She was named by a kindergarten class in San Francisco
Wednesday June 19th 2019, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

A quick note re the San Jose City Hall peregrine falcons, long of interest to me because I used to be one of the falcon-cam volunteers: Clara’s been the matriarch of that nest for fourteen years.

It seems like just about every year there’s a fly-by by some other falcon looking for a good spot, and Clara and her mates have been swift to fend them off and away from the 18th floor enclosed HVAC ledge that provides such a perfect spot for their eyases to hatch, grow, explore, and take off from.

Her mates have been fought off and replaced from time to time by other males, but Clara’s ruled the roost since that building was built.

The last two years she laid four eggs but one didn’t hatch. She was getting older. There were more confrontations with intruders testing for potential takeovers than in the past.

This year’s three young had fledged successfully and were just starting to learn the ropes of handing off food mid-air from their parents, with the next step being to learn how to hunt their own before their parents would stop feeding them.

Which hopefully all happened/is happening. But suddenly all five of them, parents and young, were banished, and a banded falcon soon identified as Grace from San Francisco’s 2016 nest had claimed the territory along with her unbanded, unnamed-as-yet mate. This was just too good a territory to pass up–nice and high and all the pigeons you could ever ask for–and clearly they’d been willing to fight for it.

How many of those previous intrusions were these two one can only guess.

Here’s a video of Grace, above, while the tiercel (ie the male) inspects the nest box, going, Yes. Yes. Yes this will do, uh huh. Nice *paint job. Like the gravel flooring. Sold!

The kicker is that both yesterday and today a pair of pigeons flew into that nest box and settled in as if they owned the place. They never would have dared around Clara–they would have been dinner.

Breeding season being effectively over, the new peregrines seem not to have entirely moved in yet after the closing.


*An in-joke. The splashes of white from all those babies over the years is referred to as peregrine paint among the local watchers. The fascinating thing is that from the moment they can wobble on their brand new legs the eyases poop as far away from where they nest as possible.

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Hummingbirds, by contrast, are know to projectile poop from the beginning. If the nest is near a window, look out!

Comment by Anne 06.19.19 @ 11:27 pm

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