Oct 16 2009
Yesterday the body of a young female peregrine born at the University of Pittsburgh this spring was found in the chimney at Webster Hall. The green tape on her USFW band indicated she was the same bird who’s eating in this picture taken by Kimberly Thomas on June 9.
Of the four peregrines hatched at Pitt this spring, she was the smallest female and the one who stayed closest to home. She visited the nest box on June 29 long after her siblings had stopped going there.
When she was found she’d been dead for a while; her body had dried out. The maintenance man at Webster Hall thought she may have died of carbon monoxide poisoning because he often saw her perched on a rooftop smokestack. Alas, she chose a bad place to hang out.
Unfortunately she’s not the only juvenile peregrine from the Pittsburgh area to die this fall. In early September I learned that one of the three young peregrines born at the Monaca bridge died on August 30 when he struck an airplane at Pittsburgh International Airport. He was probably hunting the smaller birds attracted to the open area near the runways.
Research tells us that more than 60% of young peregrines die in their first year – many of them before they leave home – but it’s always sad to learn the details.
(photo by Kimberly Thomas)