May 24 2010
Question: Help! I’ve been watching the webcam and I can’t see all the babies! Did one of them fall out of the nest? Help!
Answer: Don’t panic. They’re fine.
Peregrines nestlings at two weeks old begin to move off the nest scrape and sleep in the corners of the nest box. At four weeks old they are almost invisible in bright sunlight on a messy nest. By then their salt-and-pepper feathers match the gravel/debris and they tend to flatten themselves on the nest surface when they sleep in the heat.
At five to six weeks the youngsters will be brown and easy to see but at that point they’ll begin exploring out of camera view. When they do, they may even jump out of sight.
The first time you see a youngster do this you might think he fell from the nest but this is not the case. The camera view is narrow and there’s a lot of territory for the youngsters to explore. Even when young peregrines are on an edge that looks impossible to humans, the birds are OK because they hang on with their sharp talons.
So don’t worry. Peregrine youngsters don’t commit suicide. But they must leave the nest when they learn to fly.
If you want to see where the Pitt peregrines go when they move out of camera view, come to Schenley Plaza.