Young Bay Area falcons plunge from nests, including peregrine that fell from the 18th floor of San Jose City Hall

In what wildlife rescuers called a rare pair of events, two young peregrine falcons plunged from their Bay Area nests this week — and both were reunited with their families.

A falcon called Lucia, part of a family that stars on the popular San Jose City Hall falcon camera, plummeted from an 18th-floor ledge near its nest.

The young bird of prey, on the verge of being able to fly, was found Friday in an alcove of city hall by volunteers tracking the progress of her and her three sisters Alma, Zoe and Luna toward flight, according to a city-run Facebook page. The four falcons hatched in May, and females typically start flying a little more than six weeks after hatching.

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Biologists on Friday brought the fallen bird to the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA, where wildlife specialists examined her and found her unhurt, the organization said. Humane Society staff and UC Santa Cruz biologists later reunited Lucia with her three siblings and parents Hartley and Monty.

“She needs to stay put, tuck in for the night and get fed by a parent for a few more days to let those wing feathers grow out 1/4″ more each day to give optimal flight capability AND some flappercize to make those wings strong,” said a post on the city’s San Jose City Hall Falcons page.

Late Saturday morning, the page was updated to report that Lucia was “getting a little flappy.”

A young peregrine falcon that fell from its 100-foot-high nest in San Mateo County, Calif. was reunited with its family in the week ending Sunday, June 9, 2024 (photo courtesy of Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA) 

Earlier this week, another not-yet-flight-capable falcon from a less-famous family somewhere in San Mateo County fell from a 100-foot-high nest on Caltrans property, the Peninsula Humane Society reported. A biologist brought the bird to the Humane Society, where staff found it was dehydrated. “Fluids were administered,” the Humane Society said in an emailed advisory. Once the falcon was stabilized, UC Santa Cruz biologists and Caltrans workers reunited the bird with its family.

“It looks like these babies caught a case of spring fever and tried to flee the nest a little early,” said Peninsula Humane Society spokeswoman Colleen Crowley.

Peregrine falcons are considered the fastest birds in the world, capable of speeds approaching 200-mph when diving. The species, along with bald eagles and brown pelicans, was nearly wiped out by the now-banned pesticide DDT that thinned egg shells. All three species have rebounded. Peregrine falcons were removed from the endangered species list in 1999.

Webcams of peregrines’ nests have proven hugely popular, including those at UC Berkeley’s Campanile tower and, since May, Alcatraz Island.

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