View mobile site
Follow us on
Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013 | 1:11 p.m.
Hi, (not you?) | Member Center | Sign Out
Sign In | Register
Posted: 8:46 a.m. Tuesday, April 23, 2013
KTVU and Wires
SAN JOSE, Calif. —
A biologist rappelled down the side of San Jose’s City Hall Tuesday morning to the spot where a falcon family has set up its nest to band and determine the health and sex of several new falcon chicks.
Glenn Stewart, a biologist with the University of California at Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group, rappelled down from the top of the 18-story building into the falcons' nest.
When he arrived at the nest, he was greeted by two angry parent falcons.
“I had no direct contact with the birds, but I could feel them (the parents) breeze by,” he said. “They are always angry about the intrusion….But we always let them believe they win.”
His mission was to place bands around the chicks' legs so scientists can track them and collect data.
“We have two angry parents and three boys,” he said of this year’s falcon family perched in a nest high above city hall.
Stewart has been banding falcons since the early 1980s and said it is exciting every time.
"I don't like to climb trees or mountains but it's where the birds are," Stewart said. "It never gets old ... Every time you do it, you're going to be really careful."
The process took about 30-40 minutes.
Stewart said the peregrine falcon population is rebounding from near extinction in the West and there about 200-300 pairs in the state currently.
“We have been bringing the birds back and keeping them from extinction,” he said. “It’s pretty neat to sit on the ledge with them… We are learning a lot of the banding program.”
Scientists are also looking at the life spans of the birds because they believe it is an indicator of the overall health of the environment, he said.
Stewart said that because the falcons are high up on the food chain, if the animals they eat have contaminants that will be reflected in their life span.
© 2013 Cox Media Group. By using this website,
Already have an account? Sign In
We have sent you a confirmation email. Please check your email and click on the link to activate your account.
We look forward to seeing you frequently. Visit us and sign in to update your profile, receive the latest news and keep up to date with mobile alerts.
Don't worry, it happens. We'll send you a link to create a new password.
We have sent you an email with a link to change your password.
We've sent an email with instructions to create a new password. Your existing password has not been changed.
To sign in you must verify your email address. Fill out the form below and we'll send you an email to verify.
Check your email for a link to verify your email address.