No those strange noises coming from the 33rd-story ledge of the PG&E building in downtown San Francisco is not emanating from the guy in charge of customer-service complaints for the SmartMeter program…

Two peregrine falcons and their three offspring have taken up residence there; just the latest of their species to nest at the company that some would say in more ways than one has gone to the birds.

Today at 11 a.m., you’re supposed to be able to watch via webcam as University of California, Santa Cruz biologist Glenn Stewart he attaches bands to the baby birds’ legs. But we’re having trouble getting through from here. If anyone is able to get a picture, can you let us know?

Bay City News story:

Dapper Dan and Diamond Lil have been residing at the Beale Street building for four years, while other peregrine falcons have been nesting there since 2004, and biologists are still not sure why, Stewart said.

What they do know is that this particular nesting couple and their three babies, or eyases, who are 21 to 23 days old, are extremely popular with the public.

“They’re cute, white, little fluffballs right now,” PG&E spokesman Joe Molica said.

Stewart estimates that about half a million viewers tune in each week to watch the birds via a live camera on the university’s website, making it the school’s most regularly watched site.

Peregrine falcons are predatory birds that eat other birds caught in midair. They can dive at speeds of up to 200 mph, Stewart said.

The number of falcons in California had dwindled to only two nesting pairs in 1970. Now, thanks in large part to programs in which biologists bred the birds in captivity and released them, researchers estimate that there are about 250 nesting pairs in the state.

Dapper Dan and Diamond Lil’s brood of young falcons–who will be named once their sexes are determined–will get a band on each leg. One is for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with a phone number to call in case one is found. The other is a visual identification band that can be seen from a distance through binoculars–this band will help watchers determine how far the birds roam.

Watch the banding on USC’s “nestcam” here.

Author

Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks writes mostly on film for KQED Arts. He is also an online editor and writer for KQED's daily news blog, News Fix. Jon is a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S.

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