A webcam is providing up-close live footage of four peregrine falcon chicks that hatched Thursday through Saturday in a nest that sits on the 33rd floor of PG&E headquarters in San Francisco.
Glenn Stewart, Director of the UC Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group, says the camera, which has been up since 2005, has exceeded his expectations, attracting hundreds of thousands of hits per week from all over the world.
"It brings me a lot of joy that what we did was put this camera up there as kind of an educational effort,” Stewart says. “So many people have been watching it on their computers, and then they go buy binoculars, and then they go out in the city and watch them, and then they go out in the wilderness and they find them. I like the fact that these birds kind of open up nature and birding to people."
Stewart says Peregrine Falcons can be recognized by their pointy wings and rapid, snappy wing beat. The birds are predators and from the day they're born they eat only meat, including other birds. For the PG&E falcons, it's mostly San Francisco pigeons.
Once the birds adopt a nest site, they tend to use it every year. This one was first spotted in 2004 by a lawyer who worked in a building across the street.
There are now about 30 Peregrine Falcon pairs in the Bay Area and 240 in the state, though they are still endangered. In 1970, there were just two in all of California.
2007 QUEST video on Bay Area peregrine falcons...