We brought you the good news last week of the PG&E building falcon nest, which is broadcast via live camera feed, and which now has a clutch of four eggs in it. And across the Bay, the falcon pair that nests in the Campanile tower on the UC Berkeley campus just produced their third egg of the season.
Annie, the female falcon in the Berkeley nest, laid her third egg on Sunday, and is now incubating the clutch of eggs with the help of her mate Grinnell. As of last week, Annie had just laid her first egg, and according to the CalFalconCam Twitter, Annie is likely to lay her fourth today, but perhaps not until this evening. Average time until hatching is 33 days, which puts us around April 10 or 11 for Annie's first hatchling to emerge.
We have three eggs! Annie laid at 11:47 last night. Here's Grinnell working on fitting another egg under him this morning. pic.twitter.com/uussJF77m4— CalFalconCam (@CalFalconCam) March 15, 2021
We're fully in the window for egg #4 to be laid any time. If Annie hits her exact average, we'll see the egg around 11:30 today. The fourth egg often takes longer than the other ones, so the gap may be larger. Based on previous years, it could be as late as 8pm. pic.twitter.com/12AVhULQ4a— CalFalconCam (@CalFalconCam) March 17, 2021
Last season, the Berkeley falcons were more successful with their brood than the SF pair — Annie and Grinnell raised three fledglings to maturity, and they left the nest last fall.
The SF pair, named Val and Canyon, mated for the first time last spring after Canyon, still a juvenile, usurped the space of Val's previous mate, named Dan. You may recall that all but one of Val's eggs last season was unviable, and when one hatchling did emerge in June, Canyon "saw prey" and killed it.
SFist characterized this as murder and infanticide, largely because watching the falcon cam was a pleasant, quiet diversion in the early months of the pandemic lockdown, and the killing of the hatchling was just one of those "so 2020" moments of unnecessary disgust and horror.
But the falcon watchers who populate the discussion board for the PG&E building nest cam disapproved of our coverage last week that recounted all this.
"Tabloid journalism even extends to raptors," bemoans user zooey91, in response to SFist's post. She goes on to explain, "There are lots of success stories over the last decade and a half of the SCPBRG San Francisco webcam(s) that are ignored in this article. Just the fact that Peregrines are thriving to the point where they are moving in and taking over for previous tiercels or falcons is in and of itself a success story. And then there are the many hatchlings that we've watched become fledglings. And some that we've watched become parents at other nests."
Also, it's apparently unfair to blame the dad in this scenario for not understanding what to do with the hatchling. "Canyon was less than a year out of the nest last year, still showing juvenile markings, and his behavior with the hatchling was indeed upsetting to watch," zooey91 writes. "As was the time when the runt of the litter didn't make it more than a few days and Dan or Cher fed it to its siblings. These are but a couple of episodes among hundreds that we have had the privilege of observing because of the webcam."
We should note here that peregrine falcons were nearly extinct in the early 1970s, and conservation programs helped over two decades to get them declassified as endangered in 1999.
Anyway, here's hoping for happier days and more cute hatchlings ahead! The first SF hatchling is due to emerge around the first week or beginning of the second week of April.
The live SF feed, once again, is here.