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Watch adorable falcon chicks hatched atop San Francisco PG&E building

Life in South of Market is for the birds these days

77 Beale Street, a tall building in South Beach.
77 Beale Street, home to three new, born and raised San Francisco falcons.

Since 2004, PG&E has maintained a falcon nest on the roof of its Beale Street headquarters as part of a statewide preservation program. (And, of course, so that local falcons can help generate some good press for the utility company when they come to roost.)

Earlier this week, South Beach welcomed its three newest tenants in the form of three fluffy, white, golf ball-sized peregrine falcon chicks, which bird watchers can see via a live webcam running a constant stream of bird-based reality TV.

Right now they’re spending most of their time tucked beneath mom’s sheltering feathers, but patience will reveal the little tykes during feeding time sooner or later.

It’s a lucky break for falcon fanatics, as PG&E spokesman Matt Nauman notes:

Nature makes its own rules. Sometimes the falcon parents build their nest on the PG&E building, and sometimes they don’t. And, even when they do, the eggs don’t always hatch. [...] Seeing them grow from furry blobs to young birds taking their first flight is quite an experience.

“Matilda” minding the children this morning.

Hoodline notes that researchers from U.C. Santa Cruz will place tracking bands on the newborns sometime next month.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology says that peregrine falcons “were virtually eradicated [...] by pesticide poisoning in the middle 20th century,” but “have made an incredible rebound” since then.

Peregrines are particular to coastal regions and also to cities because (as webcam watchers can see) they like to hang out atop tall buildings.

“Look for Peregrine Falcons perching or nesting on skyscrapers, water towers, cliffs, power pylons, and other tall structures,” says Cornell.

Falcons mate for life, conservation-based non-profit Defenders of Wildlife notes, a relationship they can maintain because they have few predators of their own. The PG&E couple are nicknamed Matilda and Dan.

Peregrines mate in the spring, and the eggs take some 30 days to hatch on average. They look cute now, but they’ll grow up to be fierce and shockingly swift predators. Urban living has been key to falcon repopulation efforts, and they’re a critical check on the local pigeon population.

Take a look at home life on Beale Street:

“Hello, world.”