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March 31, 2016

More changes at CL nest

PEFA_pitt_N29_20160325_1050Peregrine experts are optimistic about the prospects at the Cathedral of Learning nest this season despite the unexpected death of E2.

The male falcon’s body was found in Friendship on March 16, after the University Times went to press. His wing and leg were broken and he showed signs of internal injuries.

E2, who was born in 2005 at the Gulf Tower, arrived at the Cathedral of Learning nest in fall 2007. He fledged 21 chicks with the resident female, Dorothy, over the course of eight years, prior to her disappearance last fall. (See March 17 University Times.)

E2’s fatal injuries suggested that he had been struck by a car, Pennsylvania Game Commission peregrine falcon coordinator Art McMorris told the University Times.
Prior to E2’s death, his new mate, Hope, had produced two eggs. She laid a third egg on March 17.

Hope, born in 2008 in Hopewell, Virginia, previously nested at the Tarentum Bridge.

Concerns that she might be raising chicks as a single parent in her new home were quickly dispelled with the arrival of a new male less than a week later.

The newcomer’s bands indicate that he was born in 2013 at the PNC 4th and Vine Tower in downtown Cincinnati, McMorris told the University Times.

“Although we all mourn the passing of E2, Hope was able to attract a new mate in a short period of time, as we knew was the most likely outcome. The chances are excellent that nesting will progress successfully at the Cathedral this year,” he said.

We’ll soon know whether Hope will lay more eggs or simply incubate the clutch she has now.

Hope and her new partner, Terzo (Italian for third; he is the Cathedral’s third adult male), have been seen mating atop the Cathedral of Learning. If there are more eggs to come, they’ll begin to arrive mid-to-late next week, said local nest watcher Kate St. John, author of the blog Birds Outside My Window (

St. John said that although Hope is covering the eggs much of the time, it’s hard to tell whether incubation is underway.

Peregrines don’t begin incubating their eggs until the last or next-to-last egg arrives. And if the eggs are protected from temperature extremes, the birds can delay the start of incubation for weeks.

Chicks typically hatch after 30-32 days of incubation, according to the National Aviary.

The Cathedral of Learning nest cam can be viewed at

—Kimberly K. Barlow 

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