Mar 06 2015
February and March are great times to watch peregrine courtship in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately our two sites with webcams — Pitt and the Gulf Tower — have little or no courtship activity. What’s up with these peregrines?
Nearly every day I visit the University of Pittsburgh to check on Dorothy and E2. They’re usually perched on the Cathedral of Learning but they don’t make courtship flights like they did in the old days. This is probably because, at age 16, Dorothy isn’t interested anymore. She seems to be in “hen-o-pause” since her egg bound episode last spring.
Sadly this means the pair is rarely on the webcam. Twice last week E2 tried to lure Dorothy to the nest but she visited only once. This is in stark contrast to her prior habit of sitting at the nest for hours and courting several times a day, even in February snow. I don’t expect any peregrine chicks while Dorothy is in charge.
At Gulf there’s a beautiful new HD webcam — and no peregrines! They visited the nest on February 7 and 20 but Ann Hohn at Make-A-Wish confirms what the camera says: No peregrines have been there for two weeks. This is highly unusual if they intend to nest at Gulf. I wondered if they’d gone back to their old 2012-2013 nest site near Point Park University so I checked it last Saturday. No peregrines there. No peregrines anywhere Downtown. What’s up? I don’t know.
The bright spots have been the bridges.
I’ve only been to the Westinghouse Bridge once this year, but I saw a peregrine perched on it when I drove by on February 22. At Tarentum I saw both peregrines in courtship flight on nestbox-installation day. And at the Neville Island I-79 Bridge, Anne Marie Bosnyak saw the peregrines court and mate last Saturday. They even stayed long enough for Anne Marie to go home for her camera and take these beautiful photos of Magnum and her mate. Love is in the air at Neville.
So far there are no sightings at the Monaca-East Rochester Bridge, the McKees Rocks Bridge, and the Greentree water tower — though that doesn’t mean there aren’t peregrines.
If you have any news, post a comment to let us know … What’s up with these peregrines?
(photos of Magnum and her mate by Anne Marie Bosnyak)
p.s. Folks in Johnstown are hoping their lone male peregrine on the First National Bank Building attracts a mate soon.