SJ falcon fans await babies' first flights

May 29, 2009 12:50:49 PM PDT
Four baby Peregrine falcons have caught the eye of adoring fans again at San Jose City Hall this morning because there is a chance they might fly for the first time.

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Hopeful fans along with members of the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group plan to stay outside from dawn until dusk daily until Clara and Esteban Colbert's babies take the leap from their nest that is perched roughly 17 stories up.

Research group coordinator Glenn Stewart said they predict the three girls and one boy that hatched in April should all be flying by June 7.

Stewart banded the babies earlier this month while a small crowd and thousands of FalconCam viewers watched closely.

Clara and her kin have become celebrities in San Jose since city employees noticed her and a former mate, Jose, in 2006. This is her biggest family so far since she hatched three girls with Jose in 2007 and three more with Carlos in 2008.

"There's a real connection. The people really seem to thrive on the connection to nature," Stewart said. "I mean, their nest is right above the mayor's office."

Thousands have also been watching the FalconCam on the city's Web site at http://www.sanjoseca.gov and the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group's Web site at www.scpbrg.org.

Although Clara's family has a hefty fan base, it is not the only one in the spotlight this morning.

Stewart was stationed near the Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s building in San Francisco with his spotting scope at Fremont and Howard streets today because three other babies are also expected to fly sometime this week.

He guessed there are about 25 nests in the Bay Area, but Clara's clan is by far the most popular.

The trained volunteers and research group officials will stay outside San Jose City Hall in three shifts every day until they fly; from dawn until about 10 a.m., from 10 a.m. until about 3 p.m. and from 3 p.m. until it gets dark, Stewart said.

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