By Olivia Wynkoop | Bay City News Foundation
Fifteen years after the cameras started rolling, PG&E will stop broadcasting its 24/7 Falcon Cam on October 15 after selling its San Francisco headquarters.
The 33rd-floor ledge of 77 Beale Street has served as a nesting site for falcons since 1986, thanks to the work of the University of California at the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group. Nearly 50 pilgrims have hatched in front of an international audience since PG&E set up a livestream in 2005.
The public watched researchers put on tracking rings for baby hawks, see parents of hawks bond with their young, and enter naming contests. Dr Zeka Glucs, director of PBRG, said these live interactions gave the public a deeper connection to falcon conservation efforts, which was essential for a breed that was on the verge of extinction in the 1970s.
âThis nest and this webcam is the first personal encounter with the peregrine falcons that I hear about when I tell people what I do for a living or give an educational presentation,â Glucs said in a statement. “Peregrine falcons are an iconic species, and these personal connections to the wildlife of the modern world help create a collective desire to be better stewards of our environment.”
PG&E has contributed $ 330,000 in shareholder funds to the research group and will continue to support them until at least 2022. The company will also continue to upgrade utility poles as part of its bird protection program, which prevents bird electrocution and builds platforms for the nesting of predatory birds.