Keep Tower Girl Soaring High
The University of Texas at Austin’s Tower has become residency to a very special female Peregrine Falcon which we lovingly named, “Tower Girl”. An urban predator that calls Austin her year-round home, Tower Girl can be seen swooping down at remarkable speeds to find her prey. A live web camera has allowed thousands to view her nesting box at the top of the iconic 302-foot Main Building Tower. However, popular demand has increased costs for the webcam, and support is needed to continue Tower Girl’s livestream. Watch the Falcon Cam Livestream here!
How you can help
Tower Girl’s live cam has become so popular that the amount of views has increased our camera costs. By supporting the Biodiversity Center today, we can extend our cam time and outreach to bird lovers everywhere.
Gifts of all sizes help towards our $5,000 goal, which will keep the camera on with unlimited views for one year. Please support Tower Girl by clicking the GIVE NOW button and making your gift!
More about Tower Girl
- Most Peregrine Falcons migrate, but Tower Girl has lived in Austin year-round, spending time at both the UT Tower and the downtown area.
- Our friend, Bruce Calder (B.S. ’81), first proposed installation of the falcon nest box and nest cam in 2013. Bruce continues to work on establishing falcon nest boxes in other major metropolitan areas of Texas.
- UT Austin students in classes such as Biology of Birds observe Tower Girl and use her to practice their field-work and observational skills.
- Male Peregrine Falcons visit Tower Girl in the late winter and early spring to start courtship and mating. You might see one around during January-February until he leaves for migration northward.
- If you see Tower Girl sitting in her box looking puffed up, it is because we suspect she has or is laying eggs. Falcons lay eggs sometimes in mid- to late-March, after mating season. The floor of the box is depressed slightly to avoid eggs rolling out and they might not show on the camera.
- Austin is considered to be at the edge of the Peregrine Falcon breeding range, so any hatching eggs atop the UT Tower would expand the known breeding range of the species!
More about Peregrine Falcons
- Peregrine Falcons are considered the fastest animal on the planet, with average cruising speed of 37 – 53 kilometers per hour (24 – 33 miles per hour), up to 107 KPH (67 MPH) when hunting down their prey. When “stooping” (dropping on their prey with wings closed), the Peregrine Falcon can achieve speeds over 321 KPH (200 MPH).
- The Peregrine Falcon is an apex predator. Austin's abundant pigeon, dove and grackle populations make up much of the diet for Tower Girl. However, Peregrines may themselves fall victim to other predators competing for food or territory. These mostly include other birds like Great Horned Owls, Red-Tailed Hawks and other Peregrine Falcons.
- Peregrines are considered an endangered species success story. A ban on the chemical DDT led them to be removed from the federal endangered species list in 1999. However, Texas Parks & Wildlife notes that Peregrine Falcons continue to have "threatened" status in Texas.
- The Peregrine Falcon is the national animal of the United Arab Emirates and the official city bird of Chicago. It also makes an appearance on the 2007 Idaho state quarter.