By Olivia Wynkoop | Bay City News Foundation
Fifteen years after the cameras started rolling, PG&E will stop streaming its 24/7 Falcon Cam on October 15 after the sale of its San Francisco headquarters.
The 33rd floor ledge of 77 Beale St. has served as a successful breeding ground for falcons since 1986, thanks to the work of the University of California at the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group. Nearly 50 peregrine falcons have been shown to international audiences since PG&E launched a live stream in 2005.
The audience tuned in to see how researchers bond with baby falcons, watch trappers bond with their young, and participate in naming contests. dr. Zeka Glucs, director of PBRG, said these live interactions gave the public a deeper connection to falcon conservation efforts, which was essential for a breed that faced extinction in the 1970s.
“This nest and this webcam are the No. 1 face-to-face encounter with peregrine falcons I hear when I tell people what I do for a living or give an educational presentation,” Glucs said in a statement. “Peregrines are an iconic species, and these personal connections to wildlife in the modern world help create a collective will to be better stewards of our environment.”
PG&E has contributed $330,000 in shareholder funds to the research group and will continue to support them through at least 2022. The company will also continue to retrofit utility poles in its Avian Protection Program, which prevents bird electrocution and builds platforms for nesting birds of prey.