Can’t get enough of the Campanile peregrine falcons’ The pair that has raised its young atop Berkeley’s bell tower for the past two years - and made headlines - can now be observed 24/7 by anyone in the world.
After a successful
that brought in more than $14,500, UC Berkeley, working closely with state and federal agencies, has installed two cameras on the second balcony of the Campanile so people can watch the peregrines - and their chicks in the spring - all day, every day.
"The cameras will allow students, the campus community and the public to watch the birds - to see how they interact and observe the eggs as they hatch, then the chicks as they grow and learn to fly," says Carla Cicero, staff curator of birds at UC Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.
"We hope that educating the public on raptor nesting activity will encourage people to be more respectful of natural habitat and lead people to pursue careers in environmental studies and other related fields of study," adds Mary Malec, a volunteer raptor nest monitor with the East Bay Regional Park District.
Malec says the eggs could be laid anywhere from the middle of February to the end of March, but based on the past two years, they will probably be laid in early March. Chicks hatch after 33-34 days of incubation.
In spring 2017, the peregrine couple hatched its first clutch of chicks, which were named - after three elements discovered at Berkeley).
During those two nesting cycles, volunteers came together to , waiting for the chicks to fledge, or take their first flights.
Being able to monitor the birds by camera instead of with binoculars will make their jobs a lot easier, says Malec.
The video camera clamped on the balustrade right in front of the nest, on the west-facing second balcony, has infrared capabilities, so it can capture video at night. It also has an internal lens, so it can pan 180 degrees without any of the camera’s moving parts being visible to the birds.
The second video camera, in the tower’s northeast corner, provides a view of the balconies on the east and north, where chicks spend a lot of time running around and flapping their wings before they fledge. Only the Campanile’s south side isn’t visible by camera.
The $14,526 in donations have mainly been used to purchase and install the camera equipment and to set it up to livestream the videos. Cicero says she also hopes to use some of the funds to hire a student intern to help with research, video archiving and preparation of educational materials.
Cicero says the campus will need more funds for camera maintenance and repair and to install a permanent network line to the camera setup. People who would like to donate can visit the