More eggs spotted near SJ City Hall

March 18, 2009 1:07:51 PM PDT
Five days after Clara the peregrine falcon delivered her first egg of the season, falcon fans are reporting two additional eggs visible in Clara's nest on a ledge atop San Jose City Hall.

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The second egg arrived around 2 a.m. Sunday, followed by a third Monday night around 8 p.m., city spokeswoman Michelle McGurk said.

It's difficult to pinpoint the eggs' actual arrival times, but a group of falcon aficionados are keeping close tabs on Clara and her mate, Esteban Colbert. Female falcons usually lay eggs roughly 60 hours apart and Clara's active fan base spent the past few days watching the FalconCam, the live streaming video of the falcon's nest on a City Hall ledge 18 stories above the street.

From her vantage point on the 15th floor of City Hall, Chief Deputy City Attorney Evet Loewen can see the falcons wheeling over the eastern part of town, "or when they're hanging out at San Jose State."

While job duties limit Loewen's ability to monitor the FalconCam, she is keeping close tabs on Clara's eggs.

"I watched quite a bit over the weekend and managed to stay awake to see her deliver the second egg," she said of the 2 a.m. event. "That was an achievement, for her and for me."

Loewen said she could see muscles rippling in Clara's back as she worked to dispatch the egg. The bird looked extremely uncomfortable in the moments before, she said.

Loewen also administers a listserv group on Yahoo dedicated to San Jose's peregrine falcons. A poll late last year showed that people follow the birds from 38 different states and 21 countries, she said.

The site lets observers near and far swap observations on Clara's behavior and the laying process in general.

"Looks like she's pushing to me!" poster zimkathy reported just after midnight Sunday. Board members have been posting around the clock in recent days, musing on the color and shape of eggs, Clara's well-being and the whereabouts and actions of father Esteban.

Interested parties can sign up for the listserv at http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/SanJosePeregrines/. The FalconCam is available on the city's Web site, www.sanjoseca.gov.

Loewen, who said she did not know much about birds before becoming acquainted with San Jose's falcons, predicts Clara will produce a fourth egg some time this week, because the falcon has not yet begun to incubate her new eggs.

Like any good reality show star, Clara seems to have a new suitor every year. In 2007, Clara and former mate Jose hatched three eggs. The following year another suitor, named Carlos, was in the picture when Clara laid four eggs, although only three hatched.

Loewen recalls vividly the week her office moved into the newly completed City Hall back in 2005. Within the first few days, staff members noticed a bird sitting outside the window, seeming to look in. A staff member who enjoys birds told the group it was a peregrine falcon.

That bird turned out to be Jose, who Loewen recalls as a particularly bold bird.

"Lots of people developed a fascination with him," she said. "He's still missed today."

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