Hopes were dashed for the falcon nest atop the PG&E building in downtown San Francisco when after two egg-layings, and one filicide by the dumb young male father, it was not looking like there would be any baby falcons to to watch on the live cam feed this year. But other falcons around the Bay are faring better.
A different nesting pair, Lawrencium (a female) and her as-yet unnamed male companion have been spotted on Alcatraz where they built themselves a nest on the west side of the island. As the Chronicle reports this week, they've also been seen with two baby chicks making their first attempts at flight — and this is the first known falcon nest to be built on Alcatraz in its recorded history.
The island, as the Chronicle reminds us, gets its name from the Spanish word for "strange birds," and perhaps Lawrencium and her mate have settled in this year because of the abundance of prey. The island is home to many cormorants, egrets, and more — and observers have already seen one of the falcons make lunch out of a passing goose.
Lawrencium and her lover hatched their babies in early June, and thus they are fledglings attempting to fly now that about eight weeks have passed.
Meanwhile, in Berkeley, triplets were born in April — well, three eggs anyway. There is another well-watched nest with a live feed atop the campanile on the UC Berkeley campus, and a prolific falcon couple named Annie and Grinnell had three falcon chicks this year who have since been given the names Redwood, Sequoia, and Poppy — to boys and a girl. You can see them progress from little white puffballs into nearly grown fledglings on this Facebook page, but here's a gratuitous shot of them in early May, because they aren't nearly as cute now.
That's the adorableness we could have had in San Francisco, had it not been for the cruelties of nature, and the stupidity of a certain father who ate the only chick that hatched back in mid-June, out of seven eggs that were laid in two sets.
Lawrencium, the new mom over on Alcatraz, is actually one of Annie and Grinnell's offspring from 2018 — she was named for one of the elements that was discovered at Lawrence Berkeley Labs. So the two babies still learning to fly over there are the grandchildren of Annie and Grinnell, and the nieces/nephews of the above trio, even though they're the same age.
Congratulations are in order! Annie and Grinnell are officially Grand-falcons now. We just received good news about...Posted by Cal Falcons on Wednesday, June 3, 2020
It should be noted that these adorable babies quickly become deadly raptors — peregrine falcons are believed to be the fastest animal on earth, capable of flying speeds up to 300 miles per hour. And they can rip apart another bird with those sharp talons and beaks.
Currently, the live camera at the PG&E building is down, and the company is trying to get it fixed by AT&T, who is their camera vendor — but that process has taken over a month and still it is down. If you click on the live-feed page, you will see Val still incubating a set of eggs, but this is actually just a 54-minute loop from June 26 that is playing on repeat. A rep for PG&E got on the falcon message board earlier this week to explain to fans that Val and Canyon are still visiting the nest, but we don't have any word on the status of the eggs, or what is going on there.