Apr 18 2011

Eggs Will Hatch Soon… Amid Some Distraction

Published by at 7:15 am under Peregrines


Later this week — in as little as 3 to 5 days — the peregrine eggs at the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning will hatch.  Dorothy and E2 will be busy with many mouths to feed.

Unfortunately, they’ve been busy with another task as well:  defending their territory.

A third adult peregrine, a female intruder, has been showing up at the Cathedral of Learning and trying to challenge Dorothy for the site.  Last week we saw at least four challenges.

At lunchtime on Friday Karen Lang and I watched E2 fly in very high above the Cathedral of Learning.  Then he dove at an approaching female peregrine who evaded him and flew around the building.  E2 did not “kak” or wail but when Dorothy caught a glimpse from her position on the nest she wailed and came off the eggs in a rush.  Angry and flapping hard (flapping is a threat display) she chased the intruder out of sight in a matter of minutes. 

All was calm for more than three hours.  Then while watching the webcam after 5pm, I saw Dorothy leap off the nest again.  I looked out my office window and saw peregrines flying around the top of the Cathedral of Learning and E2 came in to incubate the eggs.  Another intrusion.  Again Dorothy chased the intruder away.

So far Dorothy is victorious.  Karen assures me Dorothy is one tough peregrine and will not lose the site this season, but until Dorothy completely convinces the intruder to leave she will have to chase her over and over again.

On the webcam you may notice this when Dorothy leaves suddenly.  If you hear her wail and she leaves the nest abruptly, she is chasing away the unknown female.  

I am cheering for Dorothy.  So far so good.

But no matter what happens — whether Dorothy wins or loses — there is nothing we can or should do about it.  We are privileged to observe these birds but they are very different from us and we cannot change them.   This is how peregrine “society” works.  It’s how they assure that the best peregrines survive.

So watch the webcams for the latest developments.  You may see some distraction at the Cathedral of Learning.  

Soon the eggs will hatch at both Pittsburgh sites.  Here’s my best guess at the hatch dates:

(photo from the National Aviary webcam at the University of Pittsburgh)

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Eggs Will Hatch Soon… Amid Some Distraction”

  1. faith cornellon 18 Apr 2011 at 7:42 am

    As in nature and in mankind to quote an author whose name escapes me at the moment “life is not the way its supposed to be, its the way it is”. After watching these many peregrine life cycles & lately some of the most beautiful eagle nest pictures from Norfolk it is lovely & awesome to watch but nature has it rules. So we enjoy and relish in the Dorothy’s of the world. She is a good mother and we will love her always & remember her forever if it is her time to leave us. But NOT THIS YEAR!!!!!! Those are her babies and hopefully she can keep this intruder away for now. Thanks for your life lessons Kate & reminding us that they are truly wild and no we cannot interfere. That was the fear in Norfolk over weekend that the eaglets would be lost to a tornado and they were not, they are to be banded at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens the 21st.

  2. Patsyon 18 Apr 2011 at 7:51 am

    Kate, now that you are talking about a female intrusion at the COL, I am wondering if anyone has mentioned anything about seeing a falcon close to the Allegheny/Westmoreland county border around North Huntingdon/Irwin area. A friend of mine is relatively certain they saw a falcon land in that area. I am also wondering if the falcons that were at the Westinghouse Bridge last year have been sited, and is perhaps this female from that pair?

  3. sharon leadbiteron 18 Apr 2011 at 7:54 am

    So I have about 8 days to wait for the Gulf Tower babies … it has been sooooo uneventful in town. I almost forget to take my camera to work ….. almost :-)

  4. Marianneon 18 Apr 2011 at 10:30 am

    Go Dorothy! Keep the intruder away!

  5. kathyon 20 Apr 2011 at 6:01 am

    The other falcon must sense a weakness in Dorothy and think she has a chance otherwise she’d have left by now…this makes me nervous but given her age I’m not surprised to hear of it. I hope Dorothy can prevail.

    Kate, I know you can’t interfere now however should the other female succeed and the eggs have hatched – would you rescue them? In many other cases the new female would kill the newborns as we’ve seen at some other sites on cam. Sorry to ask that question but after reading this Im quite concerned.

  6. Kate St. Johnon 20 Apr 2011 at 7:17 am

    We have not seen any intruders since late Friday (knock on wood!).

    >I know you can’t interfere …
    You’re right. We cannot interfere. People rescue injured animals/birds but do not “rescue” uninjured wildlife from the society they live in. For example, when a bald eagle nestling oppresses and kills its sibling — even if this occurs on camera — no one “rescues” the weak eaglet. If it dies, it dies. That’s how Nature is. Sometimes we like it, sometimes we don’t.

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