Lookout for the San Francisco Resident Peregrine Falcons in the FiDi
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San Francisco resident peregrine falcons are a sign of spring. That means that it’s almost time for the worker bees of the FiDi to hear shrieking sounds from 300 feet above, or catch a glimpse of a Peregrine Falcon diving from the skies at up to 275 mph.
In past years, resident falcon couple Dapper Dan and Diamond Lil took up residence on the PG&E building on Main and Mission. The PG&E website states, “…sometimes the falcon parents build their nest on the PG&E building, and sometimes they don’t.” The mating couple are responsible in assisting the recovery of Peregrines from the brink of extinction. In 2011, the couple gave birth to three babies, also known as eyeases. And in 2016, another couple (Dan and Matilda) were reported to have birthed three more falcon babies! But, just in case a Peregrine couple does choose to use the building this year, PG&E has upgraded their camera on top of their headquarters for a bird’s-eye view.
In 2013 Dan was seen doing all the egg incubatin’ on his own while his firmè hina, Diamond, took off for Splitsville and left him with the kids. I guess she was done-zo after raising her batch from the former years. But, it was all good because another lady caught wind of Dan’s fresh breakup and Dan had another old lady within a day or two to help him raise the kids. Ain’t no one heard from Diamond since.
Only four Peregrines remained in California in 1970 (with none seen east of the mighty Mississippi), thanks in part to human disturbance, but mostly due to pesticides like DDT. Fortunately, they’re on the slow and steady incline thanks to the efforts of biologists and the UC Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group. The SCPBRG – specifically Glenn Stewart, who has been tracking down nesting falcons in the FiDi since the 1980s – takes care of the PG&E Peregrines; keeping track of their health, the number of offspring and if they’re using the nesting site. There are now around 250 nesting pairs in the state of California.
The Peregrine offspring have a number of bands placed on their ankles, one for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with a phone number to call in case one is found. Now is the time to keep your eyes to the sky for a glimpse of the birds on elevated perches in the Financial District and on the Bay Bridge walkways. Or, darting for your shitty Yorkie.
If you want to learn more about local birds (and animals in particular), don’t forget to check out the Golden Gate Audubon Society, or this relatively new publication, The Naturalist Magazine, created by San Francisco resident Ali Wunderman.