As of late afternoon on April 20th, three out the clutch of five eggs have hatched! The first of five eggs hatched on the morning of April 19th; by the end of the day, a pip already was visible on a second egg.
A second egg was laid on the afternoon of 3/10/17, and a third one on early morning on 3/13/17; the pair is now incubating. The fourth egg was laid on 3/15/17 around 10:45 in the morning. Hatching is expected around April 16. A fifth and final egg was laid on March 17.
Peregrine Falcons have not nested at the Gulf Tower since 2014, but the same pair that last nested there (known to area falcon watchers as Dori and Louie) still controls the entire Downtown territory. From last December through this February, the pair has appeared at the Gulf Tower site intermittently, and we were cautiously optimistic that they would decide to use the site for nesting this year. Well, as of this morning, they appear to have decided to return to their aerie on the Gulf Tower! Dori laid her first egg of the season there at 8:29 am on March 8th!
Peregrines typically lay eggs during the latter half of March, so this is a rather early start. Typical clutch size for the species is four eggs (range 3-5); each successive egg is laid 2-3 days after the preceding egg. Incubation commences when the penultimate (or second to last) egg in the clutch is laid, and the incubation period lasts about 33 days; the female does about two-thirds of the incubation, and the male incubates one-third of the time.
2016 Nesting Season Summary
2016 was another successful nesting year for the Downtown Pittsburgh Peregrine Falcons even though they ultimately didn’t choose the Gulf Tower site with its nestcam. The pair known as Dori and Louie began the year at the Gulf Tower nest and visited frequently until mid-March, but then they disappeared. Volunteer falcon watchers couldn’t find them for almost two months, but finally, on May 9, Lori Maggio saw them bringing food to their old nest site on 3rd Avenue. The chicks appeared at the nest opening on May 31, and four chicks fledged within three days: June 6-8. One fledgling became temporarily grounded on Wood Street, but volunteers were able to contact PA Game Commission officers who moved it to a perch well above street level. The fourth chick flew successfully from that perch the very next day. After the chicks became independent, Dori and Louie spent the rest of the year visiting all three of their former nest sites.
Peregrine Falcons have nested in downtown Pittsburgh since 1991. For 21 years in a row they nested at the Gulf Tower, then they left it for a new site across the street from Point Park University in 2012 and 2013. On March 10, 2014 they returned to the Gulf Tower and successfuly nested there. Encouraged by their return, prior to the 2015 nesting season we installed a brand new, high-definiton camera at the Gulf Tower nest site. That year the pair decided to nest near Macy's downtown. In 2016 the pair again returned to the Gulf Building and showed some interest in the nest box, but then they elected to return to their 2013 nesting location near Point Park University. We're crossing our fingers for 2017!
For recent news and views about Pittsburgh's peregrines, visit "Outside My Window," Kate St. John's Bird Blog.
You can always join the conversation and share what you see on the National Aviary's Pittsburgh Peregrine Falcon Nest Cams using the hashtag #pghfalconcam and your observations will be shared!
Many thanks to our partners: Gulf Tower Management, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Robert Peirce and Associates, 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.
Click on the picture below for an image that refreshes automatically every minute.
To view the archives of this nest cam, go to http://www.wildearth.tv/video-archives and select "Gulf Tower Falcons" from the drop down list.