Timing of Peregrine Nesting Season

Peregrine falcon nesting follows the same pattern every year.  Here are the seasonal milestones in Pittsburgh from Art McMorris, Peregrine Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Game Commission:

  • Territorial defense and courtship begins:  January.  The birds are seen flying together and circling their territory.
  • Courtship intensifies: February and early March.  The birds are seen flying together more often.  Male presents food to female.  They bow at the nest.  Frequency increases as egg laying approaches.
  • Egg laying:  Begins in mid March or early April (as of 2016, earliest is March 10).  An egg is laid every other day until the clutch is complete.
  • Incubation:  Begins when the next-to-last egg is laid.
  • Hatching:  33-35 days after incubation begins.  Typically in late April, early May.
  • Brooding:  Lasts for 8+ days after hatching. Typically in late April, early May.
  • Banding in Pittsburgh:  Conducted by the PA Game Commission.  If the chicks are in an accessible location they are banded at 23-30 days old.
  • Chicks fledge: 38-45 days after hatch.  Typically in early June.  Timing depends on age, sex and physical condition of the chick.
  • Young birds disperse:  Young in Pittsburgh are dependent on their parents for 6-10 weeks after fledging.  They leave home from July through September.

2 thoughts on “Timing of Peregrine Nesting Season

  1. When (in the fall) are peregrine’s likely to migrate away from the Pittsburgh area? I have never seen one and will be in the area (closest to the Tarentum Bridge site) in mid-Sept.

    1. The adults will still be at the bridge but the young will leave soon. Most likely they have left already.

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