Dorothy does it again: Pitt’s peregrine falcon hatches 43rd egg on Mother’s Day


No one — especially Kate St. John — thought it would happen, but on Mother’s Day, Dorothy the falcon’s 43rd egg hatched.

Dorothy is a peregrine falcon that nests on top of the Cathedral of Learning. She’s been there since 2001, and first nested in 2002, according to St. John, a volunteer with the Western Pa. Conservancy. Since Dorothy’s arrival, St. John has monitored the falcon via a live camera feed the National Aviary hosts on its website. St. John also started a blog where she posts updates on Dorothy’s health — called “Outside My Window” — which she updates regularly. 

In her entry on March 31, St. John wrote that Dorothy was not in good condition and said she and other experts at the National Aviary wondered if Dorothy was egg bound, a sometimes fatal condition for birds in which they cannot lay an egg that has formed inside of them. Dorothy, now at age 16, was egg bound last year, but survived, St. John said. 

But on Sunday, Dorothy’s 43rd egg hatched. The bird is alive, but St. John said she isn’t going to count it officially until the hatchling takes its first flight. 

“In the many years she’s nested, two nestlings died in the nest before flying,” St. John said in an email. 

Still, this hatching is rare because Dorothy was also egg bound last year. Dorothy is not the oldest falcon to lay an egg, but she is beyond the life expectancy of female peregrine falcons, St. John wrote on her blog.

As for the possibility of hatchling number 44, St. John said that if Dorothy doesn’t lay another egg this week, she won’t for the rest of the year. Next year, however, she still could, but St. John isn’t so sure.

“Never say never … but age is not in her favor,” she said.

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