San Francisco Nest Diary 2005:
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Note that diary entries list most recent events first
June 11, 2005: Drumm St. Bridge Celebration of the 2005 Nesting Season! Today the staff from SCPBRG were joined by more than a hundred fellow-falcon-watchers on the Drumm St. bridge at the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco, to celebrate the successful fledging of George and Gracie's 2005 offspring! It was a tremendous turnout, and it was wonderful to meet so many with such an avid interest in San Francisco's new avian celebrities. George, Gracie and all three of the juveniles were observed during the course of the afternoon, perched either on the PG&E building, the Spear Tower, and of course, 'Hope' (43/C) was seen perched in her regular spot on top of the Matson Building cupola for a short time during the afternoon. It is truly remarkable to see just how many people in downtown San Francisco can now be spotted wandering through the Financial District clutching their binoculars, craning their necks skyward! The juvenile falcons should remain close to the area for the next few weeks before dispersing, so if you haven't yet seen them in person, grab your binoculars...and head downtown!
June 6, 2005: George, Gracie and the three youngsters are all doing very well in the City. Since 'Hope' (43/C) re-fledged on Saturday afternoon she has been seen by a number of observers downtown, flying both by herself, or with one or the other adults. Her flight abilities improve each day, as does her landing skill, and in no time at all she'll no doubt be flying rings around her brothers! George and Gracie continue to feed all the youngsters, but yesterday 43/C was seen to be helping herself to one of her brother's meals on top of the Bechtel building, tussling with him for her apparent share of his sizable meal!. Most days she can be sighted atop the Matson building, or near the Beale St. PG&E headquarters...and often one or both of the juvenile males are nearby. This afternoon visitors to the area were rewarded with a spectacular view of Gracie in a vertical dive overhead, being chased closely behind by one of the juveniles (believed to be one of the males). The 'boys' are regularly spotted overhead engaging in their aerial jousts, and chasing each other through the skies. If you find yourself in the area, it's definitely worth a visit to downtown San Francisco before these three young falcons disperse.
June 4, 2005: 43/C is soaring over San Francisco!!! Shortly before 2PM PDT today, our female falcon (43/C), recently dubbed "Hope", re-fledged after an extended stay on the ledge. On May 26th she flew for the first time, but ended up on the ground. An examination revealed no significant injuries, and she was returned to the nest later that day by SCPBRG staff. Progressively over the course of the past few days she has been increasing the amount of time that she spends on the ledge exercising her wings...until this afternoon she finally reclaimed her place in the skies over San Francisco! We'll continue to post updates on her progress over the next few days. No doubt many will miss seeing her on camera...perched in her place in the gap at sunset...but all are thrilled that she's now soaring over the City.
June 2, 2005: Female 43/C has been observed in "preflight practice mode" on the edge of the 33rd floor ledge a number of times today...especially later toward this evening, and she appears to be gaining a lot more confidence with each practice session. By 9 PM you could still make out her vague 'flapping' silhouette on camera as the sun set behind her over the City.
June 1, 2005: The two juvenile male falcons spent a large part of today in the skies over downtown San Francisco! They were repeatedly seen showing off their aerial prowess, chasing each other, diving toward each other, and knocking each other off their perches to instigate the next round of 'tag-you're-it'. One male made a brief visit to the western ledge of the PG&E building and could be seen and heard calling back and forth to the female (43/C) on the ledge just around the corner. Perhaps inspired by all the flight activity around the building this morning, the female juvenile was observed standing on the metal ledge in the alcove three times today, vigorously exercising her wings for the first time since last Thursday's eventful day...and is no doubt contemplating rejoining her brothers in the skies over San Francisco soon.
May 31, 2005: Both male falcons are continuing to do well exploring their new urban habitats, and have been sighted over the holiday weekend on numerous occasions. This morning it's reported that one of the juvenile males has been flying with Gracie over the downtown area, and has been seen practicing his 'stooping' technique. Both males most recently have been sighted perched in the area of Mission and Fremont Streets. The female 43/C is still lingering on the nest ledge, and often is positioned in camera view perched in "the gap" on the ledge. George and Gracie continue to bring her food at that location, as well as to the two males downtown.
May 29, 2005: Early this morning both of our wayward young males were discovered perched on a building on Mission Street. 80/B, after spending the past couple of days approximately 13 floors above the sidewalk, gained significant altitude and was discovered perching on the 31st floor! His perch amidst the shrubbery on the balcony was not visible from the street, but was clearly observable via an office window at about the same level as the perch across the street in the PG&E building. Shortly after identifying 80/B, the other male (53/D) who had apparently been dozing in the morning sun, revealed himself one floor above his brother on the roof of the same building! Demonstrating his competency as an expert flyer, later in the day 53/D was also seen fearlessly chasing a gull across Mission St...the gull had a lucky escape...this time. The female spent most of the day perched "in the gap" on the nest ledge, in camera view, contemplating her next flight.
May 27, 2005: Four days after the male falcon 53/D attempted his first flight, and found himself on the ground, he successfully fledged up to the roof of the PG&E building today! He remained there most of day, with an occasional flight out to survey the downtown area, and returned to the roof of 77 Beale. Gracie was observed delivering a sizeable late afternoon meal to him, and to his sibling 80/B who has spent most of today perched on the old Matson building at Market and Main St. After all of yesterday's excitement, the female (43/C) opted to stay put on the nest ledge today. Field staff in San Francisco will continue to monitor her over the long weekend until fledging is complete.
