Day-of registration ($30) and check-in at the Town Square in the Waterfront (~270 West Bridge St, West Homestead, PA 15120), between 9 AM and 11 AM.
Parking is available in the parking lot of the former Fuddruckers/Pittsburgh Burger Company (between Mitchell’s Fish Market and the Hampton Inn & Suites, where the trail temporarily goes through the parking lot by the pedestrian bridge across East Waterfront Drive). Please note bikes are not being rented in that location this year.
Alternately, parking is also available in the South Parking Lot (over near PF Chang and Panera Bread). Please do not park in the middle of the Waterfront Town Center itself as it is for short term parking for shoppers only and you will be asked to move your car.
Because each site will have only a few viewing scopes there will not be a mass start. You can start your ride anytime between 9 and 11 AM. Slow or casual bike riders should start by at least 10:00 AM to allow for time to get to all the nest sites while the birders and scopes are still at the sites. The closest sites will open at 9:00 and shut down around 11:30, while the more distant sites will open 30 minutes to an hour later and shut down between noon and 12:30. (2019 nest & trail map is at tinyurl.com/raptorrow20)
There will be five or six viewing areas. Note there is no guarantee the birds will be home, but they have been there in the past. Check back on this page as the date gets closer to find out the status of the nest occupancies.
- The eagle nest at milepost 141.4 (3/6 – The Hays eagles are tending two eggs not yet hatched)
- A captive owl on the porch of Eat’n Park
- The red-tailed hawk nest under the Homestead Grays Bridge
- The red-tailed hawk nest (inactive in 2019) and multiple Canada goose nest at the railroad bridge next to the Pump House
- The red-tailed hawk nest (inactive in 2019) just across the Whitaker trail bridge
- The osprey nest at the end of the Port Perry Bridge
- The kestrel nest in McKeesport and a new (2018) osprey visible near milepost 133.3.
There will be a snack station at the SVTC’s maintenance headquarters (Mile Post 136.5) and at the Hays eagle nest viewing location.
The ride is on the Steel Valley Trail section of the Great Allegheny Passage. The round trip will be approximately 13 miles or 18 miles, depending on if you turn around after the osprey nest in Duquesne or continue to see the nests in McKeesport.
There will be an extra cost VIP ride led by Roy Bires, who has intimate knowledge of the various nests and who also is an avid trail rider and a member of both the SVTC and the 3RBC. Your guide coordinated the monitoring of the Hays Bald Eagle Nest in 2013 and was on the trail observing this nest before the first egg was laid in 2013. He will share his knowledge with this group of riders and will lead you to all the stops along the ride and make sure you get to talk to the experts at these stops and get to use their scopes to view the nests and any raptors that might be in the area. He will also point out areas of interest along our historic trail. The size of this group will be limited, so sign up early. It will meet at 8:30 and leave at 8:40.
This ride is a fundraiser for the Steel Valley Trail Council. Just in 2017 we spent $88,456.23 on dealing with landslides and $1,500 on porta-potties. This year (2020) we will be paving in asphalt the Waterfront section of the trail. Some of which was covered by grants, some by dues, and some by this ride.
In addition, there were over 500 hours per year of volunteer labor in grass cutting, tree trimming, and removal, small landslide cleanup, etc. Come join us. Find out about maintenance parties at https://steelvalleytrail.org/volunteer-opportunites/
A poster is available for you to print and post at your local place, or to put on your Facebook page.
Spotter scopes and docents are provided by the Three Rivers Birding Club.
The cost is $20 per person, children (16 and under) free.
Online registration is open or register in-person on the morning of the event.