Stephen Colbert Should Be Proud

Mate of comic's namesake delivers first egg of season

San Jose's celebrity peregrine falcon Clara, who lives atop City Hall with her current mate Esteban Colbert, delivered her first egg of the season Thursday afternoon, city officials announced.

Esteban Colbert, named for Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert, has become Clara's third season mate, according to spokeswoman Michelle McGurk.

The delivery of the egg just after 2 p.m. was broadcast on the city's FalconCam, a live stream of the falcons that has made the birds famous over the past two years, McGurk said.

Clara is expected to deliver additional eggs in the coming days,  since female falcons lay eggs at 1.5- to 2-day intervals, McGurk said. The  FalconCam can be viewed on the city's Web site at  and on the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group's Web site.

The "falcon reality show" made Clara famous beginning in the spring of 2006, when employees at City Hall noticed Clara and her former mate, named Jose, on a ledge atop the 18-floor building, according to McGurk. The Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group placed a nest box on  the south end of the City Hall tower later that year. In early spring of  2007, Jose and Clara were again regularly observed together in the area, McGurk said.

By late March, the birds had laid three eggs in the nest box,  according to McGurk.

The eggs all hatched successfully on April 28, and after a contest  in June 2007, the young birds were named Hiko, Spirit and Esperanza, McGurk  said. They were banded with identification bands and eventually found their  own homes.

Their father, Jose, was not seen after July 2007. Falcons typically mate for life, and birdwatchers were concerned for Jose's disappearance, according to McGurk.

Clara, however, had found a new mate by January 2008, McGurk said.  He was named Carlos because he frequently perched on the Marriott Hotel on  San Carlos Street.

On March 13, 2008, Clara laid the first egg of the falcon season.  Three more followed over the next several days, according to McGurk.

Three of the eggs hatched April 22 and were named Cielo, Meyye and  Mercury. The fourth never hatched and a biologist monitoring the falcons said  the egg may never have been fertile.

Mercury and Meyye were frequently spotted throughout downtown San  Jose during the summer of 2008, and have since made off for territories of  their own. Their sister Cielo died after flying into a building, McGurk said.

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