Baby falcons trapped below Bay Bridge

May 19, 2008 11:49:38 AM PDT
A dangerous rescue is just getting underway on the Bay Bridge. It's not a driver or a bridge worker who needs rescuing -- it's a nest of baby Peregrine Falcons.

This is a two-person operation to try to save the Peregrine Falcons. Two scientists with UC Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group are climbing right underneath the Bay Bridge at the concrete pillar right in the center.

They will be climbing under the lower deck of the bridge. That is where scientists say the nest is located. The goal is to try and rescue however many baby Peregrine Falcons are left.

Scientists performed a similar climb last year to collect eggs. The falcons are an endangered species in California and scientists say, without a rescue like this, the birds could not survive. A crosswind could potentially send the baby birds into the bay or on the Bay Bridge where they could get hit by a car.

The falcons find the Bay Bridge as an ideal nesting spot. They have been there some 20 years. Last year two falcons, George and Gracie, captured the attention of a lot of people.

The scientists on this climb are experts and we are told that once they are captured, they will be relocated.

"Eventually, the birds will be brought down to Santa Barbara County, where they will be re-released into the wild and it's safer environment for the birds to learn how to fly they will have a better chance in Santa Barbara County than they would if they were learning to fly underneath the Bay Bridge," says Brian Swanson of PG&E.

From start to finish, we are told this rescue operation will take all but 20 minutes. PG&E is helping fund the climb and scientists say right now they are not sure how many baby if falcons may be in the nest. They won t know that until they climb up and take a look inside the nest.


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