By Matt Nauman
Another set of Warriors has been soaring lately.
The three juvenile peregrine falcons, who hatched in the nest box on the 33rd floor of PG&E’s 77 Beale headquarters in June, have taken their first flights.
Named Steph, KD and Iggy — after Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Andre Igoudala of the world-champion Golden State Warriors — have proven to be adept fliers so far.
The saga of the falcons is brought to life by a PG&E-sponsored webcam — www.pge.com/falconcam — which has recorded nearly 100,000 visits since May.
Volunteers operate the camera to follow the birds as they hop along the ledge of the PG&E building and then fly to nearby towers. During fledging, other volunteers can be found along Mission Street looking at the birds via binoculars and being available should one of them crash-land during early flights. As they begin taking longer flights, it’s likely the birds will be out of camera range shortly.
“A month or so after fledging, they will 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,” said Glenn Stewart, the director of the University of Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group (PBRG).
Three eggs in the nest box hatched in early June. In late June, Stewart applied bands to the legs of the young falcons so that they could be tracked going forward.
Officially, the three falcons are: U/55 (male), 05/AM (female) and 06/AM (female)
But, 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.
PG&E employees have developed a special relationship with the falcons over the years. The fact that dozens and dozens of employees submitted potential names is just one example. Many employees suggested variation on PG&E for the bird names, such as Phoebe, Gordon and Ella or Pacifica, Glide and Electra.
Sue DeVol, a field clerk based in Rocklin, summed it up the best with her name submissions: “I have the falcons EarthCam open on one of my monitors daily. This has been SO interesting to watch these falcons hatch and grow day by day.”
Falcons have been nesting on PG&E’s 77 Beale St. 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.
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.