Here are some photos from yesterday’s Fledge Watch and the subsequent thunderstorms.
Traci Darin sent pictures of Fledge Watch. In this collection, one of the parents watches his “kids” from the lightning rod, three of the five youngsters lounge on the nestrail, and a fledgling tries his wings on the edge of the 38th floor.
Late in the day, two big thunderstorms came through Pittsburgh and dropped more than 2″ of rain. During the first storm, one of the Pitt fledglings was still perched on Heinz Chapel steeple where he got very wet but was otherwise unaffected, as you can see from Peter Bell’s photo taken just after the rain.
Meanwhile at the Gulf Tower nest, you can see the lightning and hear thunder in this archived video.
And to give you an idea of the storms’ intensity, here’s a photo Donna Memon took from Mount Washington as the second storm moved east of town. That lightning was probably hitting Squirrel Hill.
(photos by Traci Darin, Peter Bell and Donna Memon)
News from today’s lunchtime Fledge Watch: We saw the best flying to date!
- Happily we were able to count all five young peregrines. Two have flown and three were still lounging and flapping on the nestrail.
- One fledgling had his first off-the-building adventure. He flew to Heinz Chapel and, after a few passes at it, he landed on one of the knobs on the steeple.
- Dorothy and E2 demonstrated soaring over Schenley Plaza. It was nice to see them closer.
- Shortly after the soaring demonstration, the second fledgling flew off the Cathedral of Learning and soared very high before returning to the east side of the roof.
Come on down to the Schenley Plaza tent and watch the young peregrines learn to fly. I won’t be there after work today but there will still be a group of folks who know these peregrines and can help you find them on the parapets.
p.s. at 4:30pm: A severe tunderstorm is coming through soon … so no Fledge Watch right now.
We take for granted that nestling peregrines are always healthy but sometimes they catch a parasite from the birds they eat.
Avian trichomoniasis (Trichomonas gallinae) is a protozoan that infects mostly pigeons and doves but can be caught by the raptors who eat them. It’s generally a disease of the young and can be fatal because its lesions block the throat of the victim until he starves. In young birds this happens rapidly. In the few older birds who become infected, the lesions may invade the jaw, causing holes in the jawbone. Interestingly, these holes were discovered on T. rex fossils and established another link between dinosaurs and birds.
Pictured above is one of Harrisburg’s peregrine parents, looking in the window of the Rachel Carson Office Building where his youngsters were taken yesterday.
When the nestlings were banded on May 26, the banders discovered that one nestling had trichomoniasis. He was treated with a dose of antibiotic but it was not enough to cure him. Yesterday he and his brothers were re-examined. His siblings are still healthy and were returned to the nest. He was retained for treatment.
“Bring him back!” say his parents.
Not until he’s healthy again.
(photo from the Harrisburg PA Falconcam. Thanks to Donna Memon and Marianne Atkinson for alerting me to this Harrisburg news.)
This morning Todd Katzner of the National Aviary had to rescue a peregrine chick from a first floor window well at the Cathedral of Learning. It appeared to be unhurt — just shaken up — so he returned it to the ledge. A side benefit of this adventure is that Todd restarted the streaming video camera while he was up there.
The chick who had this adventure is the same one who got bumped into the gully about a week ago. Perhaps he’s now cured of his fixation with gullies.
UPDATE from Tuesday afternoon: At 2:20pm, five juveniles were visible simultaneously. At Fledge Watch tonight we saw only four, one of which flew back to the nestrail to be on hand for tonight’s feedings.
Mary DeVaughn (chat name WildSow) dodged thunderstorms yesterday evening and was rewarded by witnessing the First Fledge!
Not only that, she had her telescope and camera set up so she got pictures.
Here’s the little guy on top of the Cathedral of Learning.
Mary posted the whole episode in the comments on my last blog entry and included photo links.
Click here for her story.
Who knew he’d fledge between thunderstorms? I didn’t.
After all that waiting around earlier in the day, I’m sorry I missed it!
(photo of first fledge at the Cathedral of Learning by Mary DeVaughn)