Oct 20 2010
We had a little peregrine excitement at the University of Pittsburgh yesterday.
Around 3:00pm Tony Bledsoe called to tell me that he was outdoors by the Cathedral of Learning and he could hear our peregrines chirping-cacking.
It’s unusual for them to make noise in the fall. As we remarked on this over the phone Tony saw why they were making noise. “There are three peregrines. They’re chasing each other! This might be a fight.”
Indeed a third peregrine had arrived on campus and the two residents were chasing him away. Tony saw a lot of chasing but nothing dangerous. Eventually two of the birds — both males — flew off to the south. Dorothy stayed at home to await further developments.
At 3:15pm I took my binoculars to the west window at WQED and tried to find the peregrines on the Cathedral of Learning. One of them was perched at the southeast 38th floor corner, E2′s favorite spot. As I watched he took off and flew toward me, pumping hard to chase a bird I couldn’t see to my east. Whoever it was got the message and left. E2 banked above Central Catholic and returned home. Within a minute both he and Dorothy were prominently perched atop the Cathedral of Learning, warning all other peregrines to stay away.
Later Dorothy stopped by the nestbox, scuffed at the gravel, and perched at the lookout. Waiting and watching.
October’s the time when arctic peregrines migrate through Pittsburgh and the mid-latitude falcons wander to find a territory. Dorothy and E2 are vigilant this month, defending the home front. They have no intention of losing their territory.
(photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera at the University of Pittsburgh)