photo of Downtown chick by Lori Maggio, photos and video at the Cathedral of Learning nest from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Where To See the Peregrines: Downtown and Pitt

Downtown Pittsburgh peregrines nest with adult flying away, as seen from Mt. Washington, 27 May 2019 (photo by Lori Maggio)

We can’t see into the Downtown peregrines’ nest from the street, but we can from Mt. Washington, across the river from Downtown Pittsburgh.

On Memorial Day Lori Maggio took photos from the Mt. Washington overlook nearest the Mon Incline. Though these super-zoomed images are fuzzy, you can see three of four chicks and an adult flying from the nest (above), and four chicks in the photo below. The chicks are still white, clearly younger than the peregrine chicks at the Cathedral of Learning.

Four peregrine chicks in the Downtown Pittsburgh nest, as seen from Mt. Washington, 27 May 2019 (photo by Lori Maggio)

Yesterday the Pitt peregrine chicks walked off their nest and out of camera view (see They Walked Off The Nest). Though the youngsters may return briefly, you’re more likely to see their parents on camera.

This morning Terzo stepped into view for less than a minute, then paused on the green perch. The streaming camera is zoomed too close to see that perch but Terzo was visible on the snapshot camera at 6:11am. The screenshot below is from FALCONCAM – CL snapshots (listed in Resources on the righthand side of my blog). This link is the easiest way to see if anyone’s home.

Two-camera view of Cathedral of Learning nest at FALCONCAMS – CL snapshot

Pitt Peregrine Fledge Watch Bonus!

Tomorrow, 31 May 2019, I’ll be at Schenley Plaza near the tent from noon to 1pm. Stop by if you get a chance. I’ll bring my scope so we’ll get the best possible view of the birds.

(photos of Downtown nest by Lori Maggio, Cathedral of Learning nest screenshot from FALCONCAMS – CL snapshot)

They Walked Off The Nest

  • Pitt peregrine chicks waiting for breakfast, 29 May 2019, 6:03:58

This morning at 6:18am both of the Pitt peregrine chicks walked off the nest and out of camera view. They’re now officially ledge walking.

The slideshow above covers 13 minutes of activity, just long enough to show them bouncing around, whining at their parents (not in sight), and disappearing from camera view.

I visited Schenley Plaza at 10:45am and found both of them on the nest rail watching the world go by. Here’s Peter Bell’s picture from last year, 27 May 2018, that shows what they look like today (if I could take a picture).

Two youngsters on the railing, 27 May 2018 (photo by Peter Bell)
Two youngsters on the railing, 27 May 2018 (photo by Peter Bell)

Now that they’re off camera the best way to see them is from Schenley Plaza. Stay tuned for a (possible) revision to the Fledge Watch schedule. Maybe Friday. Not Thursday because it’s going to storm.

(photos from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ. of Pittsburgh)

Comparing Male and Female Peregrines

This comparison of and Beauty at their nest in Rochester, NY shows that male and female peregrine falcons are very different sizes. The male is 1/3 smaller than the female.

You can’t tell them apart by color but you can tell them apart by size if they stand near each other. Here’s a second comparison:

If you watch the peregrines every day on camera you’ll eventually notice that their faces are different. This takes a lot of practice!

(embedded tweets from @Rfalconcam)