Yesterday I missed the biggest news to hit San Jose since this time last year: New falcon chicks have hatched at City Hall. From this morning’s Mercury News:

The wee hours of Tuesday morning marked the first birth of this year’s falcon season at San Jose City Hall. And after that first tenacious hatchling emerged, sometime after 3 a.m., two others eventually followed.

Now, only one pocked egg remains – and it could pop at any moment.

In the meantime, proud peregrine parents Clara and Carlos took turns minding their brood and finding tasty treats (like bloodied pigeon pieces) to drop into their babies’ waiting beaks.

The whole thing is playing out, no surprise, live and up-close on “Falcon Cam,” a streaming feed on San Jose’s Web site that has attracted more than 400,000 hits from around the world. Just as it did last year, the camera’s online forum exploded with joy over the news of the hatchings.

That they hatched on Earth Day, said Evet Loewen, chief deputy city attorney and a forum moderator, only made it more special.

Falcon cam is here | alternate stream here. Still pictures at this Flickr site.

There’s no denying the chicks’ transcendent charm. Our editorial page editor is among those sneaking peaks at the cam to follow their progress.

Here’s what I wrote on June 7, 2007, after the first juvenile falcon fledged.

There’s nothing quite like watching a pair of peregrine falcon parents tend their babies along the translation from helpless fuzzy little chicks that can’t walk for the first few weeks into majestic, broad-winged predators that are a pigeon’s worst nightmare. You see nature videos, but they’re always polished, edited and cleaned up for human consumption. A live nest feed shows nature happening — messy, bumpy, scary, gory, funny. Netflix will never carry a title that good.