Feb 27 2014
Hold onto your hats! Peregrine courtship is in full swing and in only two weeks we may see the first peregrine egg in Pittsburgh.
Chad+Chris Saladin captured this shot of Titan and GG mating in Lakewood, Ohio early this month. Our peregrines are on the same schedule so you may be lucky to see this too, if you visit one of Pittsburgh’s nest sites.
- University of Pittsburgh, Cathedral of Learning: Dorothy and E2 are at home every day. Their courtship includes fancy flying, food offerings from E2 to Dorothy, and mating, of course. On Monday I watched E2 chase a distant peregrine out of his airspace. He flew like an arrow, pumping his wings so the other peregrine could see him coming. By the time he caught up to that bird he was a speck in my binoculars. The intruder left quickly without a fight.
- Gulf Tower: The downtown peregrines have come home to the Gulf Tower! Day after day they court and perch at the nestbox and the female digs in the gravel to prepare the nest. We presume this pair is still Dori and Louie who last nested here in 2011. Webcam snapshots of the female show Dori’s unique look including the color of her bands (haven’t read them yet) and her white shoulder “headlights.” Sooner or later we’ll know for sure. (Stay tuned for news of the falconcam.)
- Tarentum Bridge: Visit the Tarentum boat launch under the bridge to see this pair in courtship. Leslie Ferree took pictures last Sunday and posted them on the Pittsburgh Falconuts Facebook page.
- Monaca Bridges, Beaver County: Last year this pair nested on an inaccessible railroad bridge over the Ohio River where Tim and Karena Johnson saw them mating last Sunday. There are so many bridges to choose from that we can only hope they’ll return to Monaca-East-Rochester where they were easier to see and band.
- Neville Island I-79 Bridge: Anne Marie Bosnyak visited the area on February 15 and found both peregrines perched in a tree on the Glenfield side of the river.
- Westinghouse Bridge: Our #1 observer at this site, John English, has not been able to spend much time there so we have no recent sightings. If you’re in the area, take a look.
- McKees Rocks Bridge: eBird reports that a peregrine was seen on Brunot’s Island (near the bridge) and Leslie Ferree saw one last Sunday. If you’re looking for waterfowl near the penitentiary at Doerr Street or on the Mckees Rocks side of the Ohio, check the power towers for a peregrine.
- Green Tree water tower: Until yesterday morning the news here was “missing for many months” but yesterday Mary Jo Peden saw a peregrine perched on the water tower and Karena saw one (or both?) as well. This is the easiest site to check if you’re in traffic heading to town on the Parkway West.
Right now is the very best time to watch peregrines because they want to be seen — by other peregrines. Stop by any of these sites to check out their activity. Keep alert for peregrines on bridges and other tall structures and you might find a new nest site. Let me know what you see.
In as little as two weeks — March 13 — one of these nests may have an egg.
(photo by Chad+Chris Saladin. Click on the image to see the original.)