Nature


Since the habitat, food supply and cover are the basis of wildlife population and birds, one can expect to see squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, and opossums here. While you may not actually spot these animals in Allegheny, it is both interesting and fun to learn of their presence from tracks, droppings, feathers, hair or other clues.

Seasonal Changes Bird populations vary with the seasons. Winter species include the cardinal, chickadee, junco, nuthatch, crow and blue jay. Migrating species of warblers, finches and many others move through in spring and fall. One can frequently spot the various woodpeckers, downy, hairy and flicker, kingfishers. The Red-headed Woodpecker is a threatened species because of competition from European Starling and loss of habitat. It relies on most bearing trees such as oaks and beech trees for food and dead trees and/or dead limbs for excavating nesting cavities. It was reported that this unique bird found a home at the site of the Allegheny Cemetery Ponds. Observation of this bird will put Lawrenceville on the map in bird watching circles. (Source: Al and Carole Borek, Lawrenceville residents and members of the local Bird Watching Society) The ever-present English sparrow, the common pigeon or rock dove, the starling, and grackle, were introduced at various times over the last two centuries. Watch for the hawks, usually redtails that sail above the trees, but remember that the peregrine falcon has been successfully nesting at the Gulf Building and could provide a rare and rewarding sight, for it is one of our swiftest and most beautiful raptors. Ducks and geese move up and down the Allegheny River and provide another glorious sight, especially the spring and fall migrating flocks. There are some local flocks as well.

The Great Blue Heron is seen occasionally as is the Great Horned Owl and various species of gulls which have moved down from Lake Erie and now feed along the river valley, especially in recent years as fish populations have increased in the rivers of Pittsburgh due to improved waste treatment processes along the watershed. Deer are seen with increasing frequency in the areas of the city, representing the largest native animal remaining here. Look for tracks, droppings, hair that has been rubbed off or small trees that have been “rubbed” by male deer testing their antlers. None of these animals pose any danger to visitors, but it is simply good judgment to leave wildlife alone. Do not feed any animals or birds or attempt to approach them. Simply enjoy them from a distance. Use basic field guides such as Peterson’s or the Audubon Guides to verify your sightings.