After a successful third season for a peregrine falcon family living atop UC Davis Medical Center, we've noticed the parents sitting on the nest. Stay tuned to watch the family grow for another season!
Since at least 2015, peregrine falcons have made their home at the medical center. Their nest is located a safe distance from the hospital's busy helipad.
Peregrine chicks change very rapidly once they emerge from their eggs. Weighing about 1.5 ounces at birth, the tiny chicks are feeble and slightly pink as their white downy feathers fill in. Since they can't regulate their own temperature for the first week or so, a parent (mostly the mother) will stay with them to keep them warm.
Within five days, a chick's weight will double. The siblings will continue to huddle and sleep in what looks to be a furry white pile. But they can also sit up and eat.
After about 14 days, the chicks will be walking around and eating with enthusiasm, as mom and dad fly in and out with tasty morsels.
The 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: