Newly hatched SJ falcon chick dies

(Falcon Cam)

April 20, 2010 11:50:42 AM PDT
Within just a week of hatching, the fourth falcon chick belonging to famed San Jose falcons Clara and Esteban Colbert has died.

The fourth falcon egg hatched early Wednesday morning, and the new falcon joined three other chicks in their nest on a ledge atop San Jose City Hall.

The youngest chick struggled during its short life and died over the weekend, city spokeswoman Michelle McGurk said. She said falcons are wild animals, and that in nature half of young peregrines survive their first year of life.

Glenn Stewart, from the University of California Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group, said the cause of the chick's death can't be determined.

"We will never know whether it was some physical malady, lateness of hatch, or just bad luck that had a hand in the outcome for chick No. 4," Stewart said. "We do know that not every egg hatches, not every chick survives, and not every fledgling survives its first flights."

The city is holding a contest for youth between 5 and 18 to name the remaining three chicks. Nominations can be submitted by May 1 to mayoremail@sanjoseca.gov or by mail to: Falcon Naming c/o Mayor's Office, 200 E. Santa Clara St., 18th Floor, San Jose, CA 95113.

Around the second week of May, the nominations will be open for online voting. The chicks will be named before they take flight. This is Clara's fourth nesting season at City Hall and her second with mate Esteban Colbert.

The FalconCam, a live streaming video of the falcon's nest on a City Hall ledge 18 stories above the street, can be viewed on the city's Web site at www.sanjoseca.gov.


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