Environment & Energy
3:20 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

DEP’s “Falcon Cam” is Back!

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is streaming a webcast of the peregrine falcon nest on its Rachel Carson State Office Building in Harrisburg.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is streaming a webcast of the peregrine falcon nest on its Rachel Carson State Office Building in Harrisburg.
Credit PA Dept of Environmental Protection

For those of you missing the Wisconsin recall cam, the webcam that gave thousands of people an inside look into the life of bureaucrats, the Pennsylvania DEP’s “falcon cam” might just catch your attention with nesting falcons.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today launched its annual 24-hour a day webcast of the peregrine falcon nest on its Rachel Carson State Office Building in Harrisburg.

DEP spokesperson Amanda Witman said this is the 13th year the building is hosting falcons. She said over those years there have been 48 eggs laid, 40 hatchlings, and 29 young peregrine falcons that left the nest.

Whitman said it’s currently the falcons’ mating season, so people will be able to see them acting “more aggressive” than other times of the year.

“We will begin to see activity with regard to potential laying of the eggs within the next several weeks,” said Witman. “And then typically around the beginning of May (and) end of April is when we will see the eggs themselves hatch.”

Witman said they expect the hatchlings will take their first flight sometime in early June.

She said the male falcon in the nest has been there since 2005, but they’ve seen different female falcons since a longtime nester “succumbed to another female’s aggression” a few years ago.

“We had a female that [was] here for many many seasons. Now we have a male that’s been here for many many seasons,” said Witman. “I will say, every year inevitably there is challenge of some sort whether it’s a male being challenged, a female being challenged, or both in some cases.”

Witman said the three cameras that recorded the falcons last year were taken out and replaced with three new high definition cameras.

She said they are also planning on a fourth camera being added once the eggs have hatched to provide a more intimate viewing experience.

Nationally peregrine falcons were taken off of the list of endangered and threatened species in 1999, but the Pennsylvania Gaming Commission still lists them as endangered at the state level and estimates there are only 32 pairs of peregrine falcons nesting in the state including on the Gulf Tower and Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh.