By Matt Nauman
SAN FRANCISCO – The three young peregrine falcons that hatched atop the 33rd floor of PG&E’s downtown headquarters have been named to honor another group of high fliers: the world-champion Golden State Warriors.
Three eggs in the nest box hatched in early June. In late June, a researcher from the University of Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group (PBRG) applied bands so that they could be tracked going forward.
So, for scientific purposes, the three falcons are: U/55 (male), 05/AM (female) and 06/AM (female).
But, to falcon-lovers throughout the Bay Area and worldwide following the birds via a webcam (www.pge.com/falconcam), giving them names seems like the right thing to do.
After the banding, PG&E solicited ideas for names – and the response was overwhelming. More than 140 groups of names were submitted, meaning about 400 names in all were sent via email or via PG&E’s social media channels.
So, with a little fanfare, let us introduce Steph (female), KD (female) and Iggy (male). Two of the three were submitted by jerseyrunner on Instagram. We picked Iggy because we love the name. (Obviously, the names are in honor of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Andre Igoudala.)
This year, the potential names ranged from topical to comical. For every Moe, Larry and Curly and San, Fran and Cisco, there were suggestions that the birds be named after dragons from “The Game of Thrones” and three famous ornithologists. Some suggested naming them after friends who had passed away and others submitted names of athletes and musicians.
And, yes, someone said Birdy McBirdface would be a good name.
Falcons have been nesting on PG&E’s 77 Beale Street headquarters most years since 2004.
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 UC Santa Cruz PBRG, the species has been saved. There are now about 300 pairs of peregrine falcons in California.
PG&E has provided more than $260,000 in grants to the PBRG since the 1970s.
The fastest animal species on earth, falcons have a dive speed of up to 200 mph. The falcons are expected to take their first flight in the next several days, said Glenn Stewart, the director of the PBRG.
Those first flights can be a challenge, he said.
“Falcons must learn to coordinate wings and feet to land safely, and the first few tries are tricky. Fortunately, there is a flat roof right across Mission Street from the PG&E nest ledge that could make it easy for them. The fledglings will remain in the vicinity of the nest for several weeks,” said Stewart.
A month later, they’ll disperse, possibly very widely.
“One PG&E fledgling is now nesting near Richmond. Banded Bay Area falcons have been seen as far away as Arcata to the north and Morro Bay to the south,” he said.
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