Jun 01 2014
An enthusiastic crowd of seven watched seven peregrines yesterday afternoon at Flag Plaza. To beat the heat we stayed in the shade.
The view from the plaza takes in all the key buildings where Downtown Pittsburgh’s peregrines hang out plus a lot of airspace nearby.
We saw all five juveniles — three at the nest zone and two on the Gulf Tower pyramid roof. From their behavior we surmised that:
- Two have fledged. Last night we saw a juvenile fly around the roof of the U.S. Steel Tower and another on the stone “ball” on top of Gulf’s pyramid. Two juveniles spent this afternoon on the pyramid steps — probably the same two.
- Three juveniles spent all day at the nest zone but often out of webcam view. They use adjacent ledges (same floor) to make short practice flights from pillar to pillar. If you’re watching on the Internet you think they’re gone. Nope!
- All five juveniles did some energetic flapping. We saw one fly when Dori stopped by the pyramid with a treat.
- Louie and Dori perch on the high corners of the U.S. Steel Tower (UPMC) to watch their “kids.” At one point both peregrine parents were on U.S.Steel and the five juvies were in view on Gulf. The entire peregrine family!
When peregrine watching was dull, local wildlife caught our attention including: a male American kestrel, a northern mockingbird, chimney swifts, northern rough-winged swallows, American robins, common grackles, a yellow warbler, house finches, song sparrows, house sparrows, and European starlings. And we saw a groundhog climb a tree by the parking lot! Going up was easy for this large rodent. Down was a stumble.
Flag Plaza has lots of free parking and a good view of seven peregrines. Come on down today, June 1, noon to 4:00pm. Click here for directions.
(photos by Kate St. John)