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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
When they’re not on the nest rail they explore near the nest. Can you see both of them in these photos?
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.
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.
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)
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.
… and visited the snapshot camera.
At 7:20a Yellow spent time “wing-ercising.”
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)
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.
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.
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.
Pitt peregrine chicks waiting for breakfast, 29 May 2019, 6:03:58
"Red" flaps his wings
Both flap and hop
Whining for breakfast, 29 May 2019, 6:07:45
One of them climbs up to the snapshot camera
Both in view
Back down to the green perch ...
... and then he walks up the other side as his brother watches
Brother is leaving, too, walking off to the left
Both are on the ledge up above the cameras at 6:18:44, 29 May.
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).
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.