AUSTIN -- If you have lived in Austin for a while, you know that the University of Texas tower is home to some wildlife.
UT has nicknamed the approximately 8-year-old falcon, "Tower Girl."
And according to UT, she is Austin's only known, year-round resident peregrine falcon. Peregrines are considered the fastest animal on the planet. They were once on the endangered species list. But a ban on the chemical DDT led them to be removed in 1999. However, they are still on threatened status in Texas.
"Tower Girl has been on the tower for about eight years,” said David Hillis, director of the Biodiversity Center at UT. “We've had falcons before that. But she's been here for quite a while.”
The Biodiversity Center launched “Falcon Cam" this spring.
“We were very excited to try to get people, students on campus, as well as the general public, to see and connect with the biodiversity of the campus and Central Texas in general,” said Hillis.
Austin is considered the edge of the where the peregrine breeds. And "Tower Girl" has had male suitors. However, they go back to their northern territories.
"Many of the males are simply passing through,” said Hillis. “So, they're not here long enough to set up and … establish a nest with her."
UT said that is also why her eggs will not hatch.
"Males come by and have sometimes mated with her,” said Hillis. “But probably not for long enough or often enough for her to be able to produce fertile eggs or offspring yet.”
UT said it may also be that she is infertile, and this is not the first time she has laid eggs that have not hatched.
However, she may still have time to bear offspring.
“They will certainly live up to decades,” said Hillis.
Even though her male counterparts come and go, she stays loyal to UT and downtown Austin.
Hillis said she has made her home here because of the prey she feeds on.
“The tower provides a great vantage point for a falcon,” Hillis said. “And gives her access to all of the pigeons and grackles and bats that she can eat."
And maybe she just loves Austin. Because, who doesn't?