The National Aviary will remain closed through at least April 30. Supporting the National Aviary during these uncertain times helps us to continue providing the very best care to the birds and animals of the National Aviary. Please consider donating to our Emergency Care Efforts at this time. https://www.aviary.org/emergency-care-efforts

The National Aviary will remain closed through at least April 30. Supporting the National Aviary during these uncertain times helps us to continue providing the very best care to the birds and animals of the National Aviary. Please consider donating to our Emergency Care Efforts at this time. https://www.aviary.org/emergency-care-efforts

Pitt Peregrine Falcon Nest Cam

Caring for birds and mammals is still our top priority during these uncertain times. Please consider helping today. Through your donation or membership, we can continue providing for animals at the National Aviary, as well as sustain our educational programming. Join us: we're all in this together:

Welcome to the 2020 season of the National Aviary’s Peregrine Falcon Nestcam!

Our nestcam is situated high up on the south side of the Cathedral of Learning on the main campus of the University of Pittsburgh.  From there the falcons can access Schenley Park and Monongahela River to the south.

To start the video stream, click the "Play" button.  Note that the video stream may automatically stop after 5 minutes; to restart, just click the 'Play' button again, and it will resume streaming for another five minutes.  This helps to conserve bandwidth, which is very important in order to ensure that everybody who wants to can view the nestcam, and it helps reduce our costs for streaming the camera.

If you would like to help support the costs of the camera's operation, please donate here!

Latest News!

A new female peregrine, dubbed “Morela” in recognition of her apricot-tinged breast feathers ("morela" is Polish for "apricot"), arrived at the Cathedral of Learning in September 2019.  She and Terzo were observed courting at the nest site beginning in late October. 

If all goes well, this new pairing will lead to much better nesting outcomes than we have seen in recent years.

The History of Peregrines at Pitt

The Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh has hosted a pair of Peregrine Falcons since 2002, when "Dorothy" began nesting here with a tiercel (male falcon) named "Erie." In the fall of 2007, after Erie disappeared, another male (“Erie II”, or “E2”) showed up. Dorothy fledged a total of 22 chicks in seven years with Erie and another 20 chicks with E2. Her last nesting attempt, in 2015 at age 17, which is very old for a Peregrine Falcon, was unsuccessful. In November 2015 a new female, “Hope,” appeared at the nest box with E2.

Hope's arrival at the Cathedral of Learning followed several years of trying unsuccessfully to nest at the Tarentum Bridge (about 12 miles away as the falcon flies). Hope’s initial mate at the Cathedralwas E2, succeeded by “Terzo” when E2 died in March 2016. 

Hope nested at the Cathedral of Learning for four seasons, 2016 through 2019, during which time she exhibited very abnormal behavior.  She displayed aggression toward her chicks, and out of 16 hatched eggs, only 8 lived to fledge.  We, and the experts we have consulted, have no explanation for Hope’s highly unusual behavior.

In September 2019, a new unbanded female peregrine arrived at the Cathedral of Learning. By the end of October this new female was firmly established and courting at the nest with Terzo. Because she’s unbanded, we don't know where the new female came from.  The distinctive apricot-colored wash on her chest and face makes her recognizable on camera.  

Morela and Terzo likely will stay near the Cathedral of Learning throughout the year.

For up-to-date news and views about all of Pittsburgh's Peregrine Falcons, visit "Outside My Window," Kate St. John's Bird Blog. 

Many thanks to our partners:  University of Pittsburgh, M&P Security Solutions, and the Pennsylvania Game Commission. 

More About Peregrine Falcons:

Peregrine Falcons are the world’s fastest animal, clocking in at speeds of over 200 miles per hour! These fierce birds of prey grow quickly, too. Peregrine Falcons lay  a group of 2 to 5 eggs (a group of eggs is called a “clutch”), and are well known for using the ledges of tall buildings (like University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning) for their nesting sites. 

The female Peregrine will incubate the eggs for about a month, sitting on them to keep them warm, and when the chicks hatch they are small, nearly featherless, and very dependent on their parents. But they mature very quickly, and within a week of hatching they nearly double their size! Within a month, they go from having soft, downy white feathers to dark brown feathers, or plumage. By around 5 weeks old, they are ready to fledge the nest! 

Peregrine Falcons stay with their parents through the summer, learning to hunt and navigate their world. The next time you are out on a walk, look for Peregrine Falcons on the ledges of tall buildings or under the bridges along Pittsburgh’s three rivers!

Want to learn more from home? Check out our Education Corner!