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Outdoors notebook: Peregrine nests reach new levels

| Sunday, July 21, 2013, 9:09 p.m.

Peregrine falcons occupied at least 40 nests in Pennsylvania this year, according to Pennsylvania Game Commission biologist Art McMorris.

Work to locate and verify nests is ongoing. But 40 is already a new high for the species in Pennsylvania, he said.

Six nests were new this year, including one on a water tower in Green Tree. It didn't produce any young — something not uncommon for first-time nesting pairs — but it was noteworthy in being the first peregrine nest on a water tower in Pennsylvania.

Twenty-seven nests statewide produced 56 fledglings. The one fledgling resulting from a nest on Pitt's Cathedral of Learning died after being hit by a car.

“The population is definitely recovering, which is what we want to see,” McMorris said.

Hook rules

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is considering a rules change that would remove the restriction on how many hooks an angler could use. It's meant to make use of the Alabama rig legal.

Anglers can comment on the idea at fishandboat.com/promo/form/regulation_comments.htm. Type in “3 hook rule” where it asks for “number or rulemaking or title of notice.”

Floating island

Fish or boat on Raccoon Lake at Raccoon Creek State Park in Beaver County, and you'll notice a new island there.

The park installed an artificial floating wetland. Made of recycled plastic and planted with native species, it will provide habitat for birds and animals while collecting and removing nutrients in the lake resulting from agricultural runoff.

Fisher sightings

Game Commission wildlife conservation officer Christopher Deal said fishers have been spotted in his Butler County district on two occasions this year. One sighting was in the northern portion of the district, the other in the south, so “being spread out that far may indicate that the population is expanding,” he said.

Top archer

Garrett Richardson of New Castle Christian Academy in New Castle finished third among fifth grade boys at the National Archery in the Schools National Tournament in Louisville, Ky. Richardson was the only Pennsylvania-based shooter to place at the event, which attracted more than 9,000 competitors.

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at bfrye@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.

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