Mother peregrine, Dori, guards while a nestling explores, Friday June 5, 2015 (photo by Matthew Digiacomo)
In less than a week three peregrine nestlings will make their first flight in Downtown Pittsburgh. Because their nest is low they might need our help.
In the first 24 hours of flight, fledgling peregrines lack the wing strength to take off from the ground. If they land on the street they just stand there and may be hit by vehicles.
Last Friday’s photo shows they were speckled with white down and brown feathers.
Downtown Pittsburgh peregrine nestlings, Friday June 5, 2015 (photo by Matthew Digiacomo)
By the time they fly they will be all brown with dark cheek stripes like the bird circled in red (and like this bird yesterday at Neville Island).
Comparing red-tailed hawk & immature peregrine. Click on this photo for more details
What you can do: If you see a peregrine on the street, call the PA Game Commission (PGC) at 724-238-9523. If you can safely do so, carefully corral and guard the bird until PGC arrives.
You can also volunteer for Fledge Watch June 13-20 during daylight hours in the vicinity of Fifth Avenue at Grant Street. (The Watch will end before June 20 if the last bird has flown for 24 hours.)
The #1 purpose of this Watch is to educate the public so lots of people know to call the Game Commission if they find a downed peregrine. Yes, we’d love to believe trained volunteers would find every bird, but the reality in Downtown Pittsburgh is that peregrines in trouble are found by people who’ve never seen a peregrine. People often tell building security guards about the birds so I’ve notified management/security at the nearby buildings.
The second purpose of the Watch is to station a few trained volunteers in the vicinity of Fifth Avenue and Grant Street to watch and wait just in case. This area is made up of sidewalks and private property so we cannot congregate as we do at the annual Pitt Peregrine Fledge Watch in Schenley Plaza. Two to four people at a time is all we need.
You can participate by formally signing up for a shift or by informally checking the area as you pass through on your way to work.
Learn what to do: Get training before you participate! I’ll conduct two basic training sessions at Mellon Square on Saturday June 13 at 10:00am and Monday June 15 at noon. You’ll recognize me by my hat and binoculars and bright fluorescent yellow backpack.
How to sign up: To volunteer for a shift, click here to see open times on the Downtown Pittsburgh Peregrine Fledge Watch Calendar (click on an appointment to see its time span). Then leave a comment on this article with your name, email address and the dates/times you’d like to volunteer. I will see your message and add your shift to the calendar.
If you cannot commit to a date/time but will be Downtown to watch informally, leave a comment with name, email and the location where you’ll be watching.
Meanwhile, though the nest doesn’t have a webcam Matthew Digiacomo is documenting the nestlings’ progress in photographs on his Flickr site. Click here or on this photo to see how beautiful they are.
Two of the three nestlings, Downtown Pittsburgh, 5 June 2015 (photo by Matthew Digiacomo)
I hope to meet you at Mellon Square.
Downtown peregrine photos by Matthew Digiacomo.
Comparison photos of red-tailed hawk and peregrine by Katie Cunningham (hawk) and Kim Steininger (peregrine))
See this link if you have questions about the weather.