The first signs of spring are here: Bulbs are sprouting, worms are wriggling from wet soil, and on a downtown skyscraper ledge, a peregrine falcon named Barb has laid her first egg of the season.
The Chesapeake Conservancy, which sponsors a webcam trained on a falcon nest at 100 Light Street, posted video online early Wednesday of Barb tending to a newly hatched reddish brown egg. Barb and her partner Boh nest on the 33rd floor of the Transamerica Tower.
This will be the second season the webcam follows the falcons through the reproductive process. Last March, the webcam launched to show the falcons incubating three eggs, which hatched live on the Internet in May.
There is a long history of falcon nests on the tower's ledge, dating to at least 1978. Dozens of eyasses (the name for baby falcons) have hatched there since.
The conservancy has meanwhile resumed an osprey webcam that watches a couple named Tom and Audrey. One of the ospreys has returned and is waiting for its mate. That webcam now uses infrared technology to watch the ospreys even when it's dark out.
The conservancy is running a crowdfunding campaign to launch a third webcam to capture a great blue heron rookery on the Eastern Shore. The rookery has in the past contained as many as 50 herons at a time, the group said.