Live Cam: Peregrine Falcons at UC Davis Medical Center
Since at least 2015, a pair of peregrine falcons has called UC Davis Medical Center’s roof their home. This year was a bountiful one. The pair enjoyed a very successful hatch of four peregrine chicks. Their nest, which is located a safe distance from our hospital’s helipad, will be home to the new birds through at least the end of June.
Stay tuned to our streaming camera 24/7 to watch their growth, activities and avian antics!
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June 12 update: The nest is usually empty now. Our four recent hatchlings just started flying. Staff and visitors report seeing them around the hospital and other nearby buildings. Scroll down for some recent photos.
Keeping Up with the Peregrines
Below are some photographs that show the rapid growth of UC Davis Medical Center’s four peregrine hatchlings. They were born during the first week of May 2019.
Experts say the youngsters will start flying early this month (June). The males usually take off first.
The birds will stay near their nesting area at the hospital for as long as two months. Mom and dad will still feed them during this time. Watch for the chicks to constantly beg their parents for more food.
By August, all four young birds will likely have left the nest permanently. They will find homes within a few hundred miles of the medical center, wherever there is an ample food supply.
June 10, 2019
They’re flying! Well, 3 out of 4 of them are flying. The young male peregrines started flying over the weekend. Nurse Diane Boyer, working on the E-6 Cardiothoracic Unit, photographed one of them resting on a window ledge outside her unit.
June 10, 2019
This youngster discovered the hard way that she wasn’t quite ready to fly yet. She was found wandering around the hospital’s loading dock, 14 floors below the nest. An apprentice falconer safely returned her to the nest.
June 9, 2019
What a difference a month makes for newborn falcons. Emergency room physician James Holmes took this photo outside his office, which is about 10 floors below the nesting area and in another building.
June 6, 2019
Just about ready to fly. Three of the youngsters were really flapping their wings today, running up and down the edge of the building.
June 2, 2019
Nearly a month since birth and the chicks are now edging toward their first flights.
May 31, 2019
The chicks are growing and exploring.
May 26, 2019
Notice the feathers are gaining color.
May 23, 2019
As they grow and gain strength, the chicks leave the nest to explore their rooftop surroundings in the early morning light.
May 21, 2019
One of the chicks being returned to the nest (with mom closely watching nearby).
May 20, 2019
The kids huddle with mom nearby.
May 17, 2019
Basking in the afternoon sun.
May 15, 2019
Feeding time at the nest.
May 13, 2019
Mom stands nearby in the afternoon sun.
May 10, 2019
The young hatchlings start finding a little bit of their own space.
May 9, 2019
The chicks eye their surroundings, but are not moving too much.
May 6, 2019
Four new peregrine falcon chicks huddle in their nest high atop UC Davis Medical Center.
About the Peregrine Falcon
The peregrine falcon was previously on the federal list of Endangered Species and was one of the first birds to be placed on California's Endangered Species List. The raptor was removed from the federal list in 1999, thanks to effort by The Peregrine Fund and others. The ban of DDT in 1972 across the U.S. also helped the species recover, leading to its removal from the state Endangered Species List in 2009.
Experts estimate the first-year survival rate for the chicks will be about 50%, as urban falcons face hazards such as injury, illness, and predators. The young birds are expected to begin flying away from the nest sometime in mid-June. Experts say the birds will likely stay in the area an additional month while their parents continue to feed them and encourage them to hunt.
Here are a few other facts about peregrine falcons:
- Scientific name: Falco peregrinus
- Body length: 13-20 in (33-50 cm)
- Wingspan: 31-48 in (78-122 cm)
- Weight: 1 to 3.5 lbs (0.4-1.5 kg)
- Like many raptors, peregrine falcon females are larger than males.
- Peregrine falcons can hit top speeds in flight of 200 mph and are considered the fastest animal on earth.
- Peregrines don't build typical nests like other birds, but instead lay eggs in a shallow indentation on the edge of a high cliff or other manmade structure, like a building or bridge.
- Baby peregrine falcons can start flying at 43 to 44 days old.
- Peregrines typically prey on small- to medium-sized birds, like songbirds, ducks, doves and pigeons. They are also known to feed on small reptiles, mammals and bats.