AUSTIN, Texas — Love is in the air, even for the University of Texas' year-round peregrine falcon.
She's been affectionately named "Tower Girl" by all of her fans, and she may have just found a mate. According to UT, she's been spotted hanging around with a male visitor at her nesting box perched on the UT Tower over the past few weeks.
Researchers at the College of Natural Sciences and UT's Biodiversity Center have been keeping an eye on her with a live-streaming camera and even caught a few glimpses of them "kissing."
“Birds do a great deal of their communication through posture,” said professor of biology and bird expert Tim Keitt. “The bowing posture is part of pair-bonding. That is a good sign that the male bird will stay around and mate. Clasping bills is a common part of pair-bonding behavior in birds. It is known courtship behavior described by falcon breeders who call it 'billing.'"
Scientists said if this Valentine's Day visitor sticks around, it's a positive sign. Tower Girl laid eggs last year that were not viable, in part because her mate flew the coop during the nesting season.
Austin is considered the edge of the peregrine falcons' breeding range, so if this matching results in a successful hatching, it would expand the known breeding range of the species.
The FalconCam has become a huge hit since its creation about a year ago. Scientists said, along with viewers, they have spotted many other birds of prey atop the tower, including red-tailed hawks and American kestrels.
In January alone, researchers said the FalconCam was viewed for more than 24,000 hours, and the cost of the streaming service is increasing. They also have plans to add a microphone soon. You can support them by making a donation here.
Do your thing, girl!