Jersey City Falcon Cam
Since 2000, state endangered peregrine falcons have nested on a skyscraper rooftop in Jersey City, New Jersey. 2014 was the 14th season for the Falcon Cam.
Welcome to the new home of the Jersey City Falcon Cam – a popular webcam that has captured the annual life cycle of a family of endangered Peregrine Falcons living on a Jersey City skyscraper. This was the 14th season of 24/7 live streaming video. For the first time, the Falcon Cam was operated by the nonprofit Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF) rather than the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife's Endangered and Nongame Species Program.
>> Read the full press release from the camera launch.
Currently the nest at 101 Hudson St. is inactive. To save funds we have deactivated the camera stream and sound. We will begin to stream video again in February 2015. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the launch of the new Falcon Cam!!
July 28: Camera and video stream have been deactivated. They will come back online in February 2015.
July 16: Sightings of Ivy and the adults at 101 Hudson St. have diminished, though volunteer Bonnie Talluto got some photos of her flying high among giants in Jersey City! We can all hope that she is doing well and learning the skills needed to survive and raise her own young one day!
We're planning to de-activate the camera stream soon to save funding for next year! We will still post news when sightings of Ivy and other Jersey City fledglings come in. Thank you all who donated to make this project possible! -Ben
June 24:79/AN (also called Ivy) has fledged! Kathy Clark witnessed her take her first flight off the ledge on the 42nd floor at 101 Hudson St. at 3:34pm on June 23rd! She is also being called a "Shady Lady" by volunteer Bonnie Talluto, who is monitoring her from the ground. Ivy has been perching on the western ledge (for it's shade) and is still very vocal. The adults will continue to feed her until she learns the skills needed to hunt and capture her own prey.
June 21: Nestling update! 79/AN is on the west side of the building (left side of camera view) on a ledge that is at the same level as the one with the nestbox. On of our nest volunteers spotted her there and all is good! We'll update this post with a photo later today.
June 18: The JC nestling is an almost-fledgling now! She made the jump out of the nest box shortly after noon on Tuesday, June 17. With the heat and humidity, it was a toss-up as to whether she zoned-out in the box or jumped and went for the shade. It was the latter, as she went straightaway for the shade near Mom. We watched a little anxiously as she managed to jump up to the ledge next to Mom, and got her first look at the bustling city below and wondered at the big sky above. This afternoon and evening she has spent a lot of time perched on the ledge and looking more mature than yesterday. As the light was fading, Mom brought in food for a brief (but loud) feeding, and was unsuccessful at urging the youngster down to the roof.
Young birds are built with a skill they need to survive, which is to hold their perch even while asleep, so if she ends up spending her first night out on the ledge of the 41st floor, she should be just fine. Her parents will keep close watch, as well, over the next few weeks.
We will try to keep the camera on her or the adults, but now they can be anywhere on the roof, so it will be more challenging to keep up with them.
View more photos read some great commentary: http://exit63.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/the-thirsty-games/
June 16: The Jersey City nestling, band 79/AN, will be five weeks old tomorrow. She is reaping all the benefits of being an “only child,” in that she gets all the food and attention. Having the audio broadcast in the nest box this season has been eye-opening, so to speak: one nestling can make a lot of noise! Nestlings can be very insistent when they’re hungry, which seems like all the time! Also interesting to hear were the calls the parents make as they communicate with the chick and each other. The adult female makes quite a few chirping calls near the end of feeding sessions, and there is frequent calling between adults as they are nearby.
79’s plumage is changing daily, acquiring the brown body feathers, brown face with malar stripe, and flight feathers longer each day. About one-third larger than males, females take about a week longer than males to grow to full size, so we usually expect fledging (first flight) around 7 weeks of age for females. However, we can expect her to jump the nest box sooner, in the next several days, where she will have run of the roof before actually flying anywhere. The rooftop of 101 Hudson is a good place for young peregrines: lots of room to run and flap, both important for building strength prior to flight. In a natural nest on a cliff, the nestlings would tend to walk around the accessible ledges, and hold on tight to a perch while flapping and building up those all-important muscles. 79 is starting to flap harder inside the nest box, and is also grabbing onto whatever she finds to play or pretend tear-up. We’ll have to enjoy watching now and hope we get to keep her on camera as long as possible. -Kathy Clark, ENSP
June 10: I started to write this post last week or up until I forgot to save (or in this case refresh) the text in our website CMS. So, here goes again...
The banding day when as smooth as it could. I found I would be all alone with banding there the evening before (Kathy was too engulfed in budgeting to join me). So, for the first time I would be banding at JC all alone. I have banded young falcons before, so I wasn't worried. If you know me, I like a good challenge! Six guests joined me to watch at 101 Hudson St. and our Executive Director, David Wheeler would be joining us to help. However, things changed rapidly.. Shortly after arriving I got a call from David that he had vehicles issues while only 1 mile away! He was stuck and could not abandon his car...bummer! I was all on my own now. For safety reasons, I was the only person allowed on the roof to grab the eyas. Easy, right? I thought so… I had all my gear: helmet, umbrella, gloves, box. Check. I headed out onto the roof to grab the eyas. As soon as I opened the door the adult female came diving down from the upper parapet to drive me off. We use an umbrella to ward her off. Since Kathy had the usual umbrella, I brought my wife’s. When I had to grab the eyas I needed two hands, so with no helper (to hold the umbrella) I sat it down on the edge of the nestbox and on my helmet. I quickly load the eyas in the box. I hear the female swoop down towards my head. The umbrella is gone! She took my wife’s umbrella and flew off with it! I bring the eyas inside, examined her (determined its a female) and band her legs for future tracking. All in all, everything went well considering the circumstances. I never found the umbrella…
Last week Kathy banded the other two eyas that were from the nest that the JC eyas is from. I'm sure their parents enjoy not having an extra mouth to feed (photo is above). --Ben
June 3: Banding day is here!! Today the young eyas (young falcon) is 23 days old. Ben Wurst will be visiting the nest for the last time this year to tag the bird for future tracking. The bird will be banded with two bands, a black USGS band and a bicolor alpha-numeric band that can be used to identify the individual bird using a spotting scope or a high powered telephoto lens. The bird will be sexed and examined to assess its health. Ben will be arriving at 9:30am to the building and will meet with guests and make their way up to the roof floor. The nestling will be brought inside for the banding. This will help keep the adults more calm. We'll be capturing video of the banding to share with you all once we're done.
May 28: We were dead on with the aging of the nestling (9-10 days old) when we fostered it into the nest last Wednesday! Today the nestling is 16 days old, and its primary flight feathers are just starting to come out of the sheath. You can see the dark feather tip (circled) in the above photo. I believe it's a female. From looking at photos of her with her siblings, she looks bigger than her former nestmates. Female raptors are larger than males, and with falcons, they all hatch around the same time, so aging them is much easier since they're all the same age.
At this age her feathers are really starting to develop. Her tail feathers have emerged and her down is looking even more fluffy. By 20 days her downy feathers will be very heavy and her contour or body feathers will become visible on her wing margins and tail. She is now four times her birth weight and is moving all around the nest. It really is amazing to watch how fast they grow! We'll find out the sex of the nestling when we go back up to 101 Hudson St. to band it for future tracking. We're planning to visit there on Tuesday, June 3rd at 9:30am. Banding activities should start around 10-10:30. -Ben
May 21: Part One: Kathy and I are headed to Jersey City this morning. We're stopping along the way to pickup a foster chick from a coastal nest site that has three young. The nestling is approximately 7 days old. At the same time we will be fixing the network issues with the cam(s).
Part Two: As you can see, we successfully fostered the nestling into the nest here at 101 Hudson St. The 7-10 day old nestling was instantly accepted by the adults. At first we left one egg to bring them back. While watching from inside the roof entrance, we realized that they were still trying to incubate the egg, so we went back out to remove it. You see a video of the "chick drop" on our friend/supporter, Jim Verhagen's blog, Readings From the Northside.
Lastly, the second camera view or pinhole cam, from inside the nestbox will be down for the rest of the season... A true bummer for all of us Falcoholics! I was looking forward to seeing the up close and personal feedings of the chick! -Ben
May 15: Sad news. We're experiencing some technical difficulties with both cameras at 101 Hudson St. Modern technology still has its glitches... :/
Engineering staff at 101 Hudson St. pulled the plug(s) for the camera equipment and we hoped that would bring them back online, but as you can tell it did not work. So, we will have to make a special trip to Jersey City (from upper Cape May County) to look at the network settings there. Most likely the local or static IP addresses were changed and this brought the cameras offline. Right now, I might be able to go up there on Monday. Stay tuned for more updates, and we appreciate your patience! -Ben
May 5: We have incubation!! We're so happy to report that the pair has been incubating since the second two foster eggs were placed into the nest last weekend (April 26). At other falcon nests throughout NJ we're busy setting a remote, motion activated camera that is used to ID the nesting pair, and helps biologists to monitor the population. To help carry the camera to these remote nests we use a cart that is suited for rolling over the soft muck and crossing ditches on our coastal saltmarshes. Check out this video of the old cart in action!
We need to raise $300 to replace the 10 year old cart. Please help us out by making a contribution today!
April 26: Some may be wondering what the heck is going here in Jersey City! Well, today Kathy visited the nest at 101 Hudson St. to give the birds a "full clutch" of eggs. After consulting with experts at the Peregrine Fund, we determined that the pair needs a full clutch of eggs to start incubating them. The eggs deposited there this morning are brown chicken eggs. You can see the difference between the chicken and falcon eggs. Now we can only hope that the pair starts to incubate these donor eggs. Once they incubate them then we know we can place a foster chick in the nest for them to raise. -Ben, CWF
April 23: Faithful nest watchers have tuned in for weeks, now, anxious to see the first egg in the nest. Unfortunately, that first egg hasn't come, perhaps due to our falcon being just a little older than most. Today we provided them with an egg that we hope they will adopt and incubate as their own. If they do not incubate, then we know we cannot foster a nestling into the nest. This pair has a strong pair bond, and they are proven good parents, so we hold out great hope for them. Stay tuned! -Kathy Clark, ENSP
April 14: As in the past with the old Nestbox News, there were occasional guest writers. This year we're happy to have some outside input and observations from viewers. One viewer (and camera controller) is Jim Verhagen. Jim has been so into promoting our efforts to protect NJ's rare wildlife that he decided to make plush wool stuffed birds that he sells and donates a portion to CWF to help real birds in New Jersey! Jim also has a house on LBI and has really taken a liking to photographing and telling a story of rare birds in New Jersey. He tells those stories on his blog, "Readings from the Northside." The paragraph below is from Jim's latest post about some weird behavior that he witnessed over the weekend at 101 Hudson St. -Ben, CWF
EGGSPECTING & THE UNEGGSPECTED
Some of you may be following along with the action at the Jersey City Falcon Cam. Or, more correctly, the lack of said “action”. As a part-time, amateur, volunteer cam operator I’ve been on pins-n-needles hoping to get that one big shot: the egg shot. But Beatrice, the Grande Matriarch of the Jersey City Falcon Cam is late. So much so, the Internet is abuzz with rumor that she might be infertile. While her true identity is still unknown after 14 years of not being able to read all of the numbers on her banded leg, it is pretty certain she is a Pennsylvania Princess and a ripe 19 years of age. After 14 seasons of laying eggs on camera, could she finally be done?
April 3: The female that nests here atop 101 Hudson St. has been nesting here since 2004. She wears a silver aluminum USGS bird band and has eluded Supervisory Zoologist, Kathy Clark since her arrival. Kathy and others have never been able to read her full band number, which would help us learn a lot more about her, like where she might have originated from, where she was banded, and her age. So far all but two numbers have been read: 1807-44x14. There aren't many combinations that would fit this series with the bird only wearing one band (all peregrines banded in NJ and others in the Tri-State Area where two bands), but we still need all numbers to confirm her origin.
