Mar 24 2014
It’s very cold this morning: 14 degrees at the airport, 21 degrees in my city backyard. Assuming the Cathedral of Learning is just as warm as my backyard (1.5 miles away), the temperature at the nest has been below freezing since 8:00pm last night.
For whatever reason, Dorothy stopped sheltering her egg around 9:30pm.
Peregrine falcons don’t begin incubation until they’ve laid their next to last egg in the clutch. However, they do shelter the eggs to keep them from freezing. In her younger years Dorothy would have been on top of the egg in weather like this, not merely standing over it, and it would look like she’s incubating. But she’s not.
The egg is certainly frozen and will never hatch. CORRECTION! I have since learned that it might hatch. (It was not incubated and abandoned to the cold weather so it might be viable.)
This spring Dorothy is 15 years old, retirement age for wild peregrines. She has a reason for acting this way. I don’t know what it is.
(photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh