Archive for the 'Peregrines' Category

Apr 24 2015

Curiouser and Curiouser

Published by under Peregrines

Peregrine dozing high on the Westinghouse Bridge, 12 April 2015 (photo by Dana Nesiti)

Peregrine dozing high on the Westinghouse Bridge, 12 April 2015 (photo by Dana Nesiti)

Identifying this peregrine falcon at the Westinghouse Bridge is a lot harder than we thought.

Thanks to Dana Nesiti’s many fine photographs, we were fairly sure in mid-April that the Black/Green bands were 66/C.  If so, it meant Surprise! the female “Storm” from Canton, Ohio had re-won her old nest site.

But we weren’t sure.

On April 18 John English, Dana Nesiti, and Maury Burgwin made another visit to the Westinghouse Bridge armed with cameras.  Using Dana’s new photos of the bands we were ready to declare this bird is 68/C, a female named Blaze hatched at the Bohn Building in Cleveland in 2005.  However, Anne Marie Bosnyak’s online investigation found that Blaze died in a territorial battle in Michigan in 2008.  This bird cannot be Blaze.  The bands aren’t 68/C. (See the comments on who she was probably fighting!)

So who is this bird?

We know that the 50-60/C series is a large band normally used on female peregrines so this bird is female … right?

Maybe not.  PGC’s peregrine coordinator, Art McMorris, suggests the bands could be 58/C, a male named Mike hatched at the Mendota Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2004.  Sometimes a male receives the large-size band on banding day.

The peregrines’ behavior at the Westinghouse Bridge says that incubation started on Easter Sunday April 5 so it makes sense that the male would be standing guard now (or sleeping) while the female incubates.  The female could still be Hecla (Black/Red 68/H).

The plot thickens.  We need more evidence.

As John English said on Pittsburgh Falconuts Facebook page, it’s “Curiouser and curiouser … Westinghouse Bridge continues to confound and really needs more than just three observers.”

 

(photo by Dana Nesiti)

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Apr 15 2015

Surprise!

Published by under Peregrines

Female peregrine at Westinghouse Bridge, 12 April 2015 (photo by Dana Nesiti)

Female peregrine at Westinghouse Bridge, 12 April 2015 (photo by Dana Nesiti)

It looks like this peregrine falcon is jumping out to surprise us … and so she is!

When Dana Nesiti photographed her at the Westinghouse Bridge last Sunday he got a really good look at her bands and they’re not what we expected.

Female peregrine bands atWestinghouse Bridge, 12 April 2015 (photo by Dana Nesiti)

Female peregrine bands at Westinghouse Bridge, 12 April 2015 (photo by Dana Nesiti)

Since 2012 the female at Westinghouse has been Hecla, Black/Red 68/H, who hatched at the Ironton-Russelton Bridge in Ironton, Ohio in 2009.  Dana’s photos earlier this month confirmed Hecla was still there.

But notice that these bands are Black/Green and appear to be 66/C.

If they are, we’ve seen these bands before.  Black/Green 66/C nested at the Westinghouse Bridge in 2010 and 2011.  Named Storm when she was banded in 2005 at Bank One in Canton, Ohio, PennDOT employees discovered her nest when she attacked them during bridge repairs.

If this is Black/Green 66/C, Storm has reclaimed her old nest site from Hecla.

And there’s an added twist.  It would mean that Pittsburgh has two female peregrines from Bank One, Canton, Ohio.  The second one is Magnum (2010, Bank One) who nests at the I-79 Neville Island Bridge.  Canton Peregrine Fans, did the same peregrine parents nest at Bank One in 2005 (Storm) and 2010 (Magnum)?  If so Storm and Magnum are full sisters.

Thanks to Dana for such great photos.  We hope he gets more of them so we can confirm her bands.

A picture is worth a thousand words!

 

(photos by Dana Nesiti)

p.s.  News on Monday April 13 indicates that Ohio’s peregrine population has fully recovered:  Peregrine falcons have been taken off the Threatened list in Ohio.   Here in southwestern Pennsylvania we can tell that Ohio has a surplus because most of our new nest sites are established by Ohio-born peregrines.

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Apr 14 2015

Dorothy’s Daughters, 2015

Published by under Peregrines

Beauty has four eggs 3 April 2015 (photo from RFalconcam, Rochester, New York)

Beauty has four eggs, 3 April 2015 (photo from RFalconcam, Rochester, New York)

Now incubating on her 15th nest(*) at the Cathedral of Learning, Dorothy is quite the peregrine matriarch.  She has fledged 42 youngsters and is a grandmother and great grandmother many times over.  Most of her “kids” disappeared in history but a few who chose to nest at monitored sites have been identified by their bands.  This spring there’s news of three of her many daughters.

 

Beauty has four eggs in Rochester, New York

Pictured above, Beauty is Dorothy’s most photographed offspring.  Born in 2007 she flew north to Rochester, New York where she nests with Dot.Ca on the Times Square Building.  Five cameras watch her every move but she is unfazed by the paparazzi.  Her love life was rocky in 2011 and 2012 but she and Dot.Ca are a devoted couple now and they’re incubating four eggs.  Follow her news and live video at RFalconcam.

 

Hathor is incubating in Mt. Clemens, Michigan

Hathor is incubating in Mt. Clemens, Michigan (photo by Barb Baldinger)

Hathor is incubating in Mt. Clemens, Michigan (photo by Barb Baldinger)

Hatched in 2003, Hathor nests at the Macomb County Building in Mt. Clemens, Michigan where Chris Becher and Barb Baldinger check on her progress every week.  On April 2 they found two eggs. When they checked on April 9 she was incubating.  Hathor’s nest is not on camera but you can follow her news on the Peregrine Falcons Southeast Michigan Facebook page.

 

Belle is gone from the University of Toledo
Belle at Univ of Toledo (photos from the Univ of Toledo falconcam)

A nest-mate of Hathor’s, Belle made news when she became the first female peregrine to nest at the University of Toledo.  She had undisturbed success at the bell tower, year after year, and fledged 24 young.  But in 2014 another female challenged her while she was incubating four eggs.  During the fight the eggs were scattered and Belle sustained injuries to her face (click here to see).  She healed and hatched two of them.  With extensive help from her mate Allen both youngsters fledged successfully.

Perhaps the fight was a hint of the future.  Cynthia Nowak sent me news that Belle went missing in February and a new, younger female is on the scene.  Though it’s sad to see a peregrine go — especially one of Dorothy’s daughters — we welcome the hope of new peregrine chicks at the University of Toledo where the new female, Liadan, has laid five eggs.  Stay tuned at Toledo Peregrine Project’s Facebook page.

 

(photo credits: Beauty from RFalconcam, Hathor’s eggs by Barb Baldinger, Belle photos from the University of Toledo Fal-cam)

(*) Dorothy first nested at the Cathedral of Learning in 2001 but the nest failed and was never found. A nestbox was provided in 2002.

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Apr 12 2015

A Few Seconds At The Gulf Tower

Published by under Peregrines

A peregrine visited the Gulf Tower nest on April 9 at 1:35pm (image from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

A peregrine visited the Gulf Tower nest on April 9 at 1:35pm (image from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

At midday on Thursday April 9, Ann Hohn at Make-A-Wish saw a peregrine flying around the top of the Gulf Tower.  She didn’t see it stop at the nest so she had no opportunity to find out who it was.  And then the bird was gone.

But the bird tripped the motion detection camera at 1:35pm.  I discovered this when I pulled the two images he generated.

The first photo shows his feet landing on the upper perch.

A peregrine lands at the Gult Tower (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

A peregrine lands at the Gulf Tower (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

The second one shows him on the gravel, looking in the window.

Here’s a closeup.  He’s banded, but the photo is not clear enough to read his bands.  (Click here for the original photo. Can you tell what color his bands are?)

Closeup of peregrine at the Gulf Tower, 9 April 2015, 13:16 (image from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

Closeup of peregrine at the Gulf Tower, 9 April 2015, 1:35 pm (image from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

He looked in the window but left immediately.

Yes, the peregrines are Downtown but they’re not at the Gulf Tower.  We would love to know where they are.

Leave a comment if you see them!

 

(photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

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Apr 10 2015

Cameras Up And Down

Published by under Peregrines

E2 incubates during a severe thunderstorm that downed this camera 54 seconds later, 9 April 2015, 6:12:00 PM

E2 incubates during the severe thunderstorm that downed the camera at 6:12:54 PM, 9 April 2015

BREAKING NEWS AT 1:45PM, APRIL 10!
The streaming camera is up again thanks to Bill Powers from PixController & Phil Hieber at University of Pittsburgh.

THIS MORNING AT 7:15AM I WROTE:
The sun sets close to 8:00pm in Pittsburgh now, yet it was dark last night at 6:12pm in this image from the Cathedral of Learning falconcam.  You can’t see the lightning or hear the thunder but at this moment E2 is watching a severe thunderstorm crashing around him. Soon it began to hail.

And at 6:12:54 PM the camera went down.  The live video went dead.

Lightning can do crazy things.  Bill Powers of PixController hopes a reboot of the streaming camera will revive it (i.e. turning it off/on indoors).  If not, we’ll have wait until the nesting season is over this summer to fix it.

I know what you’re thinking. No, we cannot go out on the ledge to fix the camera.  These are endangered birds, protected by the PA Game Commission, and it’s forbidden to disturb them and their nests.  Besides, it would be counter productive.  If the fix worked you’d get a nice camera image but the peregrines would quit nesting and there’d be nothing to watch.  And an outdoor fix might not work.  If the damage is electrical it’ll require a whole new camera.

The good news is that the Pitt snapshot camera is working though it has no sound and doesn’t stream video.  You can see its snapshots every 10-15 seconds here.

Dorothy incubating, 10 April 2015, 7:18am

Dorothy incubating, 10 April 2015, 7:18am

Dorothy and E2 will continue to incubate their eggs and we’ll see what happens when they’re due to hatch in early May.

Just because we can’t see something streaming live on the Internet doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.  :)

 

(photos from the National Aviary falconcams at University of Pittsburgh)

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Apr 09 2015

Four Eggs!

Dorothy incubating after laying her 4th egg (photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera at Univ of Pittsburgh)

At 2:02pm Dorothy laid her fourth egg.

She looks tired. Now she can rest!

 

LATER:  Here’s the entire Pitt peregrine family at 4:39PM.

E2 inspects the 4 eggs as he relieves Dorothy in incubation (photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera at University of Pittsburgh)

E2 inspects the four eggs when he comes to relieve Dorothy (photo from the National Aviary snapshot camera at University of Pittsburgh)

 

(photos from the National Aviary snapshot cam at University of Pittsburgh)

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Apr 08 2015

Peregrines Around Town

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, 8 April 2015 (photo from the National Aviary snapshot cam at 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.

 

Westinghouse Bridge:

Peregrine falcon, Hecla, at the Westinghouse Bridge (photo by Dana Nesiti)

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 (photo by Anne Marie Bosnyak)

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.

 

Tarentum Bridge:

Peregrine "Hope" at the Tarentum Bridge (photo by Steve Gosser)

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)

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.

 

Downtown Pittsburgh:

Empty Gulf Tower nest, 19 March 2015 (photo from National Aviary falconcam at Gulf Tower)

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)

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.

 

(photo credits:
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
)

5 responses so far

Apr 07 2015

Three Eggs!

Published by under Peregrines

Three eggs as of 7 April 2015 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Three eggs at the Cathedral of Learning as of 7 April 2015 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Dorothy laid her third egg this morning at 4:04am. In this snapshot, she’s leaving to eat breakfast.

She paused on the front perch …

Dorothy with her three eggs, 7 April 2015 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at University of Pittsburgh)

Dorothy with her three eggs, 7 April 2015 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

…and E2 came into the picture to cover the eggs.

E2 on the nest while Dorothy eats breakfast, 7 April 2015 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at University of Pittsburgh)

E2 on the nest while Dorothy eats breakfast, 7 April 2015 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam)

 

At 16 years old, every egg is a miracle for this matriarch peregrine falcon. Her second egg on April 4 spawned a follow-up Post-Gazette article and a video on KDKA.  Her celebrity is growing.

 

(photo from the National Aviary falconcam at University of Pittsburgh.  Click on the image to watch the live feed)

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Apr 05 2015

Two Eggs!

Dorothy with 2 eggs, 4 April 2015 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Dorothy with 2 eggs, 4 April 2015 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Yesterday morning Dorothy made news in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette with an article about her miracle egg, laid at age 16 (click here to read).

Then yesterday afternoon at 3:33pm she performed another miracle and laid a second egg.

A year ago on this date she was recovering from being egg bound on egg#2 so she’s already doing better this year than last. Definitely a healthy sign.

Last evening I saw Dorothy shake open her brood patch and warm the eggs but …

Dorothy incubating 2 eggs, 4 April 2015 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Dorothy appears to be incubating at 6:42pm … (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

… this was not the start of incubation.  It was only a temporary warming.  As you can see from this overnight footage she isn’t incubating yet.

Not incubating yet, 1:39am, 5 April 2015 (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Dorothy roosting near her two eggs, 5 April 2015, 1:39am  (photo from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)

Peregrines begin incubation after the female lays her next-to-last egg.  Technically the eggs hatch in 32 days but it’s hard to tell when incubation begins.  (The textbooks used to say 33-35 days. )

Delayed incubation results in synchronous hatching.  All the peregrine eggs hatch on the same day (except for the one laid after incubation began) and all the chicks are the same age.  Peregrine nestlings do not compete with each other for food like bald eaglets do.  There is no danger of siblicide.

The fact that she isn’t incubating means Dorothy thinks there’s another egg in her but we don’t know how many.  We have no hatch date estimate yet.

 

(photos from the National Aviary falconcam at the University of Pittsburgh)

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Apr 02 2015

Dorothy Laid An Egg

Dorothy inspects her egg, 2 April 2015, 6:41am (snapshot from the Naitonal Aviary falconcam at University of Pittsburgh)

Dorothy laid her first egg of 2015 this morning at 6:41 am at the Cathedral of Learning.

At 16 years old she is elderly for a peregrine falcon, so every egg is a miracle.  This is her latest ever first egg date.  In her prime, she always laid in mid March.

Shortly after laying the egg, she called E2 and he came to see.

Dorothy and E2 discuss the first egg (photo from teh National Aviary falconcam at University of Pittsburgh)

 

7:52am:  E2 brought breakfast for Dorothy. After she left to eat he zoomed in to guard the egg.

E2 arrives to guard the egg (snapshot from the National Aviary falconcam ay University of Pittsburgh)

 

And here’s a video of the egg laying, thanks to Bill Powers at PixController. There is no color in the video because it happened just before dawn.

Watch Dorothy and E2 here on the National Aviary falconcam at the Cathedral of Learning.

If you’re new to peregrines, click here for information on their nesting habits.  Learn about the color of their eggs and their strategy for incubation.

 

(snapshot from the National Aviary falconcam at the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning)

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