May 20 2014
Today’s peregrine banding at the Gulf Tower was a happy return to Pittsburgh’s first nest site. Peregrines nested there continuously from 1991 to 2011 but left it in 2012 and 2013 while workmen were installing the new lighting scheme on the roof.
After two years on a short building Dori and Louie came back to the 37th floor and so did Dan Brauning, PA Game Commission Wildlife Diversity Chief, and Tom Keller, PGC biologist. Dori remembered the routine and was on guard as soon as Gulf Tower Maintenance popped open the access window. She’s seen this before!
Dan and Tom carefully went out on the ledge. Not only is it a sheer drop to the street but Dori and Louie attacked while the men very gently collected the chicks.
Indoors all five chicks passed their physical exam with flying colors but it was hard to sex them by weight. At 28-30 days old there was one obvious female, two males, and two others on the weight borderline between male and female designation. Dan gave them female bands and listed them as “unknown.” We’ll certainly find out what sex they are when they nest.
The “kids” were back in the nest in no time, had a quick snack and fell asleep. The excitement was so much for them that they slept for several hours … like babies.
I’ll be putting my best photos into a slideshow soon. Watch this space for more!
(photos by Kate St. John)