HARRISBURG, Pa., March 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Punxsutawney Phil
was the first to predict an early spring, but now there's another sign that
warmer weather is just around the corner: Harrisburg's peregrine falcons
have returned to their nest on the 15th floor ledge of the Rachel Carson
State Office Building.
To catch all the action, state officials will activate the live falcon
Web cam today on the Department of Environmental Protection's Web site,
http://www.depweb.state.pa.us, Keyword: "Falcon."
"The adult peregrines have been difficult to track this year. After a
period of unusually low activity on the ledge, they have finally begun to
greet each other and exhibit breeding behavior," DEP Director of
Environmental Education Jack Farster said. "Much of the courtship behavior
seems to have taken place at other locations nearby."
Such courtship behavior includes food offerings by the male and
displays of flight and hunting skills. The male does these acts seemingly
to demonstrate his ability to be a good provider.
Based on previous years' timing, the female Peregrine falcon should
begin to lay eggs sometime this month. Last year, her first egg was laid
March 25. The eggs began hatching on May 3 and the young falcons began to
fledge, or take their first flight, in June. Also last year, for the first
time, the pair produced five eggs, all of which hatched. Unfortunately,
only two survived.
This will be the eighth nesting season for this female peregrine
falcon. The male is entering into his third nesting season. Carson, the
original male at this site, injured on Dec. 16, 2004, still resides at Zoo
America in Hershey.
Last year, the falcon feed was offered in two formats: Windows Media
for broadband viewers and a dial-up version in Real Player. Due to the
overwhelming demand for the broadband feed, only the Windows Media format
will be offered this year in order to provide as much access to the feed as
possible. The falcon cam will run daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The live video of the falcons will continue through the end of June.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Nest production to date has produced 29 eggs, 28 hatched
(15 male and 13 female); 9 males and 8 females have survived. The following
is a timeline of the falcons that have nested on the Rachel Carson State
Office Building in Harrisburg from 1996 to present:
1996 --- A male Peregrine falcon is spotted in the Harrisburg area.
Spring 1997 --- Pennsylvania Game Commission and DEP officials place a
nesting box on the ledge of the 15th Floor of the Rachel Carson State
Office Building. The male Peregrine returns to the area with a female
Peregrine and makes the nest their home. The two falcons pair-bond, but the
spring nesting season passes without any eggs.
March 1998 --- After the pair again fail to produce eggs, it becomes
clear that more information is needed regarding the history of the birds.
Because the male is not banded, there is no way to know his origin. The
female is banded, however, so her origin is determined. She had fledged in
1996 from a nest on the National Shrine in Washington, D.C. In addition, it
is learned that her father was an escaped falconer's bird and a hybrid.
Because the young female is of hybrid origin, she probably is infertile.
April 1998 --- After careful consideration and under the direction of
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the female is live-captured and now
resides at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh where she serves their
May 1998 --- Within one week of removing the first female, the male is
seen with a new female. From her alphanumeric leg band information, it is
determined that was a nestling on the Girard Point Bridge in Philadelphia
in 1998. She is the first falcon produced on a bridge in Pennsylvania to be
rediscovered at a nest site. At 1 year of age, she is too young to
Spring 2000 --- As a two-year-old, the female falcon is now capable of
reproduction. On March 27, the first of four eggs are laid. DEP begins a
live video stream of the falcons on the Web. The agency records more than
34 million hits to the site in its first season.
May 2000 --- The four eggs hatch producing two males and two female
June 2000 --- Only one of the four young falcons, a female survives the
first three months after fledging.
Spring 2001 --- The pair produces four eggs: two males, two females.
Summer 2001 --- Two females, one male survive.
Spring 2002 --- The pair produces four eggs: two males, two females.
Summer 2002 --- Two males, one female survive.
Spring 2003 --- The pair produces four eggs: two males, two females.
Summer 2003 --- Two males, one female survive.
Spring 2004 --- The pair produces four eggs: three males, one female.
Summer 2004 --- Two males, one female survive.
December 2004 --- The original Harrisburg male peregrine is injured and
treated but cannot be returned to the wild. Wildlife officials are
concerned that the 2005 spring nesting season may be in jeopardy. He now
resides at Zoo America in Hershey.
February 2005 --- A new, very young male falcon is spotted at the
Spring 2005 --- Against the odds, the young male maintains his new nest
and, along with the female, produces three offspring in the pair's first
year together. Four eggs were produced. One egg failed to hatch. From the
remaining three eggs, two males and one female hatched.
Summer 2005 --- One male, one female survived.
Spring 2006 --- For the first time, the male and female Peregrines
produce five eggs. All five hatch producing three female and two male
Summer/Fall 2006 -- One female and one male survive after leaving the
nest. The smallest male is electrocuted by a nearby power line, a female
was put down after she was found severely injured near Safe Harbor, along
the Susquehanna River, Lancaster County, and another female was recovered
at Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C. The apparent cause of
death was contact with an aircraft.
CONTACT: Susan Rickens
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection