For years, many have found joy in watching peregrine falcons nest, lay eggs, and raise young atop PG&E's 77 Beale Street building via Falcon Cam. But that digital window into the lives of these elusive birds is, unfortunately, coming to a close soon.
SFist has long been a big fan of Falcon Cam, chronicling the many ups and downs and dramatic turn of events of the peregrine falcons that nest at PG&E's now-former downtown office (which will be completely vacated when the utility company sets up its new headquarters at 300 Lakeside Drive in Oakland sometime next year).
We've watched fledglings take their first flights. We've seen chicks take their initial steps into this world. We've witnessed, first hand, how parent falcons tirelessly care for their young. We've, also, observed episodes of infanticide — a word some falcon fans apparently don't approve of, but the word is aptly appropriate.
Well, this wild window into these once-endangered predatory birds is set to go dark on October 15.
As reported by ABC7, the utility company gave notice on Saturday that the camera will officially be going blank later this month. But given PG&E's looming relocation to the East Bay, it's not all too surprising that Falcon Cam would end at some point.
Peregrine falcons went nearly extinct in the 1970s due to agricultural insecticides that affected their breeding patterns; any fertile eggs that were successfully laid also had thinner than normal eggshells, which made them less likely to survive. PG&E partnered with the Predatory Bird Research Group at the University of California, Santa Cruz to establish the live feed. Findings from Falcon Cam have been used to further study the health and breeding habits of the falcons.
Just 45 years ago, there were basically no breeding pairs left in California. But now, per CA's Department of Fish and Wildlife, there are some 400 breeding pairs in the state — many of which can trace their lineage back to PG&E's 77 Beale Street address.
Odds are that if you've been watching Falcon Cam over the years, you've probably seen some members of those breeding pairs take their first steps and flaps.
Watch the final views from this iconic, beloved, will-be-sorely-missed webcam here.
Photo: Courtesy of PG&E