First baby Peregrine falcon takes flight

June 2, 2009 2:30:09 PM PDT
The first of four baby peregrine falcons took flight from San Jose City Hall Monday afternoon, city officials said.

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Ilahay flew with her mother Clara at about 3:20 p.m. The young bird soared over the Martin Luther King Jr. Library before attempting to return to City Hall. She slipped down the building a bit before she recovered and flew to its rotunda, city officials said.

A 9-year-old fourth-grader from James Franklin Smith Elementary School named Ilahay, which is derived from Persian for "angel."

Falcon fans, along with members of the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group, have watched the birds from dawn until dusk daily since Friday waiting for Clara and Esteban Colbert's babies to leap from their nest, which is roughly 17 stories from the ground.

City officials said volunteers will continue to monitor the birds' movements over the next few days and acknowledged the birds will face dangers, especially if they land on the street.

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

Thousands have 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 http://www.scpbrg.org.

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