Author Topic: PA / Pittsburgh - Cathedral of Learning - 2023 / Ecco & Morela  (Read 4064 times)

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Offline The Peregrine Chick

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From the National Aviary folks at the Cathedral of Learning ..

2023 Nesting Season Updates

March 29, 2023: We can never predict what will happen in the worlds of wild birds. For several days, Morela appeared to be close to laying eggs: she was less active at the nest and her feathers were fluffed out. But, after a few days of relative inactivity, she seemed to be very alert, intently watching the sky, and was gone from the nest for long lengths of time. We have now passed the date by when we usually have seen one or more eggs laid, which raises the question of what is different this season?  One possibility is that an unmated Peregrine without a nest is intruding on the territory, and its presence has Morela on high alert and is keeping her away from the nest. Of course, something else entirely may have captured her attention for a few days. Whatever is the case, now Morela and Ecco seem to be resuming their courtship activities. Both have made visits to the nest site and have been observed bowing towards each other – one of the many characteristic courtship behaviors of Peregrine Falcons. These are the sorts of natural occurrences that nest camera technology helps us document and better understand.  We will have to stay tuned to see where things go from here.

March 15, 2023: If you’ve noticed Morela looking a little lethargic lately, it might be because egg-laying is right around the corner. Around five days before they begin laying, females are not as active: they aren’t preening themselves as often or moving around stones in the nest scrape, and they spend a good deal of time sitting on or near the scrape. Basically, they look like they’re just waiting for something to happen!  You might notice a change in Morela’s posture, too. These days, she is looking noticeably bottom-heavy, and the feathers under her tail are fluffed out. She will lay one egg every 48 hours up to the penultimate, or next-to-last egg (a Peregrine Falcon clutch usually has four eggs). The period between the next-to-last and last egg often is a bit longer, up to 72 hours, and only Morela will know when it’s time to start incubating.  She won’t begin until the second-to-last egg is laid. Ecco will assist with incubation, freeing up Morela to hunt, but expect to see her on the nest more often than Ecco: females spend about twice as long incubating the eggs compared to males. They’ll take turns incubating for 33-35 days before hatching—and the real fun of raising chicks!—begins.

February 27, 2023: The first few weeks of the Peregrine Falcon nest cam season can be pretty quiet, but don’t expect that to last long! As we get closer to nesting time, Morela and Ecco are visiting the nest box more often and staying longer. You may catch them together on camera perching on the nest’s ledge or in the nest itself (also called a “scrape”) as they bow towards each other. These behaviors are part of their courtship and help strengthen their pair bond. It’s easy to tell Morela and Ecco apart when they’re side by side: Morela is noticeably larger than her mate, a common characteristic of many raptor species. 

This is the third year Morela and Ecco will be nesting at the Cathedral of Learning. Together they have fledged seven young (4 in 2021, and 3 in 2022). If this nesting season is anything like previous years, we can expect Morela to lay her first egg sometime around St. Patrick’s Day. Until then, watch for Morela and Ecco’s visits to the nest for a chance to observe their courtship behaviors!

Offline The Peregrine Chick

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2023 NESTING SEASON

Offline The Peregrine Chick

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PA / Pittsburgh - Cathedral of Learning - 2023 / Ecco & Morela
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2011, 21:53 »
U of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


   
(photos:  building from Wikipedia; nest location from WQED; nestbox from Post Gazette website)

The Cathedral of Learning, a Pittsburgh landmark listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is the centerpiece of the University of Pittsburgh's main campus in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Standing at 535 feet (>163 m),[9] the 42-story Late Gothic Revival Cathedral is the tallest educational building in the Western hemisphere and the second tallest university building (fourth tallest educationally-purposed building) in the world. It is also the second tallest gothic-styled building in the world. The Cathedral of Learning was commissioned in 1921 and ground was broken in 1926. The first class was held in the building in 1931 and its exterior finished in October 1934, prior to its formal dedication in June 1937. The Cathedral is a steel frame structure overlaid with Indiana limestone and contains more than 2,000 rooms and windows. It functions as a primary classroom and administrative center of the university, and is home to the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and many of its departments, as well as the University Honors College and the College of General Studies. It houses many specialty spaces, including a studio theater, food court, study lounges, offices, computer and language labs, 29 Nationality Rooms, and a half acre, 4-story high, vaulted, gothic study and event hall. The building contains noted examples of stained glass, stone, wood, and iron work and is often used by the university in photographs, postcards, and other advertisements.  Peregrines have been nesting on the 40th storey of the Cathedral of Learning since 2002.

webcam link: www.aviary.org/PF-NestCam1

updates: Kate St John's WQED Blog = www.wqed.org/birdblog

Resident Pairs & Offspring:
  • coming soon