After laying a surprising five eggs in her nest at the Cathedral of Learning, “Hope” the peregrine falcon ended up with two live chicks.
Hope has her killed and eaten some of her young each of the four years she’s nested on camera, according to Pittsburgh birdwatcher Kate St. John who writes the blog Outside My Window.
The chicks from the first and second eggs to hatch — on April 22 and 23 — have survived, while Hope ate the next two as they were hatching. The fifth egg failed to hatch.
Hope does not harm fluffy white chicks and she does not harm eggs that have not pipped. The only danger time is when the live chick inside the egg has pipped the shell and is hammering to open it.
It’s unclear why Hope eats her young. Infanticide in raptors is extremely rare, according to the National Aviary, which maintains a webcam on the Cathedral nesting site.
Hope and her partner Terzo live year-round in an artificial aerie near the top of the Cathedral of Learning.
The Cathedral of Learning has hosted a pair of peregrine falcons since 2002, when “Dorothy” began nesting there with a tiercel dubbed “Erie.” Dorothy fledged 42 chicks between 2002 and 2015, when she is thought to have died at the age of 17.