May 04 2009

Messy Nest

Published by at 7:10 am under Peregrines

Peregrine falcon, Dorothy, shelters her chicks (photo from the National Aviary webcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)Every year I’m amazed at how quickly Dorothy gives up on housekeeping after the chicks hatch.  She’s able to keep the nest fairly clean in the first few days but inevitably there’s one meal – usually a pigeon – that tips the balance. 

Here she is presiding over her nest and chicks at 7:00am today.  The chicks are so large she can hardly brood them, but it’s dark and rainy so she shelters them amidst the wreckage of prior meals.  They make a sweet picture except for the exploded prey around them.

It would be healthier for her family if she kept the nest clean but, as she would tell you, none of her chicks ever died from a dirty nest.  ;-)

(photo from the National Aviary webcam at the University of Pittsburgh peregrine falcon nest)

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17 responses so far

17 Responses to “Messy Nest”

  1. Janet Hon 04 May 2009 at 8:56 am

    I was surprised when I looked in this morning and saw the mess! I’m feeling the same about my own house right now. There are priorities in life!

  2. faith Cornellon 04 May 2009 at 2:07 pm

    I know the mess looks familiar as when I was bringing up children & things just got out of hand. It made me chuckle. All the rain & I was worried about them finding flying food but those pigeons are usually easy catches. I have 2 Grosbreaks who come now so they are still safe from the good parents who have to feed many mouths. I so appreciate this site. Keeps my heart light & happy despite all the rain. Faith Cornell

  3. Marcy Con 04 May 2009 at 5:53 pm

    It’s time to be outside and on cold, rainy days is when you get caught up inside…at least at my house….you can tell how windy it is by how the feathers are blowing around. Nothing will bother them being up so high, correct?

    When the chicks were by themselves this morning, they looked like marshmallow peeps…
    If you held one in your hand, how big would it be?

    Marcy

  4. linda osterriederon 04 May 2009 at 7:29 pm

    How long will Tasha 2 continue to sit on her eggs? I know of 2 of the 5 eggs she layed hatched. What happens when eggs don’t hatch, how long do they sit on them? Whats happening with the chicks, it seems as if they arent as active as Dorthy’s, or get fed as much.
    I’m feeling abit sorry for her now.
    Thankyou

  5. Kate St. Johnon 05 May 2009 at 10:06 am

    Thanks for all the questions. Here are some answers:

    >Nothing will bother them being up so high, correct?
    The height doesn’t matter so much as the location. Their greatest enemy is the great-horned owl but there aren’t any, except statues of them, so close to the Cathedral of Learning. The chicks are safer because they live in such a human-dominated area.

    >How long will Tasha 2 continue to sit on her eggs?
    Both mother peregrines in Pittsburgh are still brooding their chicks because it’s so cold and damp. They often keep the unhatched eggs under them while they’re brooding. Tasha will push the unhatched eggs to the side after brooding ends and the chicks are more active. By the way, she already removed one of the 3 unhatched eggs.

    >What’s happening with the chicks, it seems as if they aren’t as active as Dorothy’s, or get fed as much.
    Don’t worry. They’re active and fed. They’re just so far away that small movements don’t show up on the camera.

    >If you held one in your hand, how big would they be?
    I don’t know but I think they’re about the size of a sparrow because they’re smaller than the prey with which they’re fed. They’re growing fast!

  6. Joannon 05 May 2009 at 1:11 pm

    I was watching Louie feeding the chicks this afternoon & for a little while I thought one of the chicks was dead because it didn’t lift it’s head to be fed for quite a while. It finally did lift his head but he or she didn’t seem to get too much of it’s lunch-the other one was getting most of the food.

  7. Kate St. Johnon 05 May 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Don’t worry yet. Sometimes a chick has eaten its fill and sleeps while the other(s)eat. Tasha & Louie have successfully raised families in which one chick hatched late and was noticably smaller, so they know how to cope with this.

  8. Tracion 05 May 2009 at 8:33 pm

    I don’t know if its the lighting or they adjusted the camera’s – but I have just taken some amazing shots at the COL. I have never been able to see such detail in Dorothy’s feathers. She must be absolutely amazing to see in person.

    I also got a series of Tasha and kids at the Gulf. It would be so great to have that camera replaced with a new one – because it’s still blurry. I didn’t manage to capture it, but one of the chicks spread its wings. That was startling – as I hadn’t realized they had grown that much. Louie flew right above the camera into the box – and the save image function just wouldn’t move fast enough to capture that either – but it was just breathless.

    Good way to close out the evening.

  9. Kate St. Johnon 05 May 2009 at 10:51 pm

    I believe it’s the lighting. The Pitt camera always looks better when not in direct sunlight.

  10. MJEDon 06 May 2009 at 9:34 am

    I know the Gulf Tower camera is not the best view for up-close pictures, but I’m glad it is positioned that way. We can see the first steps of the chicks development on the COL cam and then see them move about when they are older at Gulf. Last year, when they started to grow and stretch their wings, they were out of view and we were left to look at the empty box. Please keep the Gulf Tower camera where it is so we can see more action later.

  11. Kate St. Johnon 06 May 2009 at 9:44 am

    MJED, you’re reading my mind!

  12. Tracion 06 May 2009 at 10:40 am

    I can see your point – however, the camera is blurry. A new one, that could zoom in and out, as the one at the COL can do, would be wonderful. A few weeks back, the camera at the COL was temporarily pulled back and you could see more of the box’s placement.

    What bothers me about the Gulf camera isn’t its current view – it’s that fuzziness. Because of its current placement – I was treated to that view of Louie flying in from above it. AMAZING! and you’re right – we wouldn’t have seen anything like that at the COL.

    I still plan on making contributions, however, for a new camera with more functionality for the Gulf. Newer camera means newer functions – i.e., clarity and zoom capability!!

  13. Donnaon 06 May 2009 at 2:59 pm

    If you would like to see a very clear, close up view of a peregrine nest, take a look at the camera in Harrisburg: http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/falcon/recent_news.html

  14. Tracion 06 May 2009 at 4:27 pm

    INCREDIBLE!! I’ve bookmarked the page. THANKS!! At this site you can even hear the parents!!

    Does the Aviary do a public banding event? that’s similar??

  15. Donnaon 07 May 2009 at 11:50 am

    Not a falcon cam, but equally as interesting, is the bald eagle cam at the Norfolk Botanical Garden: http://www.wvec.com/cams/eagle.html

  16. Kate St. Johnon 07 May 2009 at 11:57 am

    Yes, I highlighted them and other webcams in my February 18th blog: http://www.wqed.org/birdblog/2009/02/18/eagles-online/

  17. Donnaon 07 May 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Thanks for all you do, Kate! I guess I need to go back and read your archives.

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