Alcatraz Island Records First Ever Nesting of Peregrine Falcons

by - July 03, 2020

Alcatraz Island Records First Ever Nesting of Peregrine Falcons

For the first time ever, peregrine falcons have recently been recorded to have nested in Alcatraz Island, California, according to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Peregrine falcons are considered as the largest falcon in North America, weighing up to 56 ounces, with a wingspan of up to 3 feet and more.

They are also one of the fastest birds in the world and are able to catch prey in mid-flight.

In the mid-twentieth century, peregrine falcons have been largely eradicated by pesticide poisoning. Much effort has been done to recover the species, and as of late, their numbers have significantly rebounded.

This recent sighting of a rare nesting of peregrine falcons in the area is the first one ever in recorded history.

A major development after months of first sighting  in Alcatraz

According to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, they have spotted two peregrine falcons mating on the Alcatraz Water Tower in early March. It was believed that the bird couple had a nest.

It was in early June that biologists confirmed the existence of a nest, noting that there are two fledglings testing their wings while their parents watched nearby.

"They've taken a few short flights, but are still wobbly in the air," the Golden Gate National Recreation Area added.

Alcatraz Island Records First Ever Nesting of Peregrine Falcons

A remarkable story about the fledglings' mother

Another amazing part of this story is that the mother bird has been identified as Lawrencium, one of the peregrine nestlings banded by the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group back in 2018.

What's notable is that peregrine falcons have a high mortality rate of approximately 60% during the first year, and then dwindling to 30% in the second year. 

Seeing Lawrencium thrive for two years (and now a mother!) is inspiring to note.

Alcatraz Island Records First Ever Nesting of Peregrine Falcons
Male pictured on left & female on right

Making history in a historical island

Alcatraz Island has a rich and layered history, once a home to federal and military prisons. It is also the site of the oldest operating lighthouse on the US West Coast, as well as notable rock pools and seabird colonies.

It is now designated as a National Historic Landmark and welcomes over 1.5 million tourists and visitors each year.

To have such a significant moment in bird history happen in an equally historical place is truly something to celebrate!

Images courtesy of 8056626/Pixabay, Zoe Burr/NPS

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