Peregrine falcon eggs hatch on Alcatraz Island

Peregrine falcons making their nests in shallow depressions, NPS photo.

Four chicks from a pair of nesting peregrine falcons have hatched from eggs on Alcatraz Island, according to park officials.

The mother, named Lawrencium, first began nesting with her mate on the island in 2020. Park officials said that they were the first pair of peregrine falcons to nest on Alcatraz.

Biologist Lidia D'Amico with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area said the eggs were first laid in March. 

The falcons were first seen breeding on the island in 2019, officials said. The former prison "has long been a sanctuary for birds," because there is a lack of predators on the island.

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"The efforts to monitor nesting peregrines on Alcatraz are very exciting," said Senior Program Manager Teresa Ely from the Golden Gate National Park Conservancy. "Their local population has rebounded, and it’s amazing to see these birds thrive in habitats that act as sanctuaries amongst urban landscapes."

Park officials said other birds that live and breed on the island include western gulls, black-crowned night-herons, snowy egrets, and cormorants. The falcons are the "apex predators" of the island, meaning they occasionally prey on other birds.