The only peregrine falcon that lives year-round in Central Texas makes her home in a wooden box on the UT Tower. Over a month ago, the bird laid a clutch of eggs. But, as the weeks passed, it became unlikely that the eggs would hatch. So, the university agreed to remove the eggs for research.
That job went to Neil Crump, manager of UT’s Construction Services. Last Friday, he ascended the Tower with safety gear and camera phone. He first lowered the phone into the nest, to make sure the eggs were intact. He then made the harrowing voyage to the box itself, with the falcon diving down on him repeatedly.
“There she goes. Now she’s starting to swoop on him!” exclaimed Chris DuCharme, a photographer who visits every day to check up on the falcon.
A few minutes later Crump emerged from the tower, soaked in sweat. In his hands, an egg carton containing four falcon eggs.
In the coming days, the eggs will be transported to Texas A&M, where researchers can find out why they didn’t hatch and test their shell strength.