**Livecam is best viewed in Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox

The peregrine falcon family at UC Davis Medical Center is back and bigger than ever. This year, there is a record-setting five hatchlings in the nest.

It is very unusual to have five eggs successfully hatch. Falcon experts suggest it may be because of the experience of the peregrine parents, and the abundance of food in the area. Urban peregrine falcons typically eat smaller birds, such as pigeons, which are abundant in the nearby tree-lined neighborhoods.

Stay tuned to this livestream video and watch the chicks grow out of their fuzzy feathers. The chicks are likely to take their first flight in mid-June. After that, they may stick around the area or venture off to wherever food is most abundant.

Since at least 2015, a pair of peregrines has made their home at the medical center. Their nest is located a safe distance from the hospital’s busy helipad.

Last year (2019) proved very successful for the falcons as the parents welcomed four youngsters. Livestream watchers enjoyed peregrine activities until mid-June, when the birds left the nest. Get the recap from Keeping Up With the Peregrines: Season 1.

***Note about these peregrines: All signs suggest another eventful season of “Keeping Up With the Peregrines.” However, these are wild birds in an urban environment. The first-year survival rate of hatchlings is about 50%. The hazards they face include predation from hawks and owls, starvation and disease. Stay hopeful and optimistic. Just remember, Mother Nature is always in charge!

About the Peregrine Falcon

Female peregrine falcon flying over UC Davis Medical CenterThe peregrine falcon mom at UC Davis Medical Center has been keeping a very watchful eye on her four new nesting chicks. (Photo by Ken Waller, UC Davis Health)

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 typically begin flying away from the nest at the medical center sometime in mid-June. Experts say the birds usually 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 man-made 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.

To learn more about the peregrine falcon and other birds of prey, check out the California Raptor Center at UC Davis and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.