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March 17, 2016

CL home to new peregrine

Pitt’s male peregrine, E2, has welcomed a new mate to the nest atop the Cathedral of Learning this season.

E2 had been spotted on the Cathedral’s nest cam in recent months courting a female identified as Hope, who previously resided at the Tarentum Bridge.

Hope is named for her birthplace, Hopewell, Virginia. Born in 2008, she’s younger than E2, who hatched in 2005 at the Gulf Tower nest in Downtown Pittsburgh.

Hope began frequenting the Cathedral of Learning nest site in November and now has made it her home. She laid her first egg March 13 and, as of press time on Wednesday, had laid a second egg. To view the nest cam, visit

Peregrines nest once a year, laying an average of four eggs. Chicks typically hatch after 30-32 days of incubation, according to the National Aviary.

Hope’s longtime predecessor, Dorothy, has not been seen since fall and is presumed dead. At nearly 17 years old, Dorothy was well past the typical 10-12 year lifespan for peregrines in the wild.

Dorothy was born in Milwaukee in 1999 and began nesting at the Cathedral of Learning in 2002. She added 43 offspring to the peregrine population, fledging 21 chicks with E2 since 2008 and 22 with her prior mate, Erie.

The Cathedral of Learning nest has produced no surviving offspring in the past three years. As female peregrines age, their fertility declines and the incidence of birth defects in their offspring increases.

The sole chick that hatched last spring had neurological deficits and abnormal feathers. Unable to fly, it was taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center and died several weeks later at an emergency veterinary clinic. (See July 23, 2015, University Times.)

In 2014 Dorothy laid one egg, which did not hatch. In 2013, two of five eggs hatched. One chick died in the nest; the other fledged, but was killed in traffic on Forbes Avenue.

—Kimberly K. Barlow 

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