Storm attacks the banders, 22 June 2015 (photo by Dana Nesiti)
A week ago two peregrine nestlings were banded at the Westinghouse Bridge. This coming weekend we’ll hold a Fledge Watch. That’s how fast they mature and fly.
Banding Day, June 22, was the most excitement Pittsburgh Falconuts had seen for a very long time. The mother peregrine, Storm, put on quite a show when the PA Game Commission’s Dan Brauning came to town to band her babies.
The only way to reach the nest was by using PennDOT’s bucket truck but that didn’t make it easy. Storm lived up to her name by frequently attacking the three men in the bucket, screaming at them the entire time.
Storm hits a man in the bucket truck (photo by Thomas Moeller)
She was full of tricky maneuvers and soon made a direct hit on somebody’s helmet. We gasped as it fell 240 feet to the ground. My heavens, she knocked off his head! Whew… not really.
Storm knocks off a helmet as the bucket approaches her nest, 22 June 2015 (photo by Thomas Moeller)
The closer the bucket came, the harder she pushed.
PGC’s Dan Brauning holds out his hand to fend off Storm as she attacks (photo by Dana Nesiti)
Dan Brauning gave her something to hit — his hand.
Storm, the hand, the broom. Yikes! (photo by Dana Nesiti)
She screamed non-stop for half an hour until the banding was done and the men climbed back into the bucket. With her quiet at last on the catwalk railing, Dan Brauning took a moment to congratulate her.
After the chicks are banded, Dan Brauning has a heart-to-heart talk with Storm (photo by Thomas Moeller)
As the bucket left the scene, Dan held up two fingers. V for victory? No, he means “2 chicks in the nest.” 1 male, 1 female.
Two chicks (photo by Thomas Moeller)
Applause, applause! And we all went home.
Stay tuned for the Westinghouse Bridge Fledge Watch schedule this coming Fourth of July weekend. –> I don’t have dates and times yet because Westinghouse site monitor John English broke a rib last Friday. Oh no! Get well soon, John!
UPDATE July 2, 2015:
Fledge Watch has been canceled because Norfolk Southern Railroad doesn’t want us under the bridge. That area is their property.
(photos by Thomas J. Moeller and Dana Nesiti)