Two Female Peregrines Vying For Pitt


New female peregrine at Cathedral of Learning, 4 Oct 2019 (photo by Dr. Alan Juffs)

Late yesterday, 9 October 2019, I watched the Cathedral of Learning for more than two hours to catch sight of the new peregrine and its mate. Though they were present less than half the time it was well worth the visit.

First, I learned that the new peregrine is female. I could recognize her from the ground by her perching preferences, her size, her dark head and her peach-toned chest. She hung out with the male, flying with him and roosting side-by-side in nooks on 32 north (Fifth Ave). I assume the male is Terzo though we won’t know for sure until we read his bands.

The size difference between the new female and Terzo is striking; she is a much larger bird. Hope is such a small female that it was hard to tell them apart unless the two perched side by side, a very rare occurrence. The roosting proximity of the new female to Terzo is a good sign.

It appears the new female “owns” the Cathedral of Learning. She is usually on site and she perches in plain sight. When flying near the building, both she and Terzo use flappy territorial flight, clearly saying, “This cliff is mine!”

Who is this message for? I found out while waiting for my bus on Fifth Ave.

At 5:25pm three peregrines flew toward the Cathedral of Learning. The male went past the building. The female landed on a stone peak at 27NW (a favorite perch of the new peregrine). A second female flew toward the perched one and took a pot shot at her. She didn’t hit her. The new peregrine didn’t move. The second female kept flying fast, away to the southwest.

Alan Juffs says he sometimes sees another bird fly at the one perched near his window. I wonder if the wailing on this video is the second female. The new peregrine isn’t phased by this, but she is certainly vigilant.

So I was wrong. There are three peregrines at the Cathedral of Learning, one male and two females. The females are vying for ownership of the Cathedral of Learning.

I like the new bird. I hope she wins.

(photo by Dr. Alan Juffs, University of Pittsburgh)