Feb 03 2011
In the gloomiest days of winter I remind myself that I will like February.
It’s a great month to be a peregrine fan.
This is when peregrine falcons in the mid-latitudes (Pennsylvania, Ohio, etc.) begin their breeding cycle. They claim their territory and advertise for mates. If they already have a mate, they court and renew their pair bond. The male brings food for his lady, they fly together and bow at the nest.
All of this activity is big and brash. They want everyone — especially other peregrines — to know they’re there.
In late January peregrine sightings increased. Here’s news from around the area:
- At the University of Pittsburgh, Karen Lang and I have seen E2 and Dorothy perching near each other and E2 bringing breakfast to Dorothy.
- At the Gulf Tower downtown, Barb Becker, Sean Brady and Sharon Leadbitter have all seen Louie and Dori warming up to the breeding season. Louie is very vocal. He’s hard to miss when he has something to say!
- On January 28 in Rochester, PA, Mark Vass saw a pair of peregrines attack a bald eagle and force him down to the ice of the Ohio River. This was probably the Monaca Bridge pair defending their territory.
- Several birders have seen a peregrine near Brunot’s Island probably one of the pair who nests at the McKees Rocks Bridge. That bridge is huge and these birds are hard to find.
- On Tuesday, Steve Gosser took this photo of a peregrine at the Tarentum Bridge.
- And here’s an intriguing sighting by Shannon Thompson on January 9, seen from Presque Isle State Park in Erie, PA: “Peregrine Falcon, 2 together on stacks near East Bay Boat Ramp.” Wow!! A pair perched together is definitely courting. I haven’t heard that peregrines nest in Erie. Is anyone monitoring this pair?
As you can see, it’s going to be a great month to be a peregrine fan.
Keep looking up.
(photo by Steve Gosser)