Mar 14 2011

Meanwhile, at the Gulf Tower

Published by at 6:10 am under Peregrines


On Saturday (the day before Dorothy laid her first egg at the Cathedral of Learning) our other peregrine falcon pair, Dori and Louie, were doing many courtship flights over Downtown Pittsburgh.  Sharon Leadbitter filmed them from her office at the U.S. Steel Tower and sent photos and a video.

The photo above points out that Louie is perched on the Kopper’s Building and Dori on the Gulf Tower on the corner above the nest. 


Here’s a closeup of Louie on the Koppers Building roof…


…and Dori on the Gulf Tower.

See Sharon’s video of them flying here.  

Sharon wrote: They both seemed to be watching the St. Patrick’s Day parade.  ;) 

(photos by Sharon Leadbitter)

18 responses so far

18 Responses to “Meanwhile, at the Gulf Tower”

  1. Donnaon 14 Mar 2011 at 11:40 am

    Thanks Sharon! Great photos! What a view you have!

  2. Anne Marieon 14 Mar 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Sharon – thanks for capturing these photos for us!!! I hope you were watching the parade or the peregrines and not working on Saturday!!!

  3. Lilyon 14 Mar 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Hi Kate!
    I have to tell you about some possibly falcon-related happenings today downtown. On my lunch hour I was walking along Penn Avenue towards 6th Street when I looked up and saw what looked like either a hawk or a falcon, chasing a MUCH MUCH larger bird. I couldn’t tell if the bird doing the chasing was a falcon based on its silhouette from below. And if I took an uneducated guess, I would say the larger bird looked like a vulture. The wing span was huge, it was all black, and the tail was triangular. The head did not extend far from its body. And the feathers at the end of its wings were large and separated like fingers. Kind of hunched over while at rest.
    While I was on 6th Street, it looked like the smaller bird had forced the giant bird to land on the Highmark Building. After this confrontation the smaller bird came to rest on the EQT building. However, when I got to Market Square and looked up at the building’s facade, I saw THREE of these large vulture-like birds perched on the Highmark sign. They were rough-housing with each other and every once in a while one would soar away from the building and circle overhead. No sign of the smaller bird.
    I went into Brueggers once I could tear myself away and when I returned outside, the larger birds had gone.
    Is it possible that they were just making a pit stop on the Highmark building? If not, are our peregrines in danger? Are there any other birds of prey that hang out downtown (like a hawk)? Do you have any idea what type of bird these intruders were? Eek!!
    - Lily

  4. sharon leadbitteron 14 Mar 2011 at 2:30 pm

    I am so lucky to have a window cube. (and a great camera) Also … many thanks to Kate for using my pictures / videos … I just love taking pictures

  5. faith cornellon 14 Mar 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Also thanks to Sharon. Nice to see that. Oh Spring!!!!

  6. Kate St. Johnon 14 Mar 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Lliy, that’s a very cool story. Most turkey vultures leave western PA for the winter but they started to come back north about 4 weeks ago. They like to nest on steep wooded hillsides. Maybe they’re considering Mt. Washington.

    Turkey vultures are the only large dark raptors with “fingers” that would hang out together in a group of three or more at this time of year. Peregrines hate vultures so they chase them. The peregrine always wins those battles so of course the vulture went away from the Gulf Tower and back toward the Point.

    Interesting that the vultures are hanging out at the office building of my health insurance provider. …

  7. Patty C.on 14 Mar 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Thank you, Sharon, for the wonderful video. Great background music, too. I felt like I was soaring, too.

  8. Ellie (cc)on 14 Mar 2011 at 4:17 pm

    I had been watching earlier today and saw Dorothy leave her egg. She jumped up on the ledge and starting calling. I sensed she was watching for E2 who I never got a glimpse of so far today. I got online a few times now, and egg is unattended. Is this unusual behavior? I sure hope both parents are OK.

  9. sharon leadbitteron 14 Mar 2011 at 6:29 pm

    there will be more eggs coming … she lays on it sporadically .. once the entire clutch has been laid then they will be constantly sat upon (I’ve forgotten the proper term).

    They practice a type of temperature control in order to insure that eggs hatch at basically the same time …. chickens have the same behavior

    (Did I get it right Ms Kate?) ;-)

  10. Kate St. Johnon 14 Mar 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Ellie, E2 was very close to the nest all day. Dorothy perched just above the camera most of the day & they mated several times — he’s making sure those eggs are fertile!
    It is quite normal for peregrines to allow their first eggs in a clutch to get chilly. They keep them from freezing but do not raise the eggs to “growing” temperature until the clutch is nearly complete.
    See my Peregrine FAQs page for more info. (It’s the tab between ‘About’ and ‘Western PA Phenology’ at the very top of my blog – above the banner that says “Outside My Window.”)

    (Yes, you have it right, Sharon. …I didn’t know that about chickens.)

  11. Binky Clementon 14 Mar 2011 at 7:28 pm

    OMG Sharon, you did an awesome job with the photos!! You are so lucky to have the view and the a camera eye, congrats on this article!!

  12. Ellieon 15 Mar 2011 at 10:04 am

    Thanks Kate and Sharon. I am happy to know Dorothy and E2 are fine. I went to the FAQ page and that helped also. Your photos are so lovely…..great to see all the signs of spring up close.

  13. Cory DeSteinon 15 Mar 2011 at 10:28 pm

    I had one question-in the close up of Dori, where is she on the Gulf Tower where she has that residential back drop in the photo? I didn’t recognize that area anywhere
    Near downtown-regardless great pics

  14. Kate St. Johnon 15 Mar 2011 at 10:35 pm

    The residential neighborhood is somewhere on the North Side. If you look at the main photo with the orange arrows, you can see there are distant neighborhoods beyond the Gulf Tower. When Sharon zoomed and cropped the photo you can see the houses.

  15. Sharon Leadbitteron 16 Mar 2011 at 7:01 am

    If that’s your house … wave next time ;-)

  16. Cory DeSteinon 16 Mar 2011 at 10:43 am

    Very nice on how clear the houses come in once the photo is cropped! Great detail. Hopefully one of these days downtown I’ll catch a glimpse of them. While checking gulls from the north shore, i got the scope on one of the falcons last month. Pretty cool-E2 and Dorothy however were putting on one heck of a show last friday!

  17. Michellineon 17 Mar 2011 at 2:53 am

    1st egg for Dori and Louie. Here’s the screen shot.

    http://i846.photobucket.com/albums/ab22/M_B_H_B/BCAW%20CMNH%202011/GulfFalcon.jpg

  18. Kate St. Johnon 17 Mar 2011 at 5:16 am

    Thanks, Michelline. You were certainly up late!

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