Talk about urban homesteading! For more than 35 years, peregrine falcons have been nesting on a skyscraper high above downtown Baltimore.
Now, the public can follow this long-running wildlife saga, via a webcam mounted on a ledge overlooking the birds' nest on the 33rd floor of the TransAmerica building at 100 Light St.
This up-close look at avian domesticity is provided by The Chesapeake Conservancy, which promotes conservation, stewardship and access of the Chesapeake Bay, its lands and rivers.
Found on every continent except Antarctica, peregrine falcons are one of the best-known conservation success stories. They were almost eradicated from eastern North America by pesticide poisoning in the mid-20th century. But after captive breeding and release efforts, these high-flying birds of prey have made a dramatic rebound and are now regularly seen in many large cities and coastal areas.
The first peregrine to nest in Baltimore was a female named Scarlett, which nested on what was then known as the USF&G building downtown after it was released by the Peregrine Fund at the Edgewood Arsenal in Harford County in 1977.
After several fruitless attempts, Scarlett mated successfully in 1984 with a wild peregrine later named Beauregard. Their offspring were believed to be the first naturally born and bred in an urban environment on the East Coast in three decades.
Maryland's restored peregrines have nested in a number of man-made structures, including the Bay Bridge, Key Bridge, and the Harry Nice Route 301 bridge over the Potomac River.
Go here for more info on peregrine falcons and the chronology of their nesting high over downtown Baltimore.