2017 Nesting Season
Hope has been seen on camera several times in January 2017; on January 13 she was there chee-upping loudly; Terzo could be heard calling loudly back to her from off camera.
2016 Nesting Season
The nesting season started with the pair Hope (female) and E2 (male) as the resident pair. Hope laid her first egg on March 13. On March 15 E2 was found dead about a half mile away from the nest, apparently struck by a car. Despite being along, Hope proceeded to lay two more eggs. Then, on March 23, a new male peregrine arrived, and he was dubbed "Terzo", which means third in Italian. Hope laid a 4th egg on April 2. The 1st egg hatched on April 29. Inexplicably, Hope killed and ate the next two chicks as they hatched. The last chick died, too, and she ate it. The first-hatched chick, however, thrived. It was banded on May 29 and fledged two weeks later on June 13. This was the first successful fledging of a Peregrine at Pitt since 2013!
Although the reasons for Hope's aberrant behavior toward her other chicks and eggs cannot be known, it is worth noting that intruding female Peregrine Falcons were observed on camera at least two times prior to the hatching of her first egg, on April 8 and April 23. Intruders were subsequently observed there on June 22, August 2, August 14, and November 14. Meanwhile, between February and November, Hope herself was observed several times by falcon watchers at her old nest site on the Tarentum Bridge.
In the final days of the year, though, Terzo and Hope were seen engaging in courtship bowing displays at the Cathedral nest site.
History of Nesting at Pitt
Peregrines have nested at the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning for 12 years. Dorothy began nesting here in 2002 with her first mate, Erie. In the fall of 2007, when 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, was unsuccessful, and in November 2015 a new female appeared at the nest box with E2. We assume that Dorothy finally succumbed to the effects of her very old age (almost 17 years old) for a wild Peregrine.
A replacement female for Dorothy, known as "Hope," did not have to come from very far away. She tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to nest at the Tarentum Bridge (about twelve miles away as the falcon flies) for several years. Presumably, E2 somehow made his unmated status known--perhaps with conspicuous flight and vocal behaviors--and Hope decided to join him in Oakland at the Cathedral of Learning.
For up-to-date news and views about all Pittsburgh's peregrines, visit "Outside My Window,"Kate St. John's Bird Blog.
Many thanks to our partners: University of Pittsburgh, WildEarth, M&P Security Solutions, and the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Our sincere thanks to PixController, Inc. for providing many years of nest cam maintenance and support.
Alternate Nest View
Click on the picture below for an image that refreshes automatically every 15 seconds.