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DEP Turns On New High-Definition Falcon Cam In Time For Mating Season

HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Environmental Protection today launched its annual live, 24-hour webcast of a nesting pair of peregrine falcons who live on a ledge on the Market Street side of the Rachel Carson State Office Building in Harrisburg.

For the first time, three high-definition cameras will chronicle the falcons' activities while streaming the footage live on the internet to viewers around the world.

"The falcon cam has become synonymous with the Rachel Carson State Office Building and our agency," DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. "We are delighted to host these unique birds of prey and look forward to presenting them in a way that more vividly shows their daily activities."

The new high-definition (HD) cameras include a personal-computer-operated zoom and pan and light/color balance capabilities. This new technology creates a crisper, more detailed image that enhances wildlife viewing opportunities. Around the time the first egg is laid, an additional HD camera will be set up for an intimate view into the nest.

In recent weeks, another male peregrine has challenged the resident male, who has been at the ledge since 2005. Despite that, the resident male has defended the ledge and started mating with the resident female, who has been at the ledge since 2012. Breeding activity typically takes place this time of year, so territorial battles can be fierce.

"The popularity of the streaming video has made the falcon page one of DEP's most visited webpages," DEP Environmental Education Director Jack Farster said. "By watching the young peregrines grow and develop, we can appreciate how our actions can have a direct and positive impact on endangered wildlife and their habitats."

In the 13 years falcons have been nesting at the building, the nest has produced 48 eggs and 40 hatchlings. Of these, 29 falcons survived—13 males and 16 females. The gender of one of the nestlings who hatched in 2008 could not be determined. That bird was the runt of the clutch, or set of offspring.

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