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San Jose: City Hall's mama falcon lays first egg of season

By Lisa Fernandez

Posted: 03/03/2010 09:27:40 AM PST
Updated: 03/03/2010 11:21:55 AM PST

Click photo to enlarge
Clara lays her first egg of the season atop City Hall on March 2. (San Jose City Hall)

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Without any fuss, San Jose's beloved falcon, Clara, laid her first egg this season atop City Hall — a seemingly effortless act of nature to make most human mothers green with envy.

On Tuesday, at 9:57 a.m., a brown speckled egg emerged from Clara's underbelly. Throughout the minutes-long effort, Clara barely batted an eyelash.

"Remember, chickens lay eggs every day," said Glenn Stewart, a biologist with the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group at the University of California-Santa Cruz.

The egg's arrival comes 11 days earlier than Clara's first egg laid last year and 10 days earlier than the year before.

It's nothing to get your feathers ruffled about.

Stewart said it's not a sign of global warming, and it shouldn't affect the health of the baby falcon, expected to hatch next month.

"Everything's OK," Stewart said. "You know. They're like babies. They come when they're ready."

Studies have shown, Stewart added, that eggs tend to come earlier as female falcons mature. Clara is 5 years old.

And she's not done birthing.

A normal "clutch" of falcons comprises four eggs, Stewart said. Fans around the globe, who can observe the falcons 24/7 on live webcams and on YouTube videos, should expect Clara to lay three more eggs — one every 52 hours. The reason the interval takes at least two days, Stewart said, is that each egg is formed individually.

Last year, the first egg hatched April

This is Clara's fourth nesting season. She has been living on a ledge outside City Hall since 2007. A falcon named Esteban Colbert — the father of the soon-to-be-hatched eggs — has been her mate for two seasons.

Contact Lisa Fernandez at 408-920-5002.


You can see the falcons via two FalconCams: the City of San Jose Web site at http://sanjose.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=91 and the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group Web site at www.scpbrg.org. The YouTube of Tuesday"s birth is at http://www.youtube.com/SanJosePFA.

1 comment:

  1. Cool. I love how falcons are adapting to life in cities. I hope the rest of the clutch was laid without incident.