The 33rd floor ledge of 77 Beale St. served as a successful nesting site for falcons since 1986, thanks to the work of University of California at Santa Cruz's Predatory Bird Research Group. Almost 50 peregrines hatched in front of an international audience since PG&E set up a livestream in 2005.
Audiences tuned in to watch researchers put on tracking bands to baby falcons, see falcon parents bond with their young and participate in 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 nearing extinction in the 1970s.
"This nest and webcam are the No. 1 personal peregrine encounter I hear about when I tell people what I do for a living or give an educational presentation," Glucs said in a statement. "Peregrines are an iconic species, and these personal connections with wildlife in the modern world help create a collective will 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 retrofit utility poles in its Avian Protection Program, which prevents bird electrocutions and builds platforms for predatory bird nesting.