Though all eyes are on Dorothy and E2 at the Cathedral of Learning, there are up to 10 other peregrine sites in the Pittsburgh area. Here’s all the news.
Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh:
Dorothy incubating her eggs on a gray morning, 8 April 2015 (photo from the National Aviary snapshot cam at University of Pittsburgh)
The Big Sit begins: Except for a few standing-up moments, it appears Dorothy began incubation yesterday so we can expect her eggs to hatch around May 10 if they are viable. In the meantime she’s now a media star for having laid three eggs at age 16 after her egg bound episode last spring. Click on these links to read about her third egg, learn what egg bound means, and why those of us who know her can see that she’s showing her age.
Hecla at the Westinghouse Bridge, 4 April 2015 (photo by Dana Nesiti)
Peregrines have nested at the Westinghouse Bridge since at least 2010 but can be hard to find. Volunteer monitor John English solved this problem by introducing local peregrine fans to the site — and they have helped. Dana Nesiti photographed the female on April 4 and confirmed she’s still Hecla, born at the Ironton-Russelton Bridge, Ohio in 2009. Then on April 6 Dave Kerr heard a peregrine calling and watched as it presented prey to Hecla on the catwalk. The nature of that exchange indicates she’s on eggs. Yay!
I-79 Neville Island Bridge:
Magnum at the I-79 Neville Island Bridge, 4 April 2015 (photo by Anne Marie Bosnyak)
In 2012 we learned that peregrines were nesting at the I-79 Neville Island Bridge when one of their young was found swimming in the Ohio River. Last year a similar mishap probably killed their lone nestling who went missing after a bad storm. But, so far so good this year. Anne Marie Bosnyak has seen the pair calling, mating, and exchanging prey and their behavior now indicates they are probably incubating eggs. Anne Marie confirmed that the female is Magnum, hatched at Bank One, Canton, Ohio in 2010. The male is still unidentified.
Hope at the Tarentum Bridge (photo by Steve Gosser)
Hope from Hopewell, Virginia (2008) has made the Tarentum Bridge her home since 2010. Rob Protz checks on her every week — sometimes several times a day — but she is quite skilled at avoiding detection. Rob saw her eating prey on Easter Day but he couldn’t see where she went when she flew under the New Kensington side of the bridge. Last year’s nest site was so inaccessible that the PA Game Commission installed a nestbox for her this winter. She doesn’t seem to be using it yet.
Elizabeth Bridge: NEW SITE?
One of two peregrines on the Elizabeth Bridge, 26 March 2015 (photo by Jim Hausman)
Imagine Jim Hausman’s surprise when he examined his photos of a peregrine on the Elizabeth Bridge and found out there were actually two! This bridge over the Monongahela River hasn’t been on our radar as a peregrine nest site but now it is. Jim keeps checking but hasn’t seen any peregrines there again. However, these birds are notoriously sneaky when they’re nesting so they might be at the Elizabeth Bridge, just keeping a low profile. If so, this site would be the ninth location in our metro area.
The Downtown peregrines are nesting somewhere but not at Gulf (photo from the Gulf Tower falconcam)
Speaking of sneaky peregrines, the downtown peregrines have abandoned the Gulf Tower again but are still nesting in the city center. At Peregrine Quest on March 22 we saw peregrines Downtown, could tell by their behavior that they were probably nesting, but did not get a hint at their nest location. Later Heather Jacoby made several trips to their last known sighting — 9th Street at Liberty Avenue — but came up empty though she saw them flying by. The pair is Downtown but they’re not letting us know where. If you see them, please leave a comment to let us know!
Highland Park area: Solo Peregrine
Peregrine in Highland Park, March 2015 (photo by Maury Burgwin)
For a week in mid-March, Maury Burgwin saw and photographed this peregrine in the Highland Park area. If it had stayed in Pittsburgh it could have made a tenth peregrine site, but it was alone and it hasn’t been seen lately. Perhaps it moved on.
And finally, these three sites are mysteries:
- On March 30 Leslie Ferree saw a possibly immature peregrine at the McKees Rocks Bridge where peregrines have been known to nest for many years.
- The peregrine pair at Monaca, Beaver County have moved to the inaccessible railroad bridge instead of using the easy-to-monitor Monaca-East Rochester Bridge. Extremely sneaky!
- And, though nesting was attempted in 2013, there are no peregrines at the Green Tree water tower this year. None at all.
Cathedral of Learning: Dorothy and 3 eggs from the National Aviary falconcam at the University of Pittsburgh. Click on the image to watch the live feed.
Westinghouse Bridge: peregrine female, Hecla, by Dana Nesiti
I-79 Neville Island: peregrine female, Magnum, by Anne Marie Bosnyak
Tarentum Bridge: peregrine female, Hope, by Steve Gosser
Elizabeth Bridge: unidentified peregrine by Jim Hausman
Highland Park area: unidentified peregrine photographed by Maury Burgwin)