Mar 19 2012
Every March since 1991 this nest site has been abuzz with peregrine activity … but not this year.
In a normal year the peregrines would appear on camera several times a day to court and dig the scrape. Dori would spend more and more time at the nest as she got closer to laying eggs. We’d hear Louie call off camera as he came in for a visit.
None of this has occurred since March 1. Even before that date the peregrines visited very little this season and by now we’re worried that they won’t nest here at all.
What’s going on? Are Louie and Dori being challenged by other peregrines? Have they chosen a different nest site?
The answers can’t be found on camera. We need some sharp-eyed observers Downtown to tell us what they see. Here’s what to watch for:
- Where are the pigeons? This might sound dumb but birds go where the food is and pigeons are peregrine food. The hundreds of pigeons that lived at nearby Mellon Square have left because of reconstruction. Louie and Dori’s nearby food source has moved on so maybe they moved too. Find out where the pigeons are now and you might find Louie and Dori.
- Have you seen peregrines anywhere? If so, where? Keep track of location, date and time so you can see a pattern.
- Have you heard any peregrines’ screeching or loud wailing? What location, date and time? (The last “screeching” report was March 15, 7:20am near the Gulf Tower.)
- A peregrine was seen twice in the same day (March 10) in the area bounded by Smithfield St, Boulevard of the Allies, Wood St and the Monongahela River. This is a good area to check in case it’s the new hang-out.
- And finally, if you’ve seen a peregrine flying was it flapping the tips of its wings a lot? This is a territorial signal that’s usually done near the nest site. If they’re doing this in another part of town, maybe they’ve chosen that area.
So if you’re in downtown Pittsburgh, please look for the peregrines — and pigeon flocks — and tell us what you see.
Where are they??
(photo from the National Aviary webcam at Gulf Tower, Pittsburgh)