In other news, eggs should be laid any day now! Last year the first egg was laid on April 4th. If you happen to catch her laying an egg or see the first egg, make sure to share it with us on Twitter or Facebook!! --Ben
March 31: Welcome to a whole new season (and lease of life) for the Jersey City Falcon Cam! On Tuesday, March 25th, we completed the networking and configuration of the network camera(s) at 101 Hudson St. Once the cameras were installed and working on the 19th, they still had to be networked so we could have outside access to them and to get the live stream online. This consisted of configuring the router and cameras. All went well and since then we have had no issues with the live feeds!
Here's what we installed at 101 Hudson St.:
- Axis Q6045-E PTZ camera. This camera is the one that looks in from outside of the nestbox.
- Axis P1214-E pinhole camera. This camera is right inside the nestbox on the lower left hand side (when looking in).
- Axis P8221 Audio Encoder and microphone. The microphone is hidden under the upper left hand side of the nestbox roof.
We're excited to announce that we were able to keep this important program online and in the many classrooms, businesses, and homes of so many people who have watched the trials and tribulations of the pair of falcons that nest atop 101 Hudson St. Thank you to all of our members and donors who have sent in a contribution towards the Falcon Cam!! We could not have done this without your support!
Currently the pair have been seen copulating on the roof top and the female should lay eggs shortly. Last year the first egg was laid on April 4th.
Nestbox News will now be posted here on our website, and will be written by myself, Maria Grace, and Kathy Clark, ENSP. -Ben
March 19: Yesterday we made the trip to 101 Hudson St. to install the new digital camera system at the Jersey City peregrine falcon nest. I was joined by Kathy Clark, Supervisory Zoologist with ENSP, Charlene Smith, CWF and Paul Tarlowe, NJDFW, who all helped to remove the old system and to install the new one. Our main goal was to complete any work that took place outside, so if we needed to go back we would not disturb the nesting pair. Last year they laid their first egg on April 4th. After being there for over 5 hours we managed to get two new cameras installed. One camera (a pinhole) gives us an eye level perspective from inside the nestbox. The other (pictured above) will allow us to zoom and pan to see everything on the roof of the building, including the nestbox and the NYC skyline.
We were surprised that the nesting pair, who were present the whole time we were there, were quite passive. These birds, especially the female, are quite aggressive and are known to dive bomb and hit biologist on the head if you go near the nestbox! We were very careful as to not be causing any stress to the birds while there.
The camera is not online yet. We need to go back to the site next week to configure the network settings so that we can stream the camera feed(s).
Thank you to everyone who supported our Save the Jersey City Falcon Cam campaign. Although we have not yet reached our initial $10,000 goal, we believe that fans of the Falcon Cam will give once the camera goes live! So to be clear – contributions are still desperately needed. Please help support the Falcon Cam!
- Check out our blog for some bonus shots of the nesting pair of peregrine falcons!
Month of the Falcon
In January 2014, we dedicated this month as the "Month of the Falcon" to help raise awareness for state endangered peregrine falcons. In Part I we described why falcons are so unique. Part II covered their decline and reintroduction to New Jersey with historic photos. Part II will cover the history of the famous pair that nests in Jersey City. The finale will explore the many ways you can strengthen your own personal connection to peregrine falcons in New Jersey, from top viewing locations to the chance for accompanying biologists on a falcon banding! Besides the text we've also been sharing awesome photos of peregrines in New Jersey that were captured by some very talented wildlife photographers.
Jersey City Female
The nesting female has been calling Jersey City home since 2004.
Jersey City Tiercel
The nesting male is from New York City, but chose to nest in Jersey!
- Learn more about the history of the Falcon Cam
- Peregrine Project, including past project reports
- Peregrine Falcon information including life history, habitat, range, reproduction, status and conservation.
Liz Silvernail, Director of Development: Email
Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager: Email
Meet the nesting Pair!
We're able to identify most peregrine falcons by their leg bands. Learn more about the pair that nests in Jersey City.