May 26, 2005
In an effort to emulate the male falcon that fledged yesterday, the female (43/C) left the nest ledge this afternoon...and after a brief tour of part of the city she found herself down on the ground around 2:20 PM...with a couple of security guards for company. Some eyewitness reports suggested she had grazed two nearby buildings before becoming grounded, and an initial field assessment indicated a more thorough physical examination was warranted. The female was given a clean bill of health, and shortly before 5:30 PM, after a 33 story elevator ride, she was returned to rejoin 53/D on the nest ledge. The male that fledged yesterday (80/B) is doing well, and has spent most of the day in the vicinity of Market and Main St.
May 25, 2005: No new fledging activity was observed yesterday, and all three remaining young were seen on camera on the 33rd floor ledge at sunset. However, just before 8:00 AM PDT today, witnesses observed one of the youngsters leaving the nest ledge of the PG&E building, and landing on top of the AirTouch building just to the north. This was later confirmed to be the male 80/B. Gracie was observed feeding this fledgling at 2:45 PM on the roof of a building at California and Davis Streets. The youngster later relocated to the roof of the revolving restaurant on top of the Hyatt Regency Hotel at the Embarcadero. An increasing number of observers have been enjoying spending the past couple of days soaking in views of George, Gracie and the youngsters, with their spotting scopes and binoculars lined up along the Drumm St. Bridge between Embarcadero 3 and 4.
The process of fledging is perhaps the most dangerous time of any young falcon's life. Male 76/P is thought to have fledged late Monday night, on the evening of May 23rd, but sadly did not survive. He was initially observed flying between 425 Market St. and the Bechtel Building, and at approximately 7:30 PM witnesses saw him fly into a plate glass window at 101 California St., and fall to the sidewalk below. Reflections in the glass walls of the building, poor footing (common among newly flighted falcons), and lack of experience, may have all contributed to his unsuccessful fledging.
May 23, 2005: After several days of "practicing" while standing on the gap in the ledge, the first of our four young falcons, Male 53/D, fledged to the ground just before noon this morning, at 41 days of age. SCPBRG determined that the male was uninjured during his initial flight, and returned him to the 33rd floor ledge. Not far behind, a second fledged, the female 43/C, and settled on top of a nearby building at 333 Market Street. That evening the female was observed back on the nest ledge with two of her siblings.
May 18, 2005: At 36 days old, just a little before 4 PM today, the first of our intrepid explorers made his way to a small gap on the side of the ledge. Last year's offspring were observed standing in the same location, soaking up the view of downtown SF, for a few days prior to standing on the upper level of the ledge. Actual fledging is anticipated to occur the week of May 24th, as peregrines generally take their first flight somewhere between 37 and 43 days after hatching, with females typically fledging later than males.
May 4, 2005: Banding day! Today SCPBRG banded the four 22 day old youngsters at PG&E. Based on the sizes of their feet and legs, we appear to have 3 males and 1 female. Each young falcon was fitted with one band on each leg. A US Fish and Wildlife Service band, and a VID band. Larger-sized bands were placed on the female than the males. All were found to be healthy and robust, and the banding was completed without incident. Their VID band numbers are as follows:
Female: right leg, 43/C
Male 1: left leg 76/P
Male 2: right leg 80/B
Male 3: right leg 53/D
April 19, 2005: The chicks are growing very fast! We are starting to see them alone in the nest from time to time as the adults are both away hunting. Soon the chicks will begin to move around in the nest box, at first on their "haunches", then later standing up on their feet, albeit somewhat awkwardly at first. Later they will become capable of feeding themselves, although the adults may continue to feed them directly. Prey, which at first is brought into the box completely plucked by the adults, will gradually have more feathers intact later in the nesting cycle.
April 13, 2005: As of this morning there are now FOUR young falcon chicks in the nest! The last egg is believed to have hatched between the evening of April 12th and the morning of April 13th.
April 12, 2005: In the quiet of darkness between the evening of April 11, and the early morning hours of April 12, the first eyas of the 2005 season hatched! Then the second eyas hatched shortly before 7AM PDT on camera the morning of April 12! Not wanting to miss out...at 2:25PM PDT eyas number 3 made its entrance into the world! This has been a very busy day indeed! When peregrines are young, they require near-constant brooding by the adults to keep warm, so when the chicks are not being fed, the adults will appear much as if they are incubating, making the chicks difficult to see the first few days after hatching. One egg now remains in the nest box.
March 10, 2005: Then there were FOUR! Oblivious to the vast audience watching her every move, and after appearing somewhat restless for a few minutes around lunch time, Gracie produced the fourth egg today at 1:15 PM...on camera...for all to see!
March 8, 2005: Egg number three arrived in the early morning hours today. Full-time incubation of the eggs should now begin...
March 6, 2005: Between sunset of March 5 and sunrise the morning of March 6 Gracie laid egg number 2...
March 3, 2005: The 2005 nesting season officially arrived when Gracie laid her first egg at noon today! The picture to the right was taken shortly afterward as George was introduced to the new arrival...