Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…

Falcons?…we got falcons…

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I have occasionally posted links on my facebook page to a nest camera trained on the peregrine falcons that nest on top of the PGE building in downtown San Francisco. This is the link to the camera for real-time viewing. Here is a feeding of the four chicks (eyas) on YouTube. In addition this very fine photographer takes still pictures as the falcons interact in the sky.

The parents are dubbed Dapper Dan and Diamond Lil and they take turns with nest duties. In approximately six weeks their offspring will be ready to fledge off the ledge of the building. Some years, breeding pairs have made their nests on the Oakland Bay Bridge, but when that happens the eggs are removed and incubated by humans and then released. The chances of survival are about zero if the birds are left on the bridge since the only places to land are in traffic or in the water. High winds can also blow the young birds off the span.

When the nests are on the PGE building the chances are slightly higher, but it is still a dangerous proposition. If something happens on the first flights, the human watchers can be of assistance. Last year, the first bird off the ledge was the male. Unfortunately on his first flight, he ran into a building and broke his neck. A few days later the females started with their flights. The humans watch because one of the birds ended up on the ground. She was checked by a vet and the next day replaced on the ledge so she could get more strength and then try again. The second female was found on the ground with a broken clavicle. She was taken for rehabilitation, but, unfortunately, a month later died suddenly from a clot that probably occurred with the impact that broke her clavicle.

In the days last year that they were searching for the birds, Terry walked over from the State Court building on his lunch hour to lend his eyes to the search. Lots of people with binocs and cameras around. Terry took these pictures of the environment so you can see how treacherous it is around the financial district.

PGE Building, San Francisco

At the top of the building there are large rectangles and the peregrine nest is on the ledge below that.

nest is on this ledge

louvered area of building

The "Hood"

If you look three rows of windows up in the picture above you can see the female peregrine clinging to the building.

This year the next big thing will be a biologist donning a hard hat, crawling out on the ledge to band the birds and determine their sex. The bands are put on when their legs have gotten as large as they will grow since the bands do not expand. The group that watches them will give them names. Then the wait for fledging will begin. I found it is wise not to attribute human emotions to the birds. They are cute and fuzzy, but the events cannot be manipulated much even though it is on camera. It is sad if they do not make it through the fledging, but at least there is an attempt to help and it is truly an educational experience to watch them grow. Hope you enjoy it!

Author: loisreynoldsmead

artist

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