University of Pittsburgh
May 15, 2013

Lone Peregrine Falcon Chick to Be Banded Friday at Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning

Single chick, mother’s age raise questions about the nesting pair’s future
Contact:  412-624-4147


  • F. Arthur McMorris, peregrine falcon coordinator, Pennsylvania Game Commission
  • Dan Brauning, wildlife diversity division chief, Pennsylvania Game Commission
  • Mike Faix, educator, National Aviary
  • Anthony Bledsoe, lecturer of science education, University of Pittsburgh (available by phone only: 412-335-5431)Could this year be Dorothy’s last at this prime nesting site?

Pennsylvania Game Commission representatives will retrieve a 22-day-old peregrine falcon chick from its nest on the ledge of the Cathedral of Learning’s 40th floor. The peregrine chick will receive a veterinary check-up, and a tracking band will be attached to its leg.

University of Pittsburgh
Cathedral of Learning
40th Floor, Babcock Room

Friday, May 17, 2013
9 a.m.
8:45 a.m. meet at elevators to be directed to the Babcock Room

NOTE: To reach the 40th floor, take elevator to the 36th floor. Follow signs to elevator that will take you to 40th floor.


  • Peregrines remain an endangered species in Pennsylvania because their population has not recovered sufficiently at their natural cliff nest sites. There are currently eight nesting pairs in the Pittsburgh region, all of them residing on man-made structures. 
  • While the status of peregrines in the region continues to improve, the female at the Cathedral of Learning (known as “Dorothy”) is now 14 years old. Peregrines typically live 12 to 15 years in the wild. As female peregrines age, they have fewer viable eggs. Though Dorothy laid five eggs this year, only two hatched and only one chick has survived thus far, a sign of her advancing age.
  • The nest at the Cathedral of Learning was first inhabited in 2002. Dorothy has been the sole female since the nest was created and has fledged 41 chicks there with two successive mates: Erie from 2001 to 2007 and “E2” from 2008 to present.
  • Could this year be Dorothy’s last at this prime nesting site? Dorothy will remain at the Cathedral of Learning until she dies or is displaced by a younger female peregrine. Because there are so few prime nesting sites like the Cathedral of Learning, and each year other females show up to challenge the nesting site, it is likely that a young female will force her out at some point.
  • The peregrine story continues in Pittsburgh. Every milestone in these birds’ lives and at each nesting location is another signal of the successful recovery project for this fascinating species.