Baby peregrine falcon dies after flying into Evans Hall balcony

Mary Malec/Courtesy

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Lux, one of two rare peregrine falcons born in the Campanile Tower last May, died Tuesday after flying into a glass-enclosed balcony on Evans Hall’s 10th floor, a campus press release announced Wednesday.

On Tuesday afternoon, Lux became trapped in a glass-enclosed balcony at Evans Hall and died after trying to escape, according to Doug Bell, the East Bay Regional Park District’s wildlife program manager. Bell said he received news of the incident about 8 p.m. Tuesday, and an exact timeline of events had yet to be determined.

Lux, who was nicknamed with her sibling Fiat by the campus community, had begun learning how to fly last week.

Bell added that a volunteer on the scene, Mary Malec, noticed an outline of the bird’s feathers that had been imprinted against the balcony window, suggesting that Lux had flown into the glass multiple times in an effort to escape the glass-enclosure.

Bell called the news “devastating.”

“It underscores how difficult it is for peregrines to fledge their young in city environments due to added hazards that don’t appear in a natural situation,” Bell said. “For example, tall buildings, telephone wires, skyscrapers … all of those things conspire ultimately to work against a young inexperienced falcon learning how to fly.”

Bell said an standard autopsy and toxicology test of Lux’s body will be performed by the Wildlife Investigations Lab at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which will determine an exact cause of death.

Afterwards, Lux’s body will be sent to the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC Berkeley as a research specimen.

“Who knows, maybe 100 years from now, somebody will want to study the body of a peregrine falcon,” Bell said. “It’s a tragic series of events … but Lux will live on for a long time in science.”

Bobby Lee is an assistant news editor. Contact Bobby Lee at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @bobbylee_dc.