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Observation Locations
Recognizing Peregrines
Adult peregrines, 15 – 20 inches in length, are slaty-backed and pale underneath with faint, dark barring. Their face has distinctive dark “sideburns” called a helmet that is visible from some distance. Once you get used to looking for them, you will also be able to observe them perched on traffic signals or swooping after their prey, which include pigeons and smaller birds. Watch carefully, because their rapid wingbeats are not unlike the flight of the pigeons they chase.

In addition to street level, there are several locations from which to observe the birds when they are perched at City Hall. These include the top floor of the 4th Street Parking Garage (at San Fernando) and the 8th Floor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, also located at 4th and San Fernando. In either case, a pair of binoculars or a spotting scope is helpful in seeing them better.

Falcon fans can watch Clara and Carlos live via the FalconCam. This webcam is maintained by the City of San José in partnership with the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group at the University of California – Santa Cruz.

Falcon-Scope Now Available at the King Library
The Martin Luther King Library now has a high-powered telescope trained on the City Hall Falcon nest box available to the public.

The King Library has a specially mounted telescope to watch the falcons as they come and go from the nest box ledge at City Hall. The spotting scope is set up on the eighth floor of the King Library and was a donation of Orion Telescope and Binoculars, with the support and assistance of the San José Public Library Foundation. The public is welcome to view the birds during library hours, however, the eighth floor is designated as a ‘quiet area’ so those using the scope will be asked to turn off cell phones and keep noise at a minimum. For public information, call (408) 808-2000.

When the birds are not at City Hall, they may be perched at several other locations downtown, including the Adobe buildings, the Business Building at San José State University, and the AT&T Building.