New nest for famous San Jose City Hall falcons

December 4, 2009 5:16:12 PM PST
The famous San Jose falcons are getting a new roost.

The Peregrine falcons atop San Jose City Hall are known around the world thanks to the webcam trained on them, 24 hours a day.

But now the nest at San Jose City Hall needs an upgrade. On Friday morning, Glenn Stewart of the UC Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group, who keeps track of the birds, climbed up and began the work necessary to deliver a new enclosure. In addition to a wooden nest, there are 300 pounds of new gravel. The old gravel must then of course be hauled out.

The original nest box was put atop the 18th floor in 2006. Researchers say there is some evidence that old nests and material can lead to a decrease in hatch rate.

In years past you may remember when UC Santa Cruz researchers have checked in on the falcon eggs or chicks, the parents have attacked. However, Stewart says he doesn't expect too much trouble.

"We do this at this time of year because their hormonal levels are the lowest in regards to territoriality, and so the defensiveness should be at the lowest level." Said Stewart. "They may still be defensive, I don't know, but it should be nothing like springtime when they have babies in the nest. They're extremely defensive, you know, they dive 100 times at us."

City Halls' Peregrine falcons and their spring chicks are such a popular attraction there is a live falcon cam at City Hall to watch their activity. There is also a naming contest held every year for the chicks.

Peregrine falcons were nearly extinct in the 1970s when there were just two known nesting pairs. Now there are about 250 known nesting pairs, including San Jose's famous pair of Clara and Esteban Colbert atop City Hall.


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