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Live from this Sacramento rooftop, it’s ‘Keeping Up With the Peregrines’

Get a close-up look at the peregrine baby falcons at UC Davis Med Center

Four 24-day-old baby peregrine falcons nest on the roof of the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento on Wednesday, May 22, 2019.
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Four 24-day-old baby peregrine falcons nest on the roof of the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento on Wednesday, May 22, 2019.

UC Davis Health is giving the world a front-row seat to watch the growth and development of four baby peregrine falcons in a live-stream video from a rooftop at the Sacramento medical center campus.

The raptor nestlings, also known as eyases, hatched last month at UC Davis Medical Center, the health system reported in a news release Monday morning, and the chicks are believed to be three males and one female. Although they are still covered with a down coat, pin feathers are beginning to emerge at wingtips and tail, the report stated.

Want to keep up with the peregrines? UCD Health has created a live stream where they say viewers are likely to see everything from the chicks competing for mom’s attention to playful stumbling around the nest to sibling rivalries and bickering.

If you think that sounds like the stuff of great reality shows, tune in nonstop at https://health.ucdavis.edu/welcome/peregrine-falcon.html.

Known for their speed and visual acuity, peregrines can dive at a speed of 200 mph and still manage to grasp their prey. It’s believed they can see two to eight times better than humans, and that’s because their eyes are so large. If human eyes were as proportionately large as peregrines’, experts at The Peregrine Fund stated, people would have eyes as big as oranges.

Their “binocular vision” allows birds of prey to not only see their prey from far away but also to calculate when to strike. The mom and dad at UC Davis Medical Center will use all these advantages as they hunt to keep their four chicks fed. The pair have nested at UC Davis since 2015, and this year’s chicks are expected to remain on the rooftop through June.

The nation’s population of peregrines fell perilously low as the use of a pesticide known as DDT increased, and they were at one time on the federal list of endangered species. DDT, later found to be a carcinogen that also threatened humans, accumulated in the birds’ bodies and slowly poisoned them. Their eggs also became so thin that they cracked under the birds’ weight.

After the pesticide was banned in the early 1970s, falconers and wildlife preservationists worked to restore the peregrine and other birds, including the bald eagle. In 1999, the bird was removed from the federal endangered list.

UC Davis Medical Center officially launched on May 20, 2019, a livestream of the hospital’s peregrine falcon family, complete with four cute newborns. Last month, four peregrine chicks hatched in a nest on the roof of the hospital.

Follow more of our reporting on Health Care Workers

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