By Megan McFarland
SAN FRANCISCO — After weeks of uncertainty, the annual falcon season is again underway on the 33rd floor of PG&E’s headquarters in San Francisco.
Three falcon eggs are sitting in the energy company’s nesting box, guarded closely by a mother and father falcon who take turns sitting on the eggs or hunting for food. If all goes well, there should be another egg by the end of the week, followed by incubation, and then hatching in early June.
Falcon fans from around the world are able to enjoy the bird’s-eye view (pun intended) of this spectacle of nature via PG&E’s peregrine falcon web cam. This year, the energy company has enhanced the viewing experience by adding HD quality picture and audio.
Since 2004, falcons have been nesting on PG&E’s 77 Beale Street headquarters nearly every year. Last year, falcon parents Dan and Matilda sat on eggs for many weeks to keep them warm, ultimately hatching three white fluff-balls: Talon, Grace and Flash. Over the next month, the parents fed and cared for the young birds as they developed to full-size falcons with dark feathers.
Like nature, the 2017 falcon season has been fraught with drama and unpredictability. In early April, a falcon couple was spotted regularly on the nesting ledge, laying one egg in the nesting box. An interloping female falcon then infiltrated the nest, driving away the original female. The second female and original male then went on to produce the three eggs currently in the nest.
PG&E has supported the recovery of California’s peregrine falcon population, which was once near extinction, for two decades. This includes more than $260,000 in grants — including $10,000 in 2016 — to the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group’s community outreach and education programs. Between World War II and the 1970s, the peregrine falcon population nearly disappeared due to toxic chemicals. But, thanks to the Endangered Species Act and the good work of groups like the one at UC-Santa Cruz, there are now about 300 pairs of peregrine falcons in California.
Bird lovers alike can catch a glimpse of the falcon nesting by watching our live webcam at www.pge.com/falconcam.
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.