Tune in to DEP falcon cam for nature in action

Absolutely mesmerizing.

The scene that unfolded on my laptop this morning featured Harrisburg's resident male peregrine falcon noisily delivering a pigeon to the female perched on the ledge of an office building.

With the din of traffic, ambulance sirens and freight trains rumbling through the city's station in the background, the annual mating ritual was playing out high atop an office building in the Capital city. 

Tuning in to falcon cam, gives nature lovers a live-action view of life on the ledge as it has played out since the first falcon arrived in 1999 - a young female hatched atop the Girard Point Bridge in Philadelphia.

The Department of Environmental Protection's web cam - the best output of a modest amount of state money I can think of - streams real-time images of the city's most famous feathered residents as they engage in mating rituals, incubate their eggs and raise their young.

This year a third camera adds a new angle on the "scrape," the crude nest area outside a top floor office at the DEP's Rachel Carson building. The site choice is a marvelous coincidence when you consider it was Pennsylvania native Rachel Carson, author of the environmental alarm-sounding book "Silent Spring," who first called attention to the hazards of the pesticide DDT. It was the widespread use of this bug killer that nearly led to the extinction of peregrine falcons as they fed on birds and rodents tainted with the pesticide.

Meanwhile, back at the ledge, there was high drama in the skies in late January when a new larger, younger male appeared to challenge the resident male's territory. After an aerial standoff, it appeared the resident male had been ousted or killed. But lo and behold he returned to reclaim his nest - and his mate.

Enjoy the exciting "Wild Kingdom" spring in Harrisburg through the camera eye trained on the falcon pair. Watch for updates when the eggs hatch and for the annual hatchling banding event later this spring.

(Photo/Rachel Carson bldg's resident female 4/4, 1999-2010)