Peregrines nesting in Australia

If you're anxious to watch nesting peregrines you'll have to wait five more months to see them in Pittsburgh, but you don't have to wait that long if you use the Internet. 

Thanks to the Alcoa Anglesea webcam you can watch them in Australia.  It's spring there and the peregrines at Anglesea, Sheila and Havoc, have hatched their first egg. 

Anglesea is a town on Australia's southern coast, 113km southwest of Melbourne.  Alcoa operates a smelter at nearby Point Henry.  Smelting requires a lot of electricity so they built a coal-fired power plant at Anglesea to provide the necessary "juice."  In 2004, Alcoa's employees placed a peregrine nestbox plus webcam on the power plant's water tower.  A pair of peregrines claimed it as their own and the rest is history.

This year the webcam came online August 3, Sheila laid her first egg August 28, and the eggs started hatching October 2.  Here's Sheila feeding her babies in a photo linked from the Alcoa Anglesea website.  By the time you read this most of her eggs, if not all, will have hatched.   

Watching the webcam will challenge your northern hemisphere assumptions.  For instance:

  • Peregrines nesting in the fall?  No, Australia's "March" is in our September. 
  • Why is it always night on the camera?  Australia is on the other side of the world so it's night there when it's day here.  8:00am in Anglesea is 6:00pm in Pittsburgh.  It's best to watch during our evening, but the date may confuse you.  Australia is a day ahead of us because they're across the International Dateline.
  • If you read about the nestbox on the Alcoa website you'll notice it faces northeast.  Since peregrines prefer their nests to face the sun I thought this was backwards until I realized the equator is north of Anglesea just as it's south of Pittsburgh.

So enjoy watching the peregrines in Australia. You'll be in good company. Shelia and Havoc have devoted followers around the world.

(photo of peregrine falcon feeding her chicks, linked from the Alcoa Anglesea webcam)